Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Two nights in Croc Valley


Croc Valley camp is called Croc Valley for good reason: located on the banks of the Luangwa River you can literally sit in a hammock, look out over the river and watch as the water spontaneously erupts into a thrashing of tails and teeth.

We were the only people staying at this luxurious camp (you can always tell a luxurious camp because the prices on the menu are quoted in USDs) so it was a fantastic opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the national park that surrounded it. We were here for two nights so we had a whole day to wallow in the pool (deliberately shallow in case animals ever fall in), relax in hammocks and just sit and listen to the sounds of nature.

Every now and then the trumpeting of elephants nearby would drown out conversation; at night hippos brushed by our tents and hyenas cackled in the distance.

Sun rise here was spectacular. I woke up at 4.30am as the sun began to rise and watched as the sky became awash with rich oranges and reds. Captured on camera, the reflection of the sunrise in the river suggested the presence of two red suns.

As the sun rose, the national park came to life: vervet monkeys and olive baboons that frequented the camp awoke from slumber and began to clamber around the trees (or in the camp kitchen!) in search for food chattering as they went; birds burst into song, hippos grunted and guffawed and thirsty antelope came down to the river’s edge to drink.

Sitting there on a wooden bench overlooking the river contemplating U.L.E (universe, life, everything) I realized that I felt utterly stress free. Despite being homeless, jobless and pretty much penniless, I’m probably the happiest I’ve been in five years (Mike being the only missing element at the moment). London has its benefits but only when you give up everything and escape the rat race do you realize that it takes far more away from you than it gives. You can have everything and yet, at the same time, nothing at all: you just get stuck in a perpetual circle of making money, spending money, working late and stress with little perspective of what life really ought to be about
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