A Travellerspoint blog

Spots and Stripes

Safari on the Mosi-oa- Tunya National Park.


Our last full day in Zambia was a Sunday. Again it was going to be a very full day. We had booked a combo package. This included going on a game drive in the early morning on the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, then going on a cruise down the Zambesi River in the afternoon.

Our pick up for the game drive arrived at 7a.m. We were taken to the waterfront area then boarded our safari jeep. We were the only two people on the tour which surprised us but turned out to be really good for us. Our guide asked us which animals we had not seen yet, but wanted to see. I told him I really, really wanted to see zebras and giraffes, but had not even caught a glimpse of them. He said he would see what he could do.

Our safari Vehicle.

We drove onto the park. We passed another beautiful boab tree. We also saw a common duiker deer which we had not seen before, but it was fast moving and my photo of it is too blurry to post. Then we passed the bones of an elephant that had been killed by poachers.

Elephant bones.

We also saw more warthogs and impala. The guide told us warthogs have very short memories. He said he once saw two feeding when a lion pounced on one and killed it. The other ran away, but after a very short distance the second warthog forgot it was being chased and stopped to eat. The lion killed the second warthog, too. I was thinking: “We will never find zebras or giraffes. We will just keep seeing the animals we have seen before.”


Suddenly our driver stopped. “Look over there, what do you see?” he asked. “Nothing,” I had to admit.” Look closer, among the trees.” I could still see nothing. We drove closer. Suddenly I saw them a huge herd of beautiful stripy zebra. They were gorgeous. At first they ran away from our vehicle, but when we stopped they began to relax and come back to us. They were so wonderful I could have watched them for hours.

Beautiful zebras.

Beautiful zebras.

Beautiful zebras.

Reluctantly we eventually let the driver move on. After a short distance he stopped again. “Do you see that?” he said. I was embarrassed to have to say no once again. Then suddenly I realized he was pointing out a giraffe which was deep in the trees, but its long neck was visible and we could watch it munching happily on the leaves. We also saw a baby giraffe nearby. We had to use a zoom to photograph them.

Gorgeous Giraffes.

Gorgeous Giraffes.

Gorgeous Giraffes.

A little later we were on the move again. We drove through a ruined village. Our guide explained that the guards and other staff who worked on the park used to live there with their families then one day one of their children got killed by an elephant and for safety the families were all moved off the park grounds.

Ruined Village.

Ruined Village.

Ruined Village.

Ruined Village.

Next to our delight we came across another herd of zebras. This time we were able to get even closer to them. Next to them there was a herd of wildebeest an animal we had never seen before. Our guide explained that animals liked to be in mixed up groups as some of them had good eyesight, some good hearing, some a good sense of smell and between them they were better able to detect predators. Again we could have sat there for hours and hours.








Sadly we had to move on. We next visited the cemetery of Old Drift. The first white settlers to this area made a settlement near the Zambesi River and called it Old Drift. These settlers were mainly missionaries. Gradually the settlers began to develop fevers and several of them died. They thought the fever was caused by a particular type of tree and called these trees fever trees. They did not know they were dying of malaria or that it was caused by mosquitoes. Eventually they abandoned this settlement due to the deaths and founded a newer settlement further away from the river. That settlement developed into the town of Livingstone. I love history so was very interested in the graves.

Old Drift Cemetery.

Old Drift Cemetery.

Old Drift Cemetery.

Old Drift Cemetery.

Next we sat by the river and had a picnic of coffee, water and muffins. We were told to be careful of baboons who might come and steal the lot. It was very peaceful by the river as long as you temporarily forgot it was filled with hippos and crocodiles.


By the river.

By the river.

The last part of our trip took us to a different section of the park to see the park’s much treasured white rhinos. These are an endangered species. Armed guards are employed to follow them around twenty-four hours a day to protect them from poachers who of course want to steal their horns for Chinese medicine.

This cheeky vervet monkey took over the guard's office as soon as she left to escort us to the rhinos.



We were able to walk to within ten to twenty feet of the rhinos. We had to walk in single file like this: armed guard at the front, our guide, Peter, me, armed guard at the rear. This was in case poachers attacked while we were there. The rhinos were amazing. We took lots of photos then one of the armed guards offered to photograph us with them. Unfortunately for us those rhinos walked right out of the shot. We found it funny when we saw the pictures later.




Hey come back You're supposed to be in our photo.

After what was an absolutely fantastic morning, we got our guide to drop us off in town so we could stock up on provisions in the Spar then walked home to pack and go swimming.

Afternoon swim.

In the late afternoon we were collected for our cruise. Our first cruise had been very peaceful and sedate. This one was nicknamed the booze cruise and attracted a younger, rowdier lot. At first we thought: “Oh no this is going to be awful." Then we got talking to the other people on the cruise and found they were actually really nice. We ended up chatting, singing and pretending to be the cast of the movie Titanic. It was all good fun. We even got to see a yawning hippo. We were delighted, but apparently it is not a good sign. The yawn is warning you to back off before it capsizes your boat. This time we did see the sun start to set over the Zambesi River.

On the cruise.

Yawning hippo.

The cast of the Titanic.


Posted by irenevt 22:12 Archived in Zambia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


You got to see rhinos much better than we did. But it surprises me that you didn't see zebras before this

by greatgrandmaR

This would have been my favorite day. I loved the zebras and wildebeest. The little monkey sitting on the desk was funny. They sort of take over, don't they? ;)

by Beausoleil

Hi Rosalie, apart from in zoos these were our first zebra. Maybe because we have either been in the desert or on the coast before. Chobe was our first safari and has zebra but we didn't see them.

by irenevt

Hi Sally, the waterfalls on the Zambia side and the Mosi- oa- Tunya national park were my two highlights. My husband loved the waterfalls on the Zambia side and the Victoria Falls Hotel.

by irenevt

I'm so pleased you got to see the zebras and giraffes you were hoping for, but I really envy you getting so close to rhinos - I've only ever seen them from a considerable distance

by ToonSarah

The rhinos were amazing. They are not tame but because they have guards around them 24 hours a day, they are used to people and generally won't react to them being close-by. Thank you for visiting, Irene

by irenevt

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.