Toka Leya, Zambia

Our first camp was Toka Leya in Zambia, near Livingston and Victoria Falls. The lodge is on the shore of the Zambezi river, and wildlife wanders freely through camp. The electric fence in the photo below is to keep elephants out. Elephants like to push trees over to eat the leaves, so not good to have them in a camp built on stilts.

Toka Leya Lodge

We arrived a day early for our tour to allow for travel delays. Our first afternoon, we went on a game drive with James, a local naturalist and guide who shared his deep knowledge of flora, fauna, and geography.

Warthogs forage by dropping down on bent ankles to get maximum leverage to dig up plants and insects. It looks like they are kneeling, but they actually rest on their ankles.

Warthogs, one ankling

The puku is one of many species of antelope in Africa. We saw just a few of them and only while at the Toka Leya camp.

Puku grazing
Grivet monkey
Baboon family

On the way from the airport to camp, the shuttle driver pointed out impalas and called them "African Big Macs" because they are common prey and have large M's on their backsides.


The monitor lizards have amazing long, blue tongues. Click on the photo to see a larger version.

Monitor lizard

Zambezi River Cruise

The next morning, we met up with Ona. We were fortunate to have both Ona and James along for the remaining outings from Toka Leya. It was great to have two experts with sharp eyes finding interesting things and telling us about them, starting with an afternoon cruise on the Zambezi river.

Tom on the Zambezi River cruise

Crocodiles are serious predators. Some safaris offer river tours in canoes. No, thank you. Seeing this bruiser just confirmed it's good to have some elevation above the river and an engine to move along.


African jacanas are beautiful and have large feet to walk on plants and in shallow water in marsh and shore areas. It was a fun challenge to capture a photo of one with a foot out of the water.

African jacana

These Egyptian geese made a cute heart shape facing each other. They should have Instagram accounts.

Egyptian geese
African skimmer
Red-billed teal

The African openbill stork spends a lot of time head down in the water, rooting around to pluck out snails.

African openbill stork
Egret and ibis

One the way back, we stopped for snacks and the sunset view.

Cathy on the Zambezi River cruise at sunset


This group of white rhinos has an armed protection team. We stood just feet away as they moved along completely focused on mowing the grass.


Next Up: Victoria Falls & Chobe River

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