South Luangwa: Seasonal hotspot June

You don t have to go far this month; well, that is when you’re in South Luangwa National Park. Just a few hundred meters following the main road and you’ll discover a lush and beautiful green carpet of floating vegetation. This bright green combination of texture and color is easy on the eye, and transforms the ordinary into magical….

Immediately impressive is the size of the carpet; the beautiful rosettes of the water hyacinth are able to double their mass in less than 2 weeks and they grow faster than our ‘natural mowers’ can clear it.

This tranquil place and the green carpet decor are home to the residents of Mfuwe Lagoon, who always announce their presence loud & clear.

Spending its days in the water and gently munching its way through the edible carpet, at night the hippo makes an average grazing roundtrip of 2 to 3,5 km, or about 1.2 km from the water depending on the season and the short fresh grass available.

With the dry season ahead of us and favorable foodstuffs scarce, hippos’ affinity for the water hyacinth is a convenient coincidence and so they munch away a few hundred pounds a day. And fortunately for them, this delectable dish grows so aggressively.

Typical Luangwa Valley: pictures of hippos’ eyes, photogenic in bright green and watching intruders intensely, or showing the dramatic shape of the head that stands out and represents the hippo’s characteristic appearance.

While snapping away, preferably use at least a 300mm lens as you don’t want to get too close to a hippo.

If you still want to capture this year’s green carpet performance you can do so until August, after that you’ll have to wait until it reappears the same time next year!