We have never stayed in a hotel that required armed escorts before. Every night after dinner this was the routine. I guess there is a first time for everything! And I guess I understand, after coming back from a game drive one evening to find this guy lurking in the bushes next to the driveway.
As we were driving up to the lodge the staff told us “Stay in the vehicle! Don’t get out yet!” Especially not with two little tasty morsels like Jake and Eli. Where is that guy with the shotgun? Where is that hyena slinking off to? The way they slink is as mean-looking as their reputation…
Our guides, Moffat and Peter, were committed to making sure we didn’t miss anything during our Night Drives through South Luangwa. It was eery and fascinating to see pairs of shining eyes reflecting out from the bushes, as beams from their lights flashed across the grassy landscape.
Most of the time the eyes were not leopards or hyenas, but helpless little impalas or pukus standing there motionless in the grass. Why are they just standing there? Don’t they know they could very well be someone’s dinner? What must it be like, to be a puku in Africa living in the Bush, where every night might be the last? Yikes, it’s a wild world out there.
Although probably not so scary if you’re this guy.
Brazenly taking his time to cross the road in front of our vehicle.
He is a little close, isn’t he?
Here is his lady lion resting in the grass.
One more lion shot since he was posing for us. Lions look so soft and fluffy, like they’d be nice to cuddle with!
With two drives a day of four hours each, we had a lot of animal viewing. As the daylight waned and dusk threatened, Peter would head toward the Luangwa River.
Time for Happy Hour! Or Sun Downers, as the South Africans say. Jake and Eli helped Mr. Moffat set up the bar and make drinks for me, Daddy, and Brian.
A gin and tonic is pretty good after a long day of sitting and doing nothing.
Jake and Eli were pretty thrilled to get a whole can of lemonade.
This tree is called a Sausage Tree. Those huge hanging seed pods are as big as my arm and twice as thick. It’s almost like God made the tree and forgot about making seeds, so he just threw those things on there and called it good. Sort of a strange design, incongruous with the rest of Nature’s elegance. Maybe he’d already started Happy Hour when he came up with that idea?
Mike played a few rounds of Tic Tac Toe in the sand.
When the sun went down it got very cold, so we bundled up in our fleeces and blankets and trusted that Peter and Moffat knew what they were doing. They say that animals can’t see people in the vehicles, which I suppose may be true, but either way we were thankful to be in such experienced hands. Back at the Lodge, we shared stories with the other guests over glasses of wine and sat outside for dinner under the stars.
I think this qualifies as a pretty perfect day. We are so happy that Brian is here to share the experience and the memories with us!