African Safaris Consultants Blog » Zambia Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:32:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 African Safari Consultants Present: Victoria Falls [video] Fri, 21 Feb 2014 11:10:28 +0000 Nicknamed ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, the Victoria Falls are without question the jewels in the crown of both Zimbabwe and Zambia. One of the largest, most impressive waterfalls in the world, the mist from the falls alone has created a thriving rain forest on it’s periphery, while the valley below teems with Africa’s Big Five and more.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking adventure in the form of a bungee jump, white water rafting or a helicopter flight, or a honeymooning couple seeking the romantic grandeur of Africa, the Victoria Falls are the ideal destination. Sir David Livingstone, the first Western explorer to lay eyes on the falls, remarked that it was one of the most beautiful sights he had ever seen. He was right!

Watch the Victoria Falls video below to learn a bit more about a true African wonder, then Contact Us to plan your trip to Victoria Falls.

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Elephant’s Trunk Bitten by Crocodile while Drinking Fri, 20 Dec 2013 07:10:23 +0000 Africa is a hot place, with temperatures in summer often reaching in excess of 100 ºF in the shade.  Cooling off and keeping hydrated is therefore essential for the animals survival. Sometimes that means taking a drink in conditions that are not always ideal – as was the case with this elephant bull in the South Luangwa National Park, one of the great animal sanctuaries of Zambia.

Photographed by Mfuwe Lodge manager Ian Salisbury, the bull got quite a surprise when he went for a drink at his local water hole. He was just a few short sips in to his refreshing drink when an opportunistic Nile crocodile rather cheekily took hold of his trunk. The elephant bull was shaken, but luckily in command enough of his senses to give his trunk a good trumpet, which dislodged the hungry reptile. Although all is well that ends well, you can be sure that this elephant bull will double check when next he decides to quench his thirst…

Enjoy the photographs and Contact Us to put together a Zambia adventure of your own!









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Zambia’s Emerald Season Fri, 23 Aug 2013 12:00:33 +0000 We’re just a few months away from the start of Zambia’s famed ‘Emerald Season’, which is when the heavens open and Zambia is blessed with life-giving rainfall from November to April. Particularly noticeable in the South Luangwa, the rains transform the valley into a lush, emerald green paradise from which the rainy season takes its name. With an increase in rainfall becoming more noticeable in November, December and January are statistically the wettest months in Zambia, with an average rainfall of just over 7 and 8 inches respectively.  Although wet, the temperatures remain remarkably warm and consistent throughout.

Average Temperatures in Zambia

Average Temperatures in Zambia

Aside from all the much needed new vegetation that sustains the wildlife of Zambia, the Emerald Season is a wildlife photographers dream! The lush foliage contrasts brilliantly with the contented animals, and the feeling of rejuvenation is hard to miss. With so much rain around, there is a myriad of bird, plant and animal life which seems even more vibrant than usual.

Check out these photographs below to get a sense of how striking the contrasts of the Emerald Season can be:

With food so plentiful, animals are relaxed.

With food so plentiful, animals are relaxed.

Black and White meets Green.

Black and White meets Green.

The Emerald Season is a also the perfect time to take advantage of the special rates offered by our preferred lodge partners, with most offering great value shoulder season rates. We’ve put together a couple of our favourites for you below:

1. Stay 3, Pay 2*

The Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge is offering three nights for the price of two, at a massive saving of US$400.00 per person. Once the personal retreat of Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kuanda, Chichele Presidential Lodge offers you the chance to relax in total luxury with the whole of the South Luangwa National Park as your backdrop.

Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge

Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge

2. Green Season Offer*

Spend a minimum of six nights at a combination of selected Sanctuary lodges and camps in Botswana and Zambia and only pay US$450.00 per person per night at Stanley’s Camp, Chobe Chilwero, Sussi & Chuma and Chichele Presidential Lodge.

The breathtaking Sussi & Chuma Lodge.

The breathtaking Sussi & Chuma Lodge.

*Terms and Conditions apply.

To take advantage of these and other great deals in Zambia‘s Emerald Season, Contact Us to put together your perfect Zambian safari.


