After Chingola, we flew from Ndola to Lusaka and then we were picked up and driven to Ila Lodge in the Kafue National Park (just west of Mulola and directly north of Itezhi etzhi lake). The drive from Lusaka took 4 hours, but the slowest part was getting through Lusaka because of all the road works and sewage system upgrades – there is no bypass from the airport, so you need to drive right into town to the roundabout where the Great North Road meets the East-West Road and then swing west. Kafue National Park is the largest national park in Zambia (22,000 km2, or about the size of Wales). There are a number of lodges in the park, most situated along the Kafue River – we stayed at the Ila Safari Lodge, run by Green Safaries. The Lodge consists of a main building and 10 luxury safari tents – the accommodations, food, and service were all superb from the moment we arrived to when we were dropped off 3 days later. My cousin Debbie and her parter Joanna met us at the lodge (they stayed for 5 days) and we spent the next 3 days together doing a variety of game viewing activities. We had our own, highly experienced and entertaining guide (Joe) for the entire time who tailored daily activities based on what we wanted to do – Joe was from the area and knew all about the local flora and fauna – although there were other guests, we never saw other group during our game drives, and it felt like we had the whole park to ourselves. The lodge also had a couple of boats, including a solar powered pontoon boat for river cruises – a particularly nice way to view birds since it was so silent. It was the tail-end of the dry season, so all the vegetation was burned, dry and dusty, but the temperatures were lovely (cool in the evenings and mornings before the sun got high and hot later in the day, but never humid or uncomfortable). I’ve uploaded photos of some of the animals we saw – the first batch can be seen by clicking this link or the embedded photo. The link for the next batch of photos will be in a separate post. There are a few birds and animals that still need to be ID’d (help and corrections appreciated from any of you that know more than Dort and I). We saw over 59 species of birds, 23 species of mammals and 3 large species of reptiles – I didn’t get good shots of them all, but hopefully you enjoy the ones I was able to get.