Africa Day 10

Hi Everyone

Tomorrow I will finally have internet for two days. Do I care? The answer is NO. In fact I am not looking forward to seeing all the unread emails I have received. Why bother? I feel like deleting all of them without even looking at them. Life will still go on.  Am leaving the Sable Alley Camp and Botswana for Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side, but that’s for tomorrow.

Of course, we all met at 5:45 for a quick breakfast and off we went. Last nights blog started off with that there were two lions roaming around Camp. Our guides decided to try and find them this morning. We drove and bounced over mounds and vegetation. The guides kept on stopping and getting out to look at the tracks. We must have drove around until about 7:30 and then we hit pay dirt. The lions were coming towards us, but there were not two lions, but a whole “Pride”. A Pride is the terminology for a group of lions. There were two males, two females and four six to seven month old cubs. There was one male cub and three females. The cubs followed their Moms and the males lagged behind. Lions hunt all night since it is easier to catch prey at night. During the day they are lazy and will sleep most of the day. Don’t forget, the females do all the hunting while the males wait to be served. In the winter here, there are tall grass meadows and the lions like to sleep in them. During the summer, they will group around a tall tree with a shaded area. The light at around 8 to 9 o’clock makes the tall grass look golden as the sun rises to heat the area. The lions roamed into a meadow with tall grass and one of the males walked up to a termite mound to guard and watch over the whole area. The other male went into the tall grass. The females and cubs found a spot in the tall grass to sleep and cuddle up together. We first drove up to the male sitting on the mound observing his world. The light was perfect as I clicked away. He was guarding all that was important to him. I couldn’t believe some of the shots. It was then onto the next male laying in the tall grass with his head up. What a shot. The golden grass was almost a match for the lions colors. We then found the females and cubs. One of the perfect photography opportunities. I could not stop clicking. The cubs started to move around and that created some more images. Finally the four cubs wandered over to the male in the tall grass. It seemed that they wanted to play with him. He did not want to be bothered and started to swat them away. The cubs then wandered to another area with the females following them. I could not believe my eyes as these cubs just sat and looked at us with their Moms in the background. A scene that will be etched in my memory for a long time. After about a thousand pictures of these beautiful creatures, we decided to leave. We stopped near a large pond full of hippos to have our morning tea and coffee. It was then around 11 and time to go looking for more.

Next on the agenda were four giraffes. They were running across the plain. What a sight. My fingers are starting to hurt.

At about noon, we decided to get lunch. We turned a bend and see Andy waving for us to stop. The Camp had set up a long table and chairs and brought our lunch out to us to serve us a bush lunch. One of my favorite foods was served. Home made pork ribs and fresh vegetables. How can I ask for anything more? A perfect morning of photography taking pictures of probably the most beautiful animals in the Delta and then one of my favorites for lunch. The beauty of Africa was shining through.

We then got back to the Camp at around 1 o’clock. The five people who did not go to the elephant dugout yesterday left. The remaining four of us remained behind with Andy. He wanted to see three images from each of us starting at 2 o’clock. I picked out one elephant, one hyena and one lion. He was very impressed. The lion and elephant images and light was so perfect that it is hard to do much editing. As I previously wrote, I very much enjoy these critiques and constantly learn from each of them.

At 3:30 we left for a ride on a Mokoro. What is a Mokoro? A Mokoro is a long shallow dug out log that locals use a long pole with to go around the shallow ponds and rivers that flow through the Delta. Myself and Kim got into one with our driver and away we went. It was important to do this while the hippos were in the deeper water since you do not want to run into a hippo in a Mokoro. Don’t forget hippos get out of the water in the evening to graze. We went through tall grasses and lots of water lilies. The guide told us that the locals eat the roots of the water lilies after cooking them for seven hours. He also told us that people used to use the tall grass for the roofs of their homes. We were at eye level with the tall grasses and water lilies. As we were going through the tall grass, the guide pointed out a small creature on one of the stalks. A tiny white frog was glued to the stalk. One ion natures beauties that we would have missed except for the guides keen eyes.

It was finally back to the Camp for dinner. Will and Mike are leaving the group tomorrow. I have learned so much just being around Will and talking to him. A true gentleman and very patient teacher.

Finally Victoria Falls tomorrow and civilization. Victoria Falls is a tourist destination. I am not sure how long I can last there without missing the Bush and its magical beauty.


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