23 September 2010

Sunset, South Luangwa

Evening by the Luangwa River appeared idyllic, but not all was as it seemed. The river's home to crocodiles — some enormous — and hippos. We were instructed not to walk around unaccompanied after dark, as hippos grazed the grounds, and on both nights I woke and enjoyed the sight of a hippo cropping the grass outside my tent. A trip to the toilet would have required me to call out to the night watchman, who would have come and chased away the hippo with his catapult. Yes — really. No 375 H&H magnum: instead, a forked stick with a piece of inner tube and whatever stones happened to be lying around.

But the real danger was much less obvious: an estimated three quarters of the mosquitoes in the region carry malaria.

[11 May 2007; Canon 20D, 24–105 mm f4 L at 35 mm, ISO 400, 1/6 at f7.1]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Barbara said...

Ahh, exquisite. wonderful. Nothing like crocodiles and hippos and mosquitos - oh my! - to keep one mindful, though, eh?

pohanginapete said...

Barbara, South Luangwa's wonderful and the crocodiles and hippos aren't a danger to short-term visitors (to local people it's a different matter — one of our guide's sons had been killed by a crocodile). With the mosquitoes, it's just common sense: keep covered up, use repellent and keep taking an effective anti-malarial drug. Easy enough for visitors, but again it's a different matter for local people.

I'd go back to South Luangwa in the blink of an eye if offered the opportunity. Brilliant wildlife and wonderful people — the guides are reputedly some of the best in Africa and Akim certainly lived up to that reputation.