OK so I wasn’t quite barefoot, but we did opt to camp so we were sort of roughing it (with a cook and a driver – so… not that rough!). I figured this would probably be my last safari for quite a while as I am now growing daily, so when the opportunity came up for me and two girlfriends to spend a couple of nights in the bush, I was in, with both feet – bare or otherwise.
We were lucky enough to see plenty of big cat activity,
though often from quite long distances. Only the lions ventured close (really close it turned out, but I’ll tell you about that in a minute!). I’ll let the pictures do the talking for the most part – just click on any image you’d like to see bigger.
It seemed everyone was having babies. The lions, the elephants…
There were plenty of crocs and hippos gathered in tight clusters as the rivers and various pools were almost dried out
Several were clearly dead, a common scene at this time of year.
And all sorts of other wildlife:
We stopped at a rickety old Indian Jones bridge and stretched our legs:
Found plenty of buffalo, though very few wildebeest as most have migrated North for the dry season.
And we found a very cool camp site right at the centre of everything. In fact, there was almost a little too much action. Check out the elephant joining us for breakfast!
But to be honest, the main action was actually not visual, it was all communicated in sound… As it grew dark, the camp site came alive.
On our first evening, just as we had finished dinner there was a very calm but sudden gathering of people. It seems to lionesses had chased and killed an impala amongst our tents! On looking up and realising where they’d ended up they scarpered, leaving the kill! The guides were quick to respond, not wanting to risk a midnight return so they took the carcass out to the carpark and calm returned. Until I awoke for my standard 1am pee (it’s 11, 1, 3 and 6 these days!)… at my 10 o’clock were hyenas whooping. They sounded close but not too close. It wasn’t until the rolling throaty roars of the lions went up in response that I realised this was not a great time for a toilet stop. The pride had clearly gathered and they were only a few metres out of the camp site! I ran… tripped on a guy rope, managed to stay upright and giggled as I heard the inhabitants of the unfortunate tent awake to lion roars – “shit, did you hear that!” Oops!
The second night was no better. Again as we were finishing dinner we were told – walk in groups, use your torches, there is a herd of elephants approaching camp! Hmmm. No problem until we were returning from the bathroom block. I stood in the centre of the camp waiting for the other two to catch up and suddenly the trumpeting sound of a very large elephant pierced the night and shook the ground. I’m glad it was dark my face must have been a picture!
That same night, again around 1pm I wake to a full bladder and consider heading out into the cold, but I can hear grass being torn and this time it is right outside our tent! My first thought is elephant. It would make sense and it’s definitely something big. But it could also be buffalo. I weighed my options, popped my head out, straining to see in the darkness, but even though the sound was very close I couldn’t see a thing. Again, I ran!
The following morning, clear hoof prints provide the evidence – a buffalo. A lone one. Never a good thing. Phew.
Another fantastic adventure. Thanks to Sue and Tara my fellow last-minute planners! And thanks to Masumin tours for making it happen at two days’ notice!