We are back in the “Bush” I am becoming more convinced that if you want to see the beauty and magnificence of Africa you need to live in a Bush Camp.
How did the day start and where are we now? After writing my blog, I was so tired that I just collapsed. Victoria Falls was nice to see and experience. Go there once and then get back into the Bush. The way I saw the Falls was the way everyone should see it. Go on a microliter first, then on a helicopter ride just to take pictures and finally a walk close to the Falls to experience its power and strength.
We woke up at 6 AM for breakfast at 6:30. Checked out and then it was onto the Victoria Falls International Airport. When we arrived we were the only ones there. Who cares. We were getting on a ten passenger Bush plane. No security and paper work. Just throw your stuff in the back and take off. The only way to travel. Our flight was about forty five minutes long and under the clouds. We finally touched down on a dirt runway. No terminal or any of the inconveniences of a civilized airport. You just walk out and your there. We were in Hwange Wilderness National Park. Hwange is located in Zimbabwe. No more passports and visas. Let’s talk a little about Zimbabwe. There is a new President after forty years living under a horrible dictator. There was an attempt to assassinate the new President yesterday. A bomb went off where he was giving a speech. The attempt failed. One local told me that the nickname for the new President is “The Crocodile”. Wonder what he is like? Hwange Wilderness is the setting for lots of wildlife. Elephants are the specialty. We are on the hunt for cheetah. I hope we get some.
We arrived at a Bush Camp named “Little Makalolo Camp”. The Camp has room for only fourteen guests There is a watering hole in the front where you can see elephants drinking. All shapes and sizes including babies. There is a hide or dugout set up for us to crawl in a click away. My hut is very nice. My own bathroom, shower and large bed. Of course, no TV, internet, telephone or any of the so called modern connections to the outside world. As I have previously said, I am now convinced that the only way to get the beauty of Africa in your blood, is to spend as many days as you can in the Bush. At night we will be escorted back to our huts and picked up in the morning. Lots of wildlife roaming around. The manager said she was charged by an elephant yesterday in Camp.
We are now three less people. Will, Alan and Mike have departed. It’s Andy and four women and two men in the Bush. Priceless.
After a great barbecue lunch and lots of coffee, Andy did a critique on five images I took at Victoria Falls. Love these one on ones and always get something out of them.
At 3 we all met for afternoon tea and coffee and then got in our vehicles for the afternoon drive. We first went to the watering hole just outside the Camp to shoot a large herd of elephants. The elephants seemed very happy and content. There were lots of babies. One sign that they are happy and content. We watched them roam and go from one watering hole to another. The head male elephant or the bull finally arrived. He did not like our presence much. He charged the other vehicle and was coming towards ours. Our driver quickly put us in gear and we backed out. The driver told us it is best to stand your ground. I don’t know how you can when a huge elephant is charging at you. We finally took off and saw a large herd of African buffalo. They were just grazing across a plain We just stared in awe at the spectacle of this. They finally wandered over to a large pond. In the pond was a large female hippo and her baby. The baby kept on coming out of the water to play with the buffalo as the mother watched the babies every move. We then ran into another large herd of elephants. The animals here appear to be quite numerous and large herds of them seem the norm. These elephants were much more playful. One of them got close to our vehicle and started to throw dirt at us. He then rolled over like a dog and almost put his four huge feet up in the air. The activity that was going on was quite a sight to see. As the sun was setting, we found a spot to take the sun setting behind a huge tree. I have very rarely seen sunrises and sunsets like here in the Bush. No light pollution and the skies in their natural beauty.
It was then time for our sunset drink. Every conceivable drink is always served and it is a great way to end the day. Both vehicles pulled over as a herd of elephants walked by us.
Dinner was special. We had duck and it was the best duck I ever had. We all then sat around a campfire talking away. The wood they use is teakwood. Teakwood seems to burn longer and the warmth and glow is quite spectacular. Teakwood is not cut down, but the elephants always pull down lots of teakwood as they forage.
I was escorted to my hut by a staff worker who was carrying a shot gun. He said he just saw a hyena near my hut. Tomorrow morning we leave at 6:15 for our morning drive.
Africa has gotten into my soul. The serenity, calmness, stillness and beauty of the Bush is tranquilizing. You loose track of everything outside and appear to be engulfed in a world that is far away from everything. How I will cope with the reality of being back is for another day.