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Devil’s Pool Opens for Season Fri, 16 Aug 2013 09:13:47 +0000 One of the most popular destinations in Africa, the Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe is a true wonder of the natural world. David Livingstone came across the falls in 1855 and named them in honour of his Queen at the time, while the indigenous people of the region dubbed it Mosi-oa-Tunya or ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – a moniker still in common use today. While not the tallest or widest falls in the world, Victoria Falls do lay claim to being the falls with the largest sheet of falling water.


Victoria Falls

A famous feature of the Victoria Falls is the rather dubiously named Devil’s Pool – a naturally formed pool right on the very edge of the falls. Loved by adventurous tourists and locals alike, the rock barrier forms an eddy (the swirling of a fluid and the reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle) that is perfectly safe to swim in. Confident swimmers are able to sit and relax in the pool mere feet away from the 350 foot drop, constantly under the expert guidance of local guides.

A mainstay on the ‘To-Do’ lists of visitors to the region, Devil’s Pool opens again to the public today – the 16th August 2013 – and usually remains so until December. To experience the rush of adrenaline that accompanies swimming in one of the most beautiful places on earth, Contact Us to plan your perfect Victoria Falls visit.


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Victoria Falls – The difference between the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides Thu, 16 May 2013 11:02:28 +0000 The Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site, cascade down a 355ft gorge where the Zambezi river continues it’s flow southwards through the valley below. Bordering both Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Victoria Falls offer the unique opportunity to witness the same natural wonder from one of two countries. But what is the difference between the Zambian side and the Zimbabwean side? We’ll have a look at each a little more closely below…

The Zambian Side 

The main town on the Zambian side of the falls is Livingstone, with access via Livingstone Airport (LVI). Livingstone is a mere 6.2miles  from the falls offers all the modern amenities that tourists require – shopping malls, banking facilities and plenty of local craftsmen selling curious. Livingstone also boasts the most popular full service 5 star hotel, The Royal Livingstone – the majestic lawns of which overlook the falls and feature zebras lazily grazing.

For the cultural types, Livingstone has several museums including the Victoria Falls Field Museum  the Livingstone Museum, the Maramba Cultural Museum and the Railway Museum. Livingstone also offers the best access to Livingstone Island – one of two large masses in the middle of the river – which has healthy populations of wildlife such as elephant and water buffalo.


Sundowners at The Royal Livingstone.

The Zimbabwe Side 

The Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls offers something completely different to the Zambian side. Accessible from the Victoria Falls airport, the town is known as the adventure capital of Africa owing to the fact that it boasts some of the best white water rafting in the world, and one of the highest bungee jumps. A quaint town that is considerably smaller than Livingstone, Victoria Falls has no shortage of charm and welcoming attitude.

The town is said to have the best view of the falls, especially from the bridge that connects Zimbabwe and Zambia. During low water times, visitors are able to see right into the ‘skeleton’ of the falls – a truly remarkable site.

Victoria Falls also has one of the most famous hotels in Africa, the Victoria Falls Hotel. Steeped in colonial history, the 5 star Victoria Falls Hotel is fondly known as ‘The Grand Old Lady of the Falls’ and is situated in the Victoria Falls National Park.


The colonial Victoria Falls Hotel.

Contact Us to make your Victoria Falls dream a reality – whichever side you choose!




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The McClay’s African Adventure Wed, 30 May 2012 08:17:27 +0000 The team at African Safari Consultants recently received this amazingly positive feedback from the McClays, for whom we’d organised their dream African safari. Donna McClay was kind enough to provide us with some excerpts of her travel diary, which we’ve included below. Enjoy!

After all the months of planning and research, I can honestly say that everything exceeded our expectations and then some!  You both provided us with fantastic guidance and our final itinerary of Cape Town, Botswana and Zambia could not have been more perfect for us and our 2 adult children.  Nothing can quite prepare you for the magic that is Africa.  Here then are the highlights of our trip.

