A walk on the wild side

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, this time, it is not a lion lurking in the bushes behind but a fellow guest on a walking safari with The Bushcamp Company who had not had enough of our sumptuous lunch and 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 leaf that is brushing past your arm makes you feel that you are on the edge of danger and a little 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 little things that you miss when you are in a game vehicle. Stopping to identify spore, looking at various trees and plants and learning the medicinal uses – 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. Impala where my particular favourite as they tend to do their business in a central area, just to keep it neat and tidy. They also reminded me of dark chocolate covered peanuts…..

A big highlight do 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 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 a almighty growl and a thud. Pumba the warthog was no longer and the way my heart was racing I felt I was not far behind poor Pumba! 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, 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! That is what I kept telling myself anyway.

Heart still racing we left the lion behind and made our way down to the Kapamba River and our home for the night Zungulila Bush Camp. To our surprise chairs where 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…

To hear more about Bridget’s Zambian walking safari or for her expert advice on planning a holiday to Zambia call 01285 880 980.