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Marula Lodge & South Luangwa National Park Pt. 1

In order to experience South Luangwa National Park in the best way possible, we decide to treat ourselves to some luxury and book in at Marula Lodge, right on the banks of the beautiful Luangwa River.

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Point 1 and 2 are my favorite!

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Number 4 makes me smile!

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Nile Crocodiles in the river

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Snack time with the wildlife!

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Em and an elephant on foot – we were close!

This lodge is one of the few (only?) to have a backpacker dorm – so it’s affordable for regular people like us who want to experience the park in the best way possible. Right from the get-go we’re warned about the elephants that wander right through the grounds, and we are not disappointed. Day after day the elephants walk through and we are always on our toes around them.

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Elephants checking out the river

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Elephant family crossing the river to walk through town

Each morning we’re up before sunrise for a game drive into the park, and after lazing around during the heat of the day we’re back out at dusk to see more critters. It’s clear the staff here know their stuff – we immediately see ten times more wildlife than we have ever seen anywhere in Africa, and we get extremely close to everything.

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Casually crossing the road

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He was looking for a stare down, but thought better of challenging the vehicle!

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This guy is well known and has a name

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His battle scars are impressive

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Getting a drink

In the past we have spent hours and hours driving around aimlessly, where-as these drivers know exactly where to go to find the good stuff! When we do spot lions, leopards and other special critters the drivers even know them by name, and are not at all surprised to find them where we do.

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The lion wanted a drink, the hippos thought otherwise. So much for king of the jungle

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Keeping a close eye out

A highlight comes in the form of a walking tour, where we go on foot into the National Park. From ground level we see zebras, giraffe, elegant and even a lioness! She stares intently at us, though the guides assure us we’re in no danger. It’s essentially unheard of for a lion to attack a group of people, and I can see they are not worried in the least!
My heart races anyway!

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Our walking guide with rifle for protection

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The lioness spotted us long before we saw her. I felt like she was stalking us!

There are a LOT of photos to show you from this magical experience.

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The guides said the lions will do this every 20 minutes for four days straight!

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The big guy resting!

If you’re ever in the region, I highly recommend staying at Marula Lodge – https://www.marulalodgezambia.com –  and their drives into the National Park!

-Dan

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