As you know, this trip was planned to coincide with our daughter, Mary, finishing her semester abroad program in South Africa.  We arrived in Johannesburg on May 4th and met up with Mary at the airport.  We spent the night in Johannesburg and left for Cape Town the morning of the 5th.  Charlie, our guide in Cape Town, was just the best!  He deftly arranged for us to see all the highlights Cape Town has to offer in 3 full days.  Our tour of the Cape Peninsula, the Eagle and Cheetah conservation projects in Stellenbosch, and our excursion to Table Mountain were spectacular indeed.  Charlie was even able to find a store in the Cape Quarter for me to buy some of the Cape Malay spices to take home.  Of course, having the opportunity to meet up with Jeff at Beluga our last night in town was a special treat.

Camps Bay © Jeff McClay

Camps Bay © Jeff McClay


The morning of the 9th we departed for Botswana via Johannesburg and Maun.  From Maun, we took our bush flight to Savute Safari Lodge in the Chobe National Park where we were met by Gee, our guide during our stay at Savute.  The lodge is just fantastic – our rooms overlooked the watering hole where elephant herds would make regular visits during our stay.  Our hosts, MC and Michelle made sure we had all the comforts of home.  The game drives in Savute were the best viewing we had the entire time on safari.  In the first two days we saw leopard and lions, which according to my daughter, is very lucky indeed!  Gee’s skill at tracking wildlife made the game drives very exciting, and we loved the sundowners out in the field with our safari buddies from the Netherlands.

During our last sundowner, the call came in that lions had been spotted and we literally dropped everything and jumped in the jeep for a wild ride reminiscent of the Indiana Jones attraction at Disneyland!  Our wildlife sightings also included elephant, zebras, cape buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe and warthogs.  After 2 nights, we departed Savute for Camp Moremi in the Okavango Delta (Xaxanaka Lagoon).


Zebra  © Jeff McClay

Zebra © Jeff McClay


Camp Moremi was a very different environment where we were able to see many avian species on the water (and kept our distance from the hippos!), including a fish eagle who had just scooped up a tilapia and was enjoying his dinner in a tree.  Frank, our guide, was delightful, and even made a necklace for Mary out of a water lily during our afternoon cruise on the lagoon.  We found the elusive wild dogs hanging out under some bushes during one of our game drives.  BK, Hannah and Charity were lovely hosts and we so enjoyed the evening choir concerts before each dinner.  After our 2 nights at Moremi, we left for Leroo La Tau in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.

Our rooms at Leroo La Tau faced the channel where we watched herds of elephant and zebra come down to the water.  We even heard lions roaring during the night.  Juan, Priscilla and Fred were terrific hosts, and arranged a lovely 21st birthday celebration for Mary, complete with birthday cake and candles!  It certainly was a far cry from the standard Las Vegas blowout most of her friends have experienced.  How many college students can say they spent their 21st birthday in Botswana?  Calvin, our guide took us on a tour of his village where we visited a primary school and a clinic.  We brought some school supplies and marveled at the dedication of the teachers and the politeness of the students who greeted us as we walked into their classrooms.  By the end of our week-long safari in Botswana, we had seen everything but rhinos.

Leroo Le Tau © Jeff McClay

Leroo Le Tau © Jeff McClay


Our last stop was Zambia and the Isands of Siankaba, located about an hour from Victoria Falls.  Our trip would take us by plane from Leroo La Tau to Kasane, where we were met by a Bushtracks guide who drove us to the Chobe River.  From there we transferred to a boat to cross the river into Zambia, where we were met by another Bushtracks guide who drove us to the lodge.  We were able to experience the African version of Four Corners where the countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet in the middle of the Chobe River, much like the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet in the southwest U.S.

The lodge is located on the Zambezi River and is an idyllic setting located in the treetops and connected by rope bridges and platforms above the river.  Nothing can compare to listening to the sounds of the mighty Zambezi at night as you are falling asleep, including the occasional hippo snort!  What an incredible ending to our vacation.  The lodge is truly 5-star with amazing food and lovely accommodations.  Graham, Brett and Claire and their staff are definitely top notch.  They arranged a lovely birthday celebration for Paul’s 60th birthday.  Matthews took us on a tour of his village which included a stop at the preschool where the children entertained us with songs and imitations of Zambian chameleons!  They were thrilled to line up for happy face stickers which we brought along with more school supplies.


