Christmas in South Luangwa


Two days before Eric arrived in Lilongwe we decided to change our Christmas plans from the beaches of Mozambique to the rugged plains of one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries. With 60 different animal species and over 400 species of birds, I think we chose wisely!


We loaded our gear in the car and made the six-hour journey (which is normally four) across brutally washed-out roads until we reached our final destination, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. The drive itself was harrowing as it necessitated 4-wheel drive the last 125 kms, but well worth the white knuckles.

(The road from hell)

I’ve now had the luxury of experiencing this corner of the world in both the wet and dry months and have witnessed pronounced seasonal changes. Despite the sheer abundance of wildlife in the dry season, I prefer the lush richness that only the rains can offer. The landscape morphs into a green winter wonderland with verdant rolling hills, thick grass and signs of new life in the air.


We arrived at Flatdogs Camp on Christmas day, just in time for the 4pm night drive. This was Eric’s first safari – not a bad Christmas present if I do say so myself.

(African Cape Buffalo)


Within the first thirty minutes we came across elephants, hippos, crocodiles, impala and even a pride of lions! Granted, the lions were just sleeping on the side of the road – somewhat anticlimactic.





But we did see a leopard just after sunset – my very first time for spotting this magnificent cat. However, I’m still waiting to see this beast hanging out in the trees during the daylight.


And I couldn’t help but think of my Mom as I ticked off the numerous bird species flying overhead, e.g., . lilac crested rollers, malachite kingfishers, yellow-billed stork, sacred ibis, crowned crane, and the African fish eagle to name a few.

(Saddle-billed Stork)

(Yellow-billed Stork)

(Blackheaded Heron)

(Southern Crowned Crane)

(Open-billed Stork)
On Boxing Day, we went on two more game drives. Unfortunately, our vehicle got stranded in the mud on our night drive and had to wait until we could be rescued by another truck! At least we weren’t surrounded by any wildlife that could pose as a threat, so really, at the end of the day it provided yet another source for a great story.

(Stuck in the mud on a night drive)


We are now back in Lilongwe resting and gearing up for tomorrow’s road trip to Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi. I showed Eric all the hotspots this afternoon in and around town (sadly enough, it only takes one day), including the market in Old Town and a few of my favorite local restaurants, shopping centers and bars.

(Drinks at sunset)

I hope each of you enjoyed the holidays…and I wish everyone a happy, healthy New Year!

(Amy, Eric and Malene)

Sending much love and happiness,

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