Originally Posted on
September 20, 2011
Reposted and updated in June 2021
It was now August 23, the last day of my visit with Njamba, his twin sister and Mum. I was up when it was still dark but the sun came up shortly thereafter around 6:00hrs.
I had a shower, got dressed and sat on my little porch watching the sun rise and watched chickens peck at the grass. I munched on some dried blueberries I had brought and threw a couple to the chickens but they ignored them. While sitting there I realized that my Barotse family probably didn’t have a towel so I took my wet towel and hung it over a chair in front of their chalet hoping it would dry before they got up. During my whole trip I would wash out my dresses at night, hang them up and they would be dry in the morning as it was so hot and dry there in August. Usually about 95 degrees Farenheight-35 degrees Celcius.
A little later I heard Mamma & Ngebe talking so I knocked on the door and gave them my towel and some soap. I hope I didn’t offend giving her a damp towel, but I think she understood.
Our driver Max & WV guide extraordinaire David showed up and we proceeded to the pontoon boat to cross the Zambezi River towards the Liuwa Plains national park.
We had bought cream cookies on the way for breakfast and brought the left over chicken (in the pots, stowed under the seats) from dinner the night before for our lunch. Jami & I sat up on the side bench seats close to the driver and Njamba, Ngebe, Mamma, Mwualuka ( our interpreter) & David sat along the side benches closer to the back of the VW vehicle. Mamma was being bounced around so I told her to put her foot on the opposite bench to keep her in place. After lunch I told her to sit up front and I sat bouncing in the very back with Njamba. All the better to have those sneak peaks at each other. Njamba was very shy and we both smiled a lot.
After confirming the names of who was entering the park as I originally told them Mr. Kazaka, Kufuku & Mutiowa were coming and now we had Mwualuka & Mamma, we were on our way. We waited for the pontoon boat to arrive on our side for boarding. It was a rope pull pontoon and Njamba helped pull it back to the other side.
We drove for quite a while until we reached the park and started seeing animals. I had read while doing my research that the Wildebeest migration was no more as a lot of the animals had been killed off. What surprise!
Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the migration in this computer so I will show them at a later date.
There are single male Wildebeest lying or standing about every acre or so.
The males stay there all winter waiting for the females in their herd to return in the spring. The females do a migration west to Angola every year to warmer grasslands and return to Zambia during the rainy season to mate & bear their young., Gideon, our guide, with a big rifle that he only shoots to scare a threat away, said that he was there the day before and there were only males. After sitting there for while it was like a miracle. We saw thousands moving towards us! It was quite the sight to see. Big males running and encircling their herds to lead the females away from us. Dust filling the air like smoke. I am so fortunate when it comes to animals as somehow they are drawn to me and I them and I have had many special experiences with animals. We saw Zebras with foals mingling with the Wildebeest.
We also spent a considerable amount of time parked about 30 feet away from a pack of about 10 Hyenas. They are nocturnal so they were lounging by a small water whole, basking in the sun. Gideon explained that it was best to keep quiet so they would not feel threatened and run and they would be used to the vehicle for future visitors to view. You can tell the difference between a male & female hyena as the females are bigger and keep their tails tucked between there hind legs. This posture shows that they are not in heat to breed.
They have the strongest jaw in the animal kingdom and eat bones & all.
( see video) It shows black at first but please be patient. Jami helped David open the shutter. Great memories!
There is a story in Lozi culture that the Litunga,( Lozi King) planted his walking stick on the plain where it grew into a mutate tree (palm tree). It stands all by itself on this massive plain where you feel like you are at the end of the earth. There are a few areas of trees you can see in the distance, but mostly flat grassy plain. The lions are hiding in those trees.
We had our lunch by that palm tree. It was good to stretch our legs as we were in the vehicle from 6:00hrs to 15:00hrs, 6am-3:00pm.
We saw many flocks of beautiful big birds called Fish Eagles but there are no elephants or giraffe in Liuwa as there are not enough trees.
We bounced and roared our way back to the guest house with Njamba and I sitting in the rear of the van. We were sharing the little knob to lock the back door as something to hold onto as there were no handles we could grab. He was so polite and when we touched hands accidentally we both said “sorry”. Every time we went over a big bump, I would involuntarily squeal and Njamba would laugh. At one point I showed Njamba how to do a loud whistle with four fingers. I told him as I do with all the children I have taught how to do this “If you practice for one day straight you will get it.”
David was great entertainment for us all by singing and telling us a true story of his encounter with a python when he was about 8 yrs old. Apparently a python will bite and hold on for dear life and then start to encircle you to suffocate you to death. David was walking with his dad and they stopped by a tree for his Dad to speak to someone. David sat down in the shade for a rest.
His dad didn’t say anything but motioned David to come quickly to him.
David did as his father asked and he had David jump onto his
back. When David was perched on his dads back, his father
pointed to the three metre python that was perched in the tree
David had been sitting under. His dad proceeded to walk
backwards, facing the tree until they were safely in the village.
It was not until they were a safe distance from the python that
David started to shake. He has a great respect for pythons now
and was very grateful to God that he was spared.
I let them all look through the binoculars and showed Njamba how to take a picture with my camera. Mwualuka got to use the video camera and the result is quite comedic on screen.
David did a video in the van. He is very good at asking the right questions as he used to do video for weddings. He asked if I had a message for my husband Carl whom I had not spoken to since we arrived. I said” I Love You and miss you and wish you were here”.
I have this video of us bouncing across Liuwa Plains NP but will show that at a later date. Stay tuned in two weeks time for the next episode and thanks for reading!