Leopard © Jeff McClay

Leopard © Jeff McClay

The highlight of our stay was the trip to Victoria Falls escorted by Lucky, our guide.  He took us on all the trails for the best views of the falls, and gamely carried 5 sets of rain gear for us to put on!  Needless to say, I was a bit nervous listening to Jeff and Mary talk about swimming in Devil’s Pool and white water rafting (both of which were closed, thank goodness!).  When they decided on the zip line across the gorge, I felt my stomach turn as I realized they expected me to do it too!  Well, there was no way I was going to wimp out, and on the video you can hear Jeff say, “I can’t believe she actually did it!”  The falls was truly awe-inspiring and like nothing we’ve ever seen.  We left Zambia on the 18th for our marathon flight home to San Diego.

Jeff and Liesl, every aspect of our trip was spot on – no delays, missed connections, late flights or missing transfer drivers.  We came home with thousands of pictures, some of which I have included here, and many incredible memories.  Thanks to your expert consultation, we had the trip of a lifetime and have been smitten by the people and places we’ve experienced.  We hope to plan another adventure to Africa – perhaps Namibia next time and will be sure to call you!

Many thanks to the McClay’s for the kind words and awesome pictures! If you’d like to see more of the McClay’s pictures, check out our Client Submissions pin board on Pinterest.

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Safari Icons: Norman Carr Fri, 20 Apr 2012 10:59:53 +0000 Every year, millions of people visit the continent of Africa to take in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of its fauna and flora. Whether it’s the plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya, the roaring cascade of the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia or the vast deserts of Namibia, Africa has long since had a hold on man’s imagination. The routes we traverse across this great continent, metaphorical and otherwise, were mapped out by the intrepid men and women of yesteryear – explorers with a notebook and a thirst for adventure. In this series, we’ll profile a safari icon of the past one by one and pay homage to the work they did.

We’ll begin by taking a look at the Zambian conservationist, Norman Carr.

Norman Carr

Norman Carr was born in the busy port town of Chinde, in what is now modern day Malawi, in 1912. He received his education in England and returned to Africa in 1930 where he worked as an ‘Elephant Control Officer’ in the Luangwa Valley. This majestically titled job entailed mitigating the damage done by the resident elephant herds on the crop of farmers in the area.  After serving for four years in the Kings African Rifles, where he attained the rank of Captain, Norman became one of Africa’s first Game Rangers in the Luangwa Valley’s newly formed ‘Game Department’.  It was in this role that Norman started implementing conservation measures which would be adopted throughout Africa.

Norman had to be alert in the bush

Norman Carr persuaded the then Chief Nsefu to set aside some of his land for game conservation use, and this became Nsefu Camp – the first camp of its kind open to the public in what is now Zambia. Some years later a spinal injury, caused by a run in with a buffalo, necessitated a withdrawal from the scene for a year or so. After making a recovery, Norman returned to work as a Warden for the Kafue National Park. It was here that he famously adopted two orphaned male lions – characters which left an indelible impression on all who met them.  Norman lovingly raised the pair to adulthood and later successfully reintroduced them in to the wild when they were about three years old (inspiring the novel and movie “Return to the Wild”). After cofounding the first hunting operation in the Luangwa Valley with Peter Hankin, it was in 1968 that Norman Carr’s next revolutionary idea came about…

Norman Carr with the orphaned cubs


Midday Stroll

Growing up in the wild, Norman was always very at home in the African bush. His deep understanding of the dynamic between man and animal meant that he read situations between the two very well. For Norman, a walk in the bush amongst the Big Five was part of his everyday life. So much so in fact that he decided to extend the opportunity of a Walking Safari to visitors of Chibembe Safari Camp. The safari walks were a smash hit! Never before had people experienced wildlife in such a manner, where man and nature interacted so harmoniously in such close proximity.

One of the first Walking Safaris

In his later years, Norman Carr continued in his unwavering quest to conserve and protect all wildlife.  In 1979 he devoted two years of his life to the ‘Save the Rhino’ campaign aimed at eradicating the rampant poaching of the Valley’s rhinoceros population. Through the Kapani School Fund, Norman provided scholarships for many children in the area all the while engraining in them the importance of wildlife conservation. These were to be amongst his final acts as the great conservationist, Mr Norman Carr, passed peacefully in 1993.

