Arriving at Bilimungwe was brilliant – we came across a lagoon in the process of drying up, then up a slight slope to where the whole of the Bili team were there to great us.
‘Welcome to Bili!’
The loveliest lady on earth then stepped forward and introduced herself as Alex the manager. She had been managing Bili for the last 3 years and loved it so much, she hasn’t been able to tear herself away.
We walked up a few steps and into the open planned communal area where there were sofas, a bar, a tea bar in the centre of the room and a long dining table, all encircled around a huge tree. There was another smaller level below this with another table and a relaxation area all over looking a small pond and, bang in the middle was a hippo. Yup a hippo. Of course, it’s Africa, why wouldn’t there be! His name was Harry. I genuinely thought he was fake, like some cheap ornament you’d buy from Homebase to pop in your pond at home, but obviously remembering where I was, of course he wasn’t fake. He had a bunch of Terrapins resting on his back which probably made me think he was an ornament, but no, he was the real thing!
I settled into my room and had a couple of hours to soak up the sun and relax a bit. I was also able to have a good old goggle at Harry, who was thoroughly entertaining munching on his own ‘all-you-can-eat’ water lily plant bar.
The evening game drive provided five huge lion lying in the evening sunlight. We stayed with them for a short while and then we heard an Impala barking nearby. This also alerted the lion, so we shot off to see what it was all about. Sure enough, we were able to catch the briefest of glances of a leopard slipping down from a tree and off into the thick shrub. With the lion nearby and the possibility of an almighty cat fight about to take place, we obviously stayed for a bit. Lion are incredibly territorial and have been known to even kill leopards if they are on their patch. Nothing happened, so we moved on.
We stopped for sundowners by the river Luangwa and soaked up the scenery. A very quiet night drive followed. This camp is true heaven for those wanting to feel immersed in nature.