So after leaving the camping behind, we headed for a bit of luxury and into a private luxury lodge in South Luangwa National Park - Flatdogs bush camp! Here, we were not going to have to pitch a tent or do any of those camping things - straight up game drives and luxury all the way!!
To get into the bush, you have to fly with tiny airplanes to very remote airstrips - as such you have a limit on luggage limits and anything over the 15kg is paid for as excess baggage... Or is it?? I have now had the full bush experience of having an airport official ask me for a bribe!! At first I wasn't sure it was actually happening, but then she came over and straight out asked me how much I was going to give her for having her help me out with the "free" excess baggage!! She said it would be nice for me to give her enough to buy some drinks.. I can't argue that so I gave her enough to get loaded in the bush and me and my bags were on the way! What an interesting start to our quick stay!!
The camp was amazing, and we arrived in the dark, so couldn't really appreciate the beauty of where we were, but did realize very quickly that this wasn't going to be like any other bush stay - we were living as one with the animals of the bush - jumping frogs freaking me out as they jumped out from the bushes to scare me were soon going to be the least of my concerns!! The first night was adrenaline rush as we couldn't decide is having hippos and lions roaring right outside our tent was good or bad, but then came the elephants!! The compound has so much wildlife that they employ men they call the night watchmen - which I thought was only something on game of thrones lol The wall has nothing on Zambia! These guys are the ninjas of the bush and are by your tents at night to keep big animals out of your way! Every morning, we were told we can't go left because there is a big elephant, and going right is lions over there, so I will go straight and take you to my friend who will take you to the base lodge... They each had their own area to take care of, and handed us over to the next watchmen when we had reached the end of his perimeter!! Amazing stuff! And every day there really was lions, elephants, giraffes , hippos, baboons and monkeys all walking around like they owned the place... Which they kind of do so it was very cool!!
Every time I left the main area to use the bathroom, I got cornered by an elephant or a lion and the watchmen had to tell me to get back inside - it's not safe!! Mel started calling me the animal whisperer, as it happened EVERY time!!! You can't make this stuff up!! We had monkeys steal our lunch, but I never once had to use the whistle they left in our tent - which I am sure everyone was very grateful for!!
As far as game goes, we saw it all - leopard at night, elephants and antelope mating- elephants are very aggressive when they need loving and we felt both disturbed and privileged to see this happen - it was amazing! Zambia is amazing, the people, the animals, and the bush - put it on your list of places to go immediately 👍
For now, after having bribed my bags out of the bush again on the way out, I am off to Morocco to start a foodie tour and am super excited to see new things and not have to worry about lions outside my door!!
Here I go again!!