Norman Carr’s pioneering spirit led to him becoming one of the most important figures in Zambia’s recent history, in the fields of tourism and conservation. His philanthropically inclined nature meant he was well liked and respected amongst his peers, and people in general.

Next time you’re out on that amazing Walking Safari, tip your hat to Mr Carr…

*If you’d like to see more images of Norman and the lions, check out our Pinterest board here.

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Zambia: The Land of Plenty Fri, 24 Feb 2012 10:45:18 +0000 Zambia is a land blessed with natural beauty and an abundance of wildlife. The country also enjoys the title of one of the World’s fastest economically reformed countries (World Bank, 2010) and is regarded as one of the safest destinations to visit. The multitude of attractions and activities make Zambia an ideal travel destination for everyone from seasoned safari goers and thrill seekers to honeymooners and families alike.

Unusual tree-climbing lions found only in Kafue National Park

Despite the remoteness of a lot of areas in Zambia, getting to the country is a lot more straightforward than people think. The international airport in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, serves several major airlines including KLM, SAA and Emirates. Once there, smaller chartered planes or overland transfers take you to your destination with ease.

Zambia can be incredibly hot during the summer months, particularly during October, with temperatures known to climb as high as 100°F. It’s for this reason that we recommend travelling there in the cooler months of July and August. However, if a little bit of heat doesn’t scare you, game viewing is best during the hotter months as animals congregate at watering holes and the grass is a lot shorter (which greatly aids visibility).

A lot of camps in Zambia are seasonal (especially in the South Luangwa) which means that they’re taken down during the rainy season, and rebuilt at the start of each safari season, by skilled local craftsmen. This, coupled with the fact that the camps are pretty small, means that availability is something one must definitely take in to consideration. It’s advisable to book well in advance, so get those Zambian thinking caps on early…

Zambia is famed for walking safaris

During the rainy season, also known as the emerald season, the bush is really lush, thick and green which makes for amazing photographs. Seasonal flowers bloom and the entire landscape is transformed into an Eden for birds and animals. There are over 740 recorded species of bird in Zambia, with each vegetation habitat hosting it’s own distinctive set. A bird lovers treat!

Zambia is one of the best places to go on walking safari in the world. If you’ve been on safari before, and are seeking a more authentic, purist experience, then a walking safari is for you. Experience nature the way our ancestors did by walking in amongst it in the South Luangwa National Park. Experienced, trained guides escort you safely through the African bush whilst educating you on the unique fauna and flora as you go. This exhilarating experience is one that you won’t soon forget.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

While the adrenaline is still pumping from your walking safari, why not take it up a notch with one of Zambia’s numerous thrill seeking activities. How about a bungee jump aside Victoria Falls – the world’s largest waterfall? Alternatively, brave the rapids in an exhilarating  white water raft down the Zambezi river. If you’d prefer to stay dry, Zambia is well known for it’s elephant back safaris which offer a unique take on the game viewing experience. The elephant is less invasive to other animals as a vehicle, so there’s an opportunity to get up close and personal with the wildlife.

Speaking of elephants, the local herd at Mfuwe Lodge are known to wonder through the lodge and right up to reception en route to eat mangoes off a nearby tree in fruiting season. Where else in the world could you pass elephants peacefully munching on mangoes on your way to breakfast?

An elephant at reception at Mfuwe Lodge

Besides the game rich Lower Zambezi National Park, there is also the Kafue, Zambia’s largest and most remote national park and the second biggest park in the world.  Sought after sightings by safari buffs are the Tree Climbing Lions and Pel’s Fishing Owl.  Lake Tanganyika is one of the world’s oldest, deepest and longest lakes and boasts a plethora of tropical fish and water based activities. Whether you feel like snorkelling amongst the lake’s inhabitants, or relaxing on it’s sandy beaches, you’re sure to leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. The Chimfunshi Chimp Sanctuary is home to over 100 orphan chimpanzees run by the well known Siddle family, who have received numerous awards and recognition for their brilliant work.

