Liuwa Plain - the Saga continues....
It was so good to finally get to the camp site. Setting up camp is always fun and as soon as that was done we took our chairs out onto the plain to watch the sunset and to have a well earned sundowner!
The following day we set out to explore the plains. The vegetation is truly unlike any other National Park in Zambia. We are so used to "going to the bush" and seeing the same type of trees and vegetation. Here there are vast open spaces, interspersed with belts of trees. On the plains there are the occasional small tree islands and then the open pans, some of which still had a little water in them.
We headed out for the famous palm tree. From here, and from many other places , the vast spaces open before you and just seem to go on forever.
Whilst this 360 degree panorama shows a desolate and barren picture, there are contrasting areas of lush vegetation surrounding the surviving water pans.
As the days went by, we experienced the most magnificent skies. We witnessed quite a few stormy skies with lots of lightning in the distance.
The movement of the blue wildebeest is one of the main attractions of Liuwa. The lack of rain this season meant that while we were there these animals had not yet started migrating en masse. However, on our trip, herds of 200 - 300 wildebeest and 20 - 40 zebra were not uncommon. Wildebeest are such playful creatures, and it was good to see their tails frisking in the air as they pranced around. Calving season was very evident and some of our party were lucky enough to witness the birth and introduction of calves to their new world.
It is estimated that there are approximatley 35,000 wildebeest and 5,000 zebra within the park. Hyena, oribi and steenbuck can also be seen. It is also possible to see wild dog, cheetah and the one pride of lion. These are more difficult to find, and many visit the park without seeing them. Buffalo and eland have been introduced into certain areas of the park so the diversity of mammals is on the increase.
Bird life at Liuwa is fabulous. We saw many crested and wattled cranes, and we were able to identify many other species as well - too many to mention here... Water birds were in abundance and these increase in numbers as the rains set in. Of particular interest was the barred owlet which we spottted in a wooded area close to one of the camps.
Camping is always fun and these community campsites are well run. At 3 of the 4 camps there are ablutions with cold showers and toilets. There is water for washing up, but you need to take your own drinking water.
Would we go back to Liuwa?? In a heart beat - yes we would! I think it would be interesting to go a little later on in the year once there has been a little more rain as then more flowers would be out and the wildebeest movement would be more evident. This truly is an awesome destination and well worth the effort of getting there. I think the most lasting impresson of Liuwa is the vast open spaces and the magnificent sunsets every evening.
The photos really don't do this place any justice - you just need to get organised and go and see it for yourselves!
Our last night - watching that magnificent sunset again
Until next time.....