This is it. It’s all over except for one final short game drive tomorrow morning and then three flights home. First let’s go through today and then my recap.
Of course our day started before dawn. Was escorted from my hut at 5:30 and sat around the campfire drinking good African coffee. We were broken up into two groups. One group was going on a normal game drive and the other group was visiting a local village after the game drive. Of course, I went with the group that was to visit a local village.
The morning game drive was nothing spectacular. Just your normal dull hordes of baboons, elephants, zebras etc. I remember at the start of the trip, in Camp Kalahari, when we were greeted by George the local elephant. We were all so excited by one elephant. How times have changed.
After our morning tea and coffee in the Bush, my group drove to a village named “Ngamo”. The village was outside the Park. As we neared the village, we started to see thatched huts and people. The first visit was to the local school. Children greeted us with songs and dancing. How happy they seemed. Like in Cambodia, they loved their picture being taken. Many of them got real thrills over Andy showing the pictures of the animals he has seen around the world. They particularly loved seeing his pictures of walruses. We then went inside the classrooms to visit other grades. I particularly liked taking pictures of the kindergartens students. They were so cute. Some of them told us that they walk to school over five miles each way. The parents have to pay the yearly tuition for their child. Guess how much tuition costs per year per student? Would you believe $30 per student per year? Next time you go out to eat think of that. How lucky we are.
We finally left the school and then went to visit the head of the village. He was a man who was probably in his sixties. His wife came into also. We met him in a thatched hut. The walls of the thatched hut were made from termite mounds. The chief or mayor told us that this was his only wife. Most people today in Zimbabwe only have one wife since it is too expensive to have more. He told us each wife comes with a dowery. His wife’s dowery was six heads of cattle. Both he and his wife showed us around the village. The communal kitchen was very basic. Their living quarters seemed comfortable. He told us that he did not sleep in a bed for many years. It was then time to show us some hand made items that we could buy if we liked. Of course I bought some hand made items. What else could I do? I have been to other villages, particularly in Southeast Asia, where I did the same thing.
We then left and drove for about thirty minutes to have lunch that was packed for us by the Camp. Got back to the Camp a little after two for a quick shower and shave.
We met at three for our afternoon tea and coffee and then it was off for our final afternoon game drive. Our guides are determined to find us a Cheetah. No luck. We only found beautiful elephants, zebras, giraffes and two magnificent male lions. Hope we see the cheetah tomorrow morning.
Let’s now summarize this trip. How can I describe what I have done and seen? From the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, the local San people, meerkats and learning about their structured existence, to riding over the Makgadikgadi Pan on quad cycles, to camping out for two nights and three days in the Island of the Baobabs, to sleeping on the ground with the sky as my roof, to taking a Bush shower, flying in small Bush planes, spending five days in the Okavango Delta, seeIng lions with their cubs, seeing the beauty of wild dogs in their environment, watching a pack of hyenas eat a dead zebra, witnessing amazing sunrises and sunsets, to microliter over Victoria Falls, to taking pictures from a helicopter over Victoria Falls, to seeing the magnificent animals in Hwange Zimbabwe. I could go on and on. In my first blog I told everyone that a wanted to see if I could find the beauty of Africa. I most certainly did. It was more than the beauty of Africa I found. I found a serenity and peace that was so beautiful. The African Bush is a special place. You are cutoff from the rest of the world and gradually melt into the fiber and life of nature. The sounds at night are magical. You hear elephants, lions, the howling of wild dogs and hippos. Your soul and spirit become at peace with nature and your accept where you are. Africa has gotten into my soul and spirit like Cambodia has but in a different way. I know that there will come a time in the future when my soul and spirit start to yearn for the peace and serenity that I have found here. I will then have to return to the African Bush. I have tried to describe a very magical place, but the only way to experience something is to do it for yourself.
Where is the next adventure and when will it start? On September 5th I am flying to a town named “Yellow Knife”. I suspect Yellow Knife is similar to White Horse. Two Decembers ago I was in White Horse. White Horse is the capital of the Yukon. It was minus 20 in White Horse. The following day, ten of us traveled to a lodge to do dog sledding and snow mobile for eight days. The temperature got as low as minus 40 and daylight was only from 10 AM till 4 PM. Enough on that crazy adventure. Yellow Knife is the capital of the Northwest Territories in upper Canada. I am meeting ten other crazy photographers there and the following morning flying by “Bush” plane to a lodge further north. We are spending nine days taking pictures of the caribou migration across the tundra, the fall colors, maybe bears and the northern lights and aurora. A helicopter will be deployed for some of the photography. The caribou migration is the last great migration in North America.
To the next time