The first stop for us in the father's homeland, Zambia, was South Luangwa National Park. We stayed in a great lodge on the Luangwa river, where hippos and elephants could be found roaming around the tents both in the day and at night. The key thing for us in South Luangwa was to spot the beautiful and elegant leopard, and we weren't disappointed!
We saw a total of 5 leopards including a big boy who had hidden his freshly killed impala in a tree. He could hardly move, his belly was so swollen from all the fresh meat. A lonely female sat below the tree looking longingly at the dead impala, later we did see her sneakily chewing on a leg which had dropped in the male's hast to eat.
We also went on our first walking safari in Zambia with a guide and an armed ranger.
The ranger waited until after the walk before telling us his terrifying tales, including one where he basically wrestled a huge, male lion and had to continually punch the animal in the face to escape - I was in awe of this man whether it was a tall tale or not! We learnt so much from our guide too and I do love a good fact so
1. Hippos cannot swim – they are secretly walking on the river bed, sometimes only on their back legs. If you see them in deep water they are floating.
2. Elephants and rhinos use mud as suncream, soap and to remove ticks.
3. Take wild mint and put it in an empty snail shell. Then find a fearless and stubborn man to wee in the shell. Finally put this concoction in your hunting dogs’ nose to improve its sense of smell.
4. A rhino penis weighs between 20kg and 30kg – people are buying rhino horn on the black market to try and gain some of these qualities!
5. A termite queen can live up to 18 years old and can lay 25,000 eggs a day.
6. Crocodiles can slow their heart beat down to 1 beat per minute.
7. Warthogs butt heads to start a fight – they also made it onto the African Ugly 5 list!
8. Contrary to the Lion King, male lions are solitary and the females will do all the hunting and protection for the cubs.
9. Male hippos use their tails to spray their dung to mark their territory… females feel no need to spray their poo!
10. The average male elephant ejaculation is 5 litres.
11. A zebra has a weak back, so cannot be ridden like a horse or donkey.
12. Crocodiles close their jaws with a force of 1000lbs per square inch, but you can hold it closed with 2 fingers.
13. Local Zambians use hippo dung to cure colic in babies.
14. (Learnt from our time on a cattle ranch) The signs of a masculine bull are:
a. Round bottom or rump
b. Heavy brow
c. Flat back that could hold water on it
d. Good sized male equipment.