There is always the discussion whether to visit the north Luangwa national park or not. It counts as the least developed national park in Zambia, if not whole Africa. There is only one track for visitors through the park, otherwise a very expensive "bush camp" needs to be booked.
We decide to give it a try and drive to the gate in the west of the park. Here we want to stay one night in the community camp before we drive through north Luangwa.
What a mess this camp is! We never encountered such a run down campsite like this. Non of the showers nor toilets are working, the little huts are collapsed and this for a price of 20USD per person. Once open a time, that must have been a place of beauty but nowadays it's nothing more than an argue with the guards that you are not going to pay.
Driving through north Luangwa is so unspectacular like being stuck in an elevator. The thick bush hides every single animal perfectly if they are not already gone by the sound of Matatus engine. The only excitement we find is the present the Elephants left kindly behind: a tree blocking the track.
Even though it's pretty hot outside, we take our fleece jackets as protection against the blood thirsty Tse Tse flies and start the hard work of the lumberjacks.
Done with the tree we continue the last few kilometres down to the Luangwa river where we take on our first African style river crossing on a pontoon. What seems fairly easy for us is quite the opposite for the two guys who have to ship over Matatu - the moaning of the operators is louder than any Lions roar.
After three days, with a stopover in Luambe NP, we arrive in the Croc Valley Camp. We set up camp here for our excursions into south Luangwa national park. It would turn out as one of the best places to spot game.
AS always, we head out very early so we are at the gate just when they open. we drive planless in a random direction and find a single Hyena just s few minutes later. We park Matatu not far from her and switch off the engine. As soon as the engine dies, she starts to walk straight at us. Cool, we will get a very close look of her! But hang one, what does she do with Matatu?! That damn thing starts to chew up the left indicator - stoooop!
Switching on the engine again gives her, luckily, a little fright and she wanders off again. Just in that moment a Landcruiser is heading in our direction and its passengers waving frantically: «Did you see the Leopard up the tree there?!»
Seeing a Leopard is a very rare and unforgeable thing, accordingly we were excited like little boy - for the moment at least, then we would freak out later as we find ourself spotting few more Leopards the very same day.