22 in Zambia

Safari adventures in the South Luangwa Valley

I think that it’s safe to say I had one of the most memorable 22nd birthdays. Not only have I been abroad since June 25th and in Malawi since June 30th, I recently had the opportunity to explore different parts of Africa.

When we first arrived in Lilongwe, Noreen and I discussed the sights we each wanted to see, the places we each wanted to go, and the milestones we each wanted to reach. You can bet that both of us were very excited about wanting to do a safari. Noreen is a seasoned safari-goer, I a very green safari-goer. This would be my first one. Needless to say, I was very excited!

The discussion went on to family and home, and it came out that we would be in Africa for my 22nd birthday on July 26th. Noreen selflessly suggested that we go on a safari that weekend, as it also coincided with her planned visitor’s final weekend in Africa – Tina!

On July 25th we took a taxi to the Malawi-Zambia border, where we transferred cars to ride with Mophy, the owner of Mophy Budget Safaris we used to organize the whole expedition. The drive was interesting; Zambia and Malawi are both beautiful countries.

Our first night at Croc Valley Camp was very relaxing and rather uneventful – That is, if you count monkeys trying to steal food and baboons jumping around in the trees, while we sat on the riverside staring at hippos as twelve elephants came down the river side to find water uneventful.

The next morning we woke up at 5:15am to grab breakfast and to embark on our first game drive. It’s also the day I turned 22. I took about 1,000 pictures this weekend: we saw hippos, giraffes, a pride of lions, a leopard, hyena, warthogs, zebra, many birds, and buffalo. We also saw a 600–1,000 years old baobab tree, landscapes to take your breath away, and sunrises and sunsets so colorful it was as if we were in a painting.

We relaxed in the camp after the first game drive and prepared for the next one which was scheduled from 4pm-8pm. Every day was full of different animals and experiences. I loved it.

When we got back to the camp, Noreen and Tina had organized a dinner in the private gazebo for my birthday, and the most delicious chocolate cake (next to my moms, of course). Noreen got me an awesome bag that’s made with traditional African cloth to use at the beach or in the city, and Tina purchased my surplus for the game walk for the following morning! It was a very eventful day and we were tired for it – this was the earliest I can remember ever going to bed on my birthday but let me tell you, it was among the most memorable birthdays yet!

The next morning we had a guided walking tour of the Africa savannah. Unreal. Our last game drive was the same night.

We spent our last day relaxing and reading by the peaceful and slow-flowing South Luangwa River. It’s mid dry season, so the water levels are quite low resulting in much of the riverbed being exposed. That evening we listened to the hippos singing their guttural conversation, watching mischievous monkeys and baboons play, meeting a very interesting man named Benson, and preparing for our return to Lilongwe the next day.

I have memories to last a lifetime!

If you want to see some of my favourite pictures, check out my website!

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