Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Air safari final update

May 17 and 18
A great flight over the Lenyati channel and the Chobe river took us to Livingstone.

The falls are massive at this time of the year and we had another fantastic scenic flight over them.

Royal Chundu is the perfect place to be pampered.
The Zambezi river is really high and impressive, lovely to be sleeping in an amazing room over it! Some of us reached Royal Chundu with an amazing helicopter flight over the falls and over the river.
The afternoon was spent with a charming cruise over the Zambezi, we had our sundwoners just few feet away from Zimbabwe, watching baboons and warthogs and enjoying the massive flow of the Zambezi river.

The next day was spent enjoying different activities: some of us took a walk with cheetahs and lions, at a rescue center: others went for a walk over the falls and the adventurous ones decided to do a bungee jump!

Antonella and Luca went for a picnic over an island of the Zambezi river, super romantic!



May 19 and 20
Today we needed to fly from the Southern end of Zambia to its Northern end. It took Livinsgtone nearly a year, for us is a 3 and ½ hours flight… We are at Shiwa Ngandu (the royal crocodile). Impossible to explain the charme and the history of this fairy place. Stewart Gore-Browne was assigned by the colonial service to identify and draw the boundaries between Congo and the then called Northern Rhodesia (today’s Zambia). He did so from 1911 to 1914, but got fired for his very voiced concerns of colonial wrong doings. He walked from the North of Rodhesia to Dar el Salaam, in today’s Tanzania, then called Tanganyka. He fell in love with a valley under hills, cut in two by a river which creates the Shiwa Ngandu lake. The lake was infested by crocodiles and nobody lived near it. He applied for the land and the chiefs were happy there was an interest in such a disregarded place. From 1914 till 1932 he built an amazing mansion. See it here in all its magnificence (and Ely, the pet Eland!)


 Stewart was very involved in politics and did all he could to give the natives proper political representation. Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of Zambia, was his friend. Just before independence Kenneth lived at Impandala, a guest house in Shiwa Ngandu. It is in that house that he drafted the Declaration of Independence.
We spent two magical days at Shiwa, looking for sitatunga and letchwe, eland and sable. A truly magical place.


May 21 and 22
A three legs flight brought us from Zambia to Tanzania, flying over Malawi. We are in the extensive Ruaha National Park. A massive ecosystem (45,000 square km!) where the flora and fauna of Southern Africa and East Africa meet. 560 birds species, lesser and greater Kudu, Roan and Sable antelopes, wild dogs, and the biggest population of lions in Africa.


We are camped on the banks of the Mwagusi river, a tributary to the Great Ruaha river. The camp is lovely, very much into the traditional safari style we so love.

Roaring lions greeted us into camp, and so did grazing elephants, just few feet away from our tents.
A game drive over the Mwagusi river gave us  one of the most spectacular sundowner of the trip.


At night we put at test our UV light, with which skorpios glow: see the good finding...

Next morning elephant and lions woke us up for a great game drive. We were fortunate to see a leopard on the river bank of the Ruaha, and lesser kudu, and elephants swimming across the river, and 30 running slender mongoose…
The vegetation is amazing, with forests of baobab, spred with doum palms.



May 23 and 24
A spectacular flight brought us from Ruaha to Serengeti, over the migration. Indescribable! Animals were everywhere, in their thousands. Herds and herds of wildebeests, with their young calves, all born in February. We landed at Grumeti, cross the river and drove to our fly camp, Ubuntu. Simply set under acacia trees the camp has a fabulous view of the plains and of the migrating wildebeests. We could hear the incessant grunting of the old males, trying to defend their moving territory. The day and a half went by too quickly and the most amazing experience was at the airstrip, on our departure. Hundreds of male gnu were constantly "broadcasting" their "gnu, gnu, gnu". A concert as we have never heard before, with the sun rising. Magical...


May 25, 26, 27 and 28
Flying over the Serengeti, the Maasai Mara and then the Chyulu Hills was the most dramatic flight of our 5,700 miles journey. We saw the migration, we saw hundreds of buffalo in the Mara, we flew in the canyons of the Rift Valley and, finally, arrived in the lush pastures of the Chyulu Hills, our home. 3 weeks over Africa, seeing the most amazing places and yet the Chyulu were the most beautiful sight of the entire trip!


We celebrated Sheri's birthday with a surprise cave dinner, inviting the chief of the new age set of warriors. It was a blast, with the Maasai carrying on dancing and entertaining themselves for the entire evening. The next day a great walk in the Chyulu made all happy, as it was the first chance in three weeks to have a proper game walk. We surprised our ladies by having the horses up in the forest and we all rode back to camp: fantastic!
Yesterday, the 27th, was spent on safari: 50 elephants, 300 elands, 70 giraffes... was the partial count of the morning game drive. The afternoon saw us going to Okoikuma, our favourite lookout hill. We started this amazing safari with 6 lions, we ended it with the biggest leopard we have ever seen! He walked next to our car for a good 10 minutes. What a great omen...

And this morning we had a bush breakfast, after a horse back ride. A magical and unforgettable safari, over 6 different African Countries. 5,700 miles flown in 3 weeks.
Is farewell time and we see our friends leaving now, with sadness, but the joy of already being planning the next adventure is of great consolation.
24 days of the most amazing safari adventure... thank you for having joined it to all the participants, thank you to all the friends who followed us on the blog!

Until the next mad plan!...



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