Safari day 2 began with another 5am wake up call from our trusty safari guides which got us up, dressed and full of tea before the sun was up. We then piled into our jeeps and headed off, reaching the park gates just minutes before it opened. As the sun rose, the nearly full moon hung low and luminous in the sky.
We began to search for the elusive lions but were quickly sidetracked when we saw a pack wild dogs hot on the trail of a herd of puku. We got what can only be described as “Animal Planet: Live In Action” as the dogs gained ground on the puku, and one lone doe was separated from the herd. As we watched with a mix of emotions ranging from shock to horror to just plain amazement, the dogs cornered her and she ran straight into one of our jeeps. As we stood in stunned silence, the poor puku was overtaken by the dogs. The dogs scrambled to each get a piece of their kill and emerged with paws and faces bloody. Our guide, Steven, assured us that this was simply the circle of life.
We turned back to our original mission: find the lions. We drove up, down and all around Luangwa in our Indiana Jones Jeeps. We came across zebras, giraffes, hippos, impala, bush bucks, puku, leopards, and countless other animals but still NO LIONS. We headed back to refuel, have a delicious lunch and yet another cup of tea, and to get ready for our night safari.
Setting out for one last adventure with the anticipation of catching a glimpse of the lions, we were all anxious. As the sun began to go down we could feel the tension mounting in our endless search. I am still in awe at the way they can spot animals at a distance in the dark! At one point Steven stopped, threw the jeep in reverse, and pointed out a chameleon perched on a bush. The one animal that is made to camouflage and our guides were able to spot it from 10 feet away while driving 30mph, in the dark. To say that they are good at what they do is an understatement.
Even though our night did not end with a lion sighting, it did end with a view of the stars that can’t be beat. Although we are all excited to get back home in a few days, while staring up at the Milky Way it’s hard to imagine ever leaving this beautiful place we have come to call home.
The next couple days will be filled with traveling and getting things in order for our trip home.