As a kid I often dreamed of going on safari, seeing the ‘big five’, and experiencing a land so drastically different from my own. For a very long time, Africa has been high atop my long (and growing) list of places I’d like to visit; however, it always seemed like a longshot that I’d ever make it. That’s why, when a friend, Tom Pickering, told me he would be serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi for two years I jumped at the chance to visit. So Constance and I are here now, to see some of the landscapes, people, and wildlife of southern Africa. Since internet access is so spotty, the blog posts will be added several at a time, but I will try to limit individual posts to the events of a single day, to make it easier to follow. I hope that you will enjoy following us on our first African adventure! --- Quand j’étais petit, je rêvais de faire un safari, de voir les grands mammifères terrestres et de découvrir un monde drastiquement différent du mien. L’Afrique a longtemps occupée une des premières positions de ma longue (et toujours grandissante) liste de région du monde que je voudrais visiter, sans vraiment croire que j’aurais véritablement l’occasion d’y aller un jour. C’est pourquoi quand un de mes amis, Tom Pickering, m’a appris qu’il partait pour deux ans au Malawi pour faire du bénévolat pour le Peace Corps, j’ai sauté sur l’occasion. C’est ici, au Malawi, que Constance et moi nous trouvons présentement afin de découvrir les paysages, les gens et la faune du sud de l’Afrique. Étantdonné que j’ai accèsà internet de manière très sporadique, plusieurs entrées de blogs seront ajoutées en même temps. Je vais tout de même faire un effort pour raconter les anecdotes dans un ordre chronologique pour faciliter la lecture. J’espère que vous aimerez suivre les péripéties de notre première aventure africaine!

Zambian bush, pt. 3

Sunday, 10 July 2011 – Bush, day 3

This morning we had a wonderful morning game drive, spotting of course tons of grazing animals, birds, and other creatures (saw my first African snake, although didn’t get a good enough look to see just what it was). We got a particularly good view of a pair of warthogs, certainly one of the most interesting animals in the bush to watch.

Back in camp, Constance and I were sitting on a log watching the Luangwa River flow past. Suddenly, a group of about 10 hippos or so on the opposite bank charged into the water, causing quite a scene. I assumed they had had enough of the hot sun, and decided at once to go for a cooling swim. When I inspected, however, I realize that the hippos were escaping something entirely different – they were fleeing a leopard! The leopard was walking along the steep river bank, scaring off everything in its path. Hippos fled to the safety of the water, as did a number of large lizards, and birds fled by wing. Crocodiles stood their ground, and the leopard just ignored them. We watched as the leopard walked about a half a kilometer or so along the bank, bothering just about every creature it passed, even pouncing at one point, apparently unsuccessfully, at an animal hiding in a bush at the water’s edge, until it climbed back up the bank and disappeared into the bush. There was no mistaking it this time, we had seen a leopard, even watched it on the hunt! That is, without question, one of the most beautiful animals I’ve ever seen, and I felt very lucky to have witnessed a few minutes of its life in the African wilderness.

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