Daktari Safari

Following a short interruption of blogging services, I am now able to resume. I have charged up a dongle with a gigabyte of internet access and will be writing about my experiences as a doctor with the Luangwa Safari Association Medical Fund. I am an honorary consultant at the Kakumbi Rural Health Centre as well as being on call for residents and tourists in the Luangwa Valley, Eastern Zambia. The health centre takes up 95% of my work.
I am billeted in Mushroom Lodge, a small hotel just inside the South Luawngwa Game Park. The lodge overlooks a lagoon, which is drying up at the end of the rainy season. It is very picturesque, despite the mud.
I have breakfast outside, but under a grass roof, while watching the animals and birds. There was a bushbuck grazing just beside the swimming pool this morning, indicating it is probably safe to walk from my room to the dining area. Last night at 7pm, a pride of nine lions strolled through the lodge. One must have been offended by the towel left on a sunlounger, because it swatted the mattress onto the floor as it walked past. I was completely unaware of this when I left my room. I was carrying my open laptop, trying to get an internet signal, oblivious to the danger, when Marissa, the hotel manager, hissed at me from her first floor balcony, “Doctor, get back in your room quickly. There are lions at the pool!”
I knew that there had been lions about. The previous evening I had seen three females and a cub, stalking puku antelopes by the edge of the long grass on the opposite shore of the lagoon. I hurried back to my room, wondering how long the flimsy door would hold out if an adult lion decided to get through it. Fifteen minutes later, squinting through the wooden Venetian blinds, I could see the lodge staff members shining torches around the pool. It was safe to come out. I brought my super powerful, blind-you-at-100-metres Lenser torch with me this time. There was still a male lion, outside the lodge area, but waiting in the long grass on our side of the lagoon. We could barely make him out, he was so well camouflaged. In thI distance, there was a black shape, moving towards us, and the lion. It was a hippopotamus. Was there going to be a fight? Why was the hippo being so casual? Sure it could detect a lion close by? Well, the “lion” turned out to be an old tree trunk. I had dinner, thankful that I was not on the menu.

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2 Replies to “Daktari Safari”

  1. Ian…. I say a big heartfelt WOW! How fab is that!! Mmmm thanks for the sharing

    I think that is a super super thing you are doing. Good fun too

    Just up your street .. yeah I had an afternoon with Dan at the Somerset levels looking at hobbies, marsh harrier, Cetti’s warbler, willow warblers, I am sure I saw a bittern flying up then down into the reeds, little egret and a heap or a parliament or a ROYAL of swans flying looking like cranes!! The full moon is beautiful.
    Plenty of Easter (in fact any excuse) , greetings to you. Hattie

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