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika

As you can see, Zambia truly does offer something for everyone. All that’s left to do now is to decide what you do first! Contact African Safari Consultants to arrange your trip to Zambia and take advantage of our Bushcamps Walking Safari special offer whereby you stay for 8 nights and only pay for 7.

Zambia awaits!


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Zambia’s Great Bat Migration Fri, 18 Nov 2011 09:06:28 +0000  

If asked what was the world’s largest mammal migration, most people would probably guess the annual migration of wildebeest across the plains of the Masai Mara. And they’d be wrong…

Fruit bats roosting.

Fruit bats roosting during the daylight hours.


Every year between October and December, up to ten million fruit bats make the journey from all over central Africa to the Kasanka National Park in Zambia in what is the world’s largest mammal migration. The bats come to the area to feast on the ripening fruits of the fertile valley and usually stay for around six weeks.

Being nocturnal animals, early morning sees a flurry of activity in the African skies as the bats return to roost before sunrise. Once roosting, the animals are extremely difficult to see so it is highly recommended that you join one of the early morning guided walk safaris.

The bats play a highly important role in the ecological system of the area. By coming to feast on all the delicious fruits on offer, and then returning home, the bats unwittingly distribute tree seeds throughout their journey. It is estimated that the bats are responsible for as much as 60% of the seed dispersal of African rain forest trees. How many other animals can say that about their excrement?

Bats in the skies of Kasanka National Park.

Bats in the skies of Kasanka National Park.


Watch the video here to see just what makes the annual migration such a special occurrence.

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Dramatic Elephant Rescue – Luanga Valley, Zambia Wed, 02 Nov 2011 06:35:47 +0000 Most conservationists believe that man should not meddle with the natural order and that we should allow nature to run her course however cruel or grim it seems to be. We agree on the whole, unless a wildlife problem has been created by man (for instance in the case of snaring or being trapped in a fence, in which case it’s justifiable to intervene). Otherwise nature should be left to her own devices. For the most part…

Every rule has an exception, and this is the tale of just such an exception. In the Luanga Valley of Zambia, Norman Carr Safaris came across this remarkable sight of a mother and calf elephant getting horribly stuck in the mud, and Abraham Banda was on hand to capture the rescue process on film.

The Kapani Lagoon is a source of drinking water for the animals of the area, as well as the place to go for a relieving mud bath. Unfortunately though, a young calf was unlucky enough to get stuck in the mud when visiting the lagoon recently. The calf’s cries attracted her mother who rushed to her rescue, only to get stuck in the mud herself. The pair had been there for a day, exhausted and dehydrated, when the Safari group came across them.

The startled animal lovers simply could not stand by and watch them struggle and slowly die. The group contacted the South Luangwa Conservation Society, who agreed that the elephants should be rescued. The following pictures detail just how this amazing feat was achieved.

The herd inspects the mother and daughter.


The struggling left the mother and calf exhausted.


The skilled rescue team bravely slip a rope under the calf.


Slowly but surely, the team begin hauling the calf out.


The terrified calf tries desperately to stay with her mum.


Nearly there! The bulk of the calf is now out of the mud.


The newly freed calf is reluctant to leave mum's side.


The team pull the calf further away from the mud.


The team unwrap the rope and let the calf on her way.


The calf rushes to rejoin the herd who call her from the banks.


Attention now shifts to the much bigger, much heavier mum.


The hard work is starting to show results as mum has two legs out.


The last stretch as the exhausted elephant struggles out.


Success! Mum rushes off to rejoin her herd.

t was extremely heartening for all to see how many local people joined in the efforts to free these two elephants. The cheers of joy, first when the baby ran to his cousin and then when Mum was finally released from the jaws of the sticky, cloying mud were wonderful! Everyone seemed to identify with the mum’s plight  – we all saw the incredible emotional bond between the worried herd members and mum and baby.

A big well done to the South Luangwa Conservation Society and also all the Norman Carr Safari staff who bravely fought to make this a happy ending!

Story by: Norman Carr Safaris

Images by: Abraham Banda

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