Before I went to Zambia, I imagined that the African landscape would look like scenes from Disney’s “The Lion King.” I imagined large grassy plains that stretched for miles into the sunset. But when I arrived in Zambia, I saw that Zambia has many different landscapes, including wooded areas, riverbanks, savannas, and swamps.
I set out to explore some of these areas on a safari in South Luangwa National Park. South Luangwa is home to 60 different animal species and more than 400 types of birds. Wow!
I travelled down dirt roads by jeep and soon saw impala, water buffalo, zebras, and long-horned kudu. When I reached the river, I could see hippos’ ears and nostrils near the water’s surface. Even though hippopotamuses may seem cute and harmless, they actually kill more people every year than lions, elephants, and crocodiles combined!
At one point, my fellow travellers and I jumped out of the jeep with our guides to begin a walking safari. I admit, I was a little bit nervous about walking down the same paths as lions and elephants.
Our guide showed me how to track different animals by the size of their footprints, any marks they left on the trees and bushes, and even what they left behind. But the best part of our walking safari was coming face-to-face with the rare Thornicroft Giraffe!
The Thornicroft Giraffe is native to eastern Zambia. Only about 1,500 members of this subspecies exist, making it one of the most endangered animal populations in the world. I loved seeing the Thornicroft Giraffe’s star-shaped pattern and deep reddish-colored coat. What a special memory from my safari in Zambia!