There is a low deep rumble coming from behind me and suddenly I realise how vulnerable, and to be honest at this point somewhat scared I am, of being in the middle of the Zambian bush on foot. Fortunately for me, it is not a lion lurking in the bushes behind but a fellow guest on the walking safari with The Bushcamp Company who had not eaten enough of our sumptuous lunch, was still hungry and very much looking forward to dinner!
Being on a walking safari, all your senses are at their peak, and every sound, smell, noise and even the leaves brushing past your arms makes you feel that you are on the edge of danger and a bit like Bear Grylls. Once you have passed the initial fear of being eaten you can start relaxing, just a bit, and start enjoying your surroundings.
Your guide, accompanied by an armed scout, will lead you through the bush in single file in search of the smaller things that you miss when you are in a game vehicle. We stop to identify spore, look at various trees and plants and learn their medicinal uses, as used by the guides and scouts for many years. And who would have thought that looking at poo could be so interesting! Just from inspecting a dropping, your guide can tell you which animal it is from, what they had for dinner and how long ago they where in the area.
A big highlight of the walking safari is the bird viewing. Not only do you hear constant chirping but you notice how brightly coloured they are. We learnt that if you follow the honeyguide bird he will lead you to a bee’s nest and some lovely fresh honey – and as legend has it, you better leave some honey for him otherwise you will be cursed.
Continuing with our walk we suddenly heard the squealing panic of a warthog followed by an almighty growl and thud. Our guide, completely cool and calm throughout, asked if we wanted to go and see the lion having a pre-dinner snack. A somewhat hushed and frighten “yes” came the reply. Together with the scout, the guide worked out the best way to approach, and again highlighted the fact, that if a lion charges STAND YOUR GROUND. Hmmm. Not sure that is what my instinct would tell me should the situation arise! On approaching the lion and poor dead Pumba, it appeared that the lion was more interested in his warthog starter than me!
Hearts still racing we left the lion behind and made our way down to the Kapamba River and our home for the night. To our surprise chairs were in the shallow waters of the river, a small fire going in a makeshift BBQ, with Laurence the chef roasting some nuts and Ozzie the barman waiting for us with an ice-cold G&T.
Shoes off we waded to the middle of the river to watch the sunset over another glorious day in Africa. Only occasionally did I peer over my shoulder to make sure the lion was not coming in search of his main meal…