The plane touches down at Mfuwe Airport, and you can immediately sense the remote atmosphere of South Luangwa. A valley stretches out beyond the horizon, nothing artificial breaking the panorama. A rugged dirt road is the only sign that people have been here and it leads you beneath a woodland canopy to the Luangwa River, the lifeblood of the national park. Getting from home to South Luangwa will have required a couple of flight changes, so this first day is all about taking it easy. Check into Mfuwe Lodge, a mid-sized luxury lodge on the eastern boundary of the park. If it’s November or December, then you’ll see dozens of elephants in and around the lodge, feasting on fallen wild mango fruit – sometimes they roam through the lodge buildings, a touching scene that epitomizes the intimacy of a South Luangwa safari.
This larger lodge is good for resting and recuperating, as well as satisfying your curiosity with dreamy views over the savannah. Take a siesta and wild sounds keep you company, perhaps the vibrant huff of a buffalo herd or the surreptitious chewing of a small puku herd close to your verandah. Make yourself comfortable and slowly succumb to the atmosphere, particularly noting how notions of time are dictated by the position of the sun rather than a watch. After dark, there’s the opportunity to head out on a nighttime game drive, an activity that further heightens your connection with the wilderness.
Day 8 - 9