As I already mentioned, we had planned to travel back to South Africa through Mozambique as many of our friends had done in the past but we heard the news that it was not safe to travel back that way and so we went back on an unplanned adventure through Zambia and stayed at two different places: Mamarula Bed and Breakfast and Campsite, Chipata, Zambia situated on the Eastern border close to Malawi and Luangwa Bridge campsite, situated on the Luangwa River which acts as a border between Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
It was a strange feeling looking into another country just across the river. We met many of the Put footers Rally members who also had their travel plans rearranged by the news. It was fun interacting with them and hearing all about their travels. Their motto is: Changing lives 1 pair of shoes at a time! Gifting underprivileged children new school shoes during the rally, with our Official Charity. What a wonderful way to travel and see Africa, while being social and as well as helping people. You can view the Put Footers Rally for more information.
I always find it a little challenging entering a new country where customs and rules are different to one’s own. It was no different going into Zimbabwe on the third day and we had heard some daunting rumors but we enjoyed the beautiful views and close up encounters with animals: zebra, elephants, crocodiles and hippos with little incident.
Once we settled at the edge of Lake Kariba we went for a little walk.
We encountered a leguaan (The rock monitor (Varanus albigularis) is a species of monitor lizard in the family Varanidae. The species is endemic to Central, East, and Southern Africa. It is the second-longest lizard found on the continent, and the heaviest-bodied; locally, it is called leguaan or likkewaan; some people would describe them as a big lizard – wikipedia)
And while Derek was trying to photograph it (see left photo) he was so engrossed that he was running straight towards a crocodile (see center photo). If it wasn’t for me watching the scene unfold I wonder what would have happened. Well the Leguaan was in front of Derek so it met the crocodile first. Each animal seemed to be taken by surprise and you can see the crocodile moving off into the water (right photo)
The next evening we had another encounter that totally got my adrenaline going after we had gone to the ablutions. We had been advised never to get between a hippopotamus and the water. Well, as we came out of the ablutions a young girl told me that there was a hippo just outside the building. I was undeterred thinking that she was exaggerating or over-dramatizing the situation. And as we stepped into the great outdoors there it was just two meters away from is eating grass. There was flimsy fence between us and it but we knew very well that the weight and speed of a hippo would be undeterred by this little fence.
Hippos don’t eat people but they are territorial and aggressive and are known to be the deadliest large mammal, killing around 500 people per year. They have huge sharp teeth and you don’t want to be crossing their paths. We gingerly tipped toed back to our tent and as we moved further away from it I began to relax when all of a sudden I heard a unknown noise coming from my side; it reminded me a little like the grunts they make (well especially when your imagination is going wild in the dark of a nature park.) With hearing this noise I just about jumped straight into Derek’s arms and then a second later I realized it was someone opening their tent zip. You can imagine my relief.
Next time I will tell you about our trip on Lake Kariba.