Just got escorted back to my hut by a staff member carrying a shot gun. There is a leopard roaming around Camp. We saw him as we came back. The real deal.
My day started before the crack of dawn. Woke up at 5:10 by my trusted iPhone and was escorted at 5:30 by a staff member with a shot gun to the campfire where the staff had set up coffee, tea and breakfast. Imagine sipping coffee and eating breakfast in front of a campfire in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe? So peaceful. The only sounds you heard were some hippos and elephants in the distance. At 6:15 we boarded our two vehicles for the morning drive into the Bush. What wonders will nature present to us today?
As the sun started to rise, the Bush started to warm up. Don’t forget it is winter here. The first sighting was a jackal in the high grass. Jackals are quite beautiful. We then saw a large tree with a family of baboons in the branches. Leopards will try to capture and eat baboons. Baboons will climb up trees at night. The young ones will go to the highest branches and the older ones will stay in the lower branches to try and protect the family from leopards. The only problem is leopards will climb trees as well. As the sun rose more, the baboons climbed down to warm themselves and start their search for food. Some of them climbed up another tree and I got some interesting pictures of them hanging from some branches. Our driver then received a walkie talkie call that some lion cubs were spotted. Off we went. When we got to the location, there were five or six cubs. They were very scared since there were no adults around protecting them. They ran off into the dense bush before we could get any pictures of them. Now the sun was really warming up. We then drove to a watering hole where there was a herd of African Buffalos drinking and what was one hippo in the water with its eyes and ears sticking out. A baby hippo then emerged from the water to play with the buffalos. While the baby played and grazed the mother was constantly watching it and swam to the pond area that the baby roamed to. Quite an interesting site. It was then onto seeing monkeys. Monkeys are much smaller than baboons when they are fully grown. When you arrive at a sighting you normally park for a while to watch and see what is happening. There are some beautiful birds that live here. I have become quite adept at bird photography. Took one picture of a bird in flight that Andy was jealous of. We then came across white pelicans. I had never seen so many pelicans. There were literally over one hundred of them. White pelicans are larger than the grey ones I have seen in the Caribbean. We finally stopped for tea and coffee overlooking the pelicans.
Lunch was a special treat. We were driven out to a remote area and served lunch in the Bush. The Camp had a permanent setup. There was what they call a BOMA. BOMA stands for “British Officers Mess Area” it is a small area that is surrounded by a crude looking fence of natural wood planks to keep the wildlife out. Inside was a small clay oven. The Camp chef was there. He was making chicken and Bush pizza for our lunch. The chicken was awesome. The pizza did not taste like pizza should taste. It was thin crusted without cheese. Just had different kinds of toppings on it. The British were the first people to colonize many of these countries in Africa. Some of their customs and traditions, such as afternoon tea, still survive.
It was then back to Camp for a quick hot shower and rest. We met up again at 3 o’clock for our afternoon tea and coffee. By this time, the sun was quite intense. Andy has been giving me electrolytes each day since I told him that the sun had gotten to me around a week ago. There is no humidity and you do not sweat, but the intensity of the sun sneaks up on you.
At 3:30 we left for our afternoon drive. The first wildlife we ran into was a large family of baboons. There was the head male baboon sitting on a termite mound observing and protecting his clan. There were many smaller and some infant baboons. The infants clung to the underbelly of their mothers. It was then onto a herd of Sable Antelope. The males have such large and beautiful horns. Andy said he had never seen a herd this large and he has been to Africa over fifteen times. It was now getting towards sunset and the temperature started to drop. The temperature drops very fast here once the sun starts to set. We found another large herd of elephants at a watering hole. The elephants are so beautiful here. There were a few infants. When the vehicles came up close, some of the larger elephants formed a tight knit group with the young ones at their feet. It was amazing how the larger ones did not crush or hurt the babies. Some of the babies were even nursing. I concentrated on taking some pictures of the babies surrounded by the large legs of the adults.
Sundown had finally arrived and we drove back to Camp for a great dinner. Barbecued beef and pork with vegetables. We then all sat around the campfire speaking about how we will all find it difficult to readjust as our adventure comes to an end.
Another boring day in the Bush.