Arrival at Goliath Camp, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

The last morning of our canoe camping trip with Naturways Safaris we wake up at our leisure.

Nice breakfast with potatoes, bacon and sausage, scrambled eggs and toast.

We leave at 8 a.m. for the drive to the Goliath camp, our last safari stop. It’s a quiet drive through the bush without much game. We stop to chat with a couple of groups along the way, the local wild dog photographer and the group of tourists that was on the plane with us three days earlier.

Tourist Stop

We make one tourist stop at a location where the locals used to dwell above the flood plains. Remaining pottery shards are evidence of their inhabitation.

The star attraction is climbing inside a large baobab tree that is completely hollowed out.

As we approach the main office there’s more game about, such as elephants picking up the acacia pods.

Craig and Elijah drop us off at Goliath camp where we say our final good byes. Took about 2 and half hours drive with stops.

Arriving Goliath Camp

Arriving at Goliath just after 10AM, we were offered the opportunity to go a game drive, but we decided to hang out and sort our belongings after three days of camping.

Lunch was served at 1:30PM followed by siesta until 3:30. Tea was then served before the afternoon drive.

Afternoon Drive

For the afternoon drive we were 7 guests divided into two vehicles, us and two Australian women in one with Stretch and Paul as our guides, and a single Australian women and an America couple with Jean in the other.

We leave shortly after 4. Stretch first decides we will go find the wild dogs with the 9 pups but then changes his mind after realizing that the new comers have not yet seen the lion cubs.

We drive a short distance to where two female lions have a couple of cubs in the thick vegetation. We get a quick glimpse of one of the adults before making our way single file into the dense bush. As we approach she growls. Stretch assures us it’s alright and has us get down. We can’t see them through the vegetation.

Not happy at all about our presence, her growls become a fearsome roar. At this point Stretch has his back to where the lions are all the while telling us to continue looking straight ahead. She continues to fuss and growl and Stretch decides the situation has become too dicey and has us slowly stand up and start backing away.

Once we’re out of danger we go back to the vehicle and stop again to watch the elephants before heading off to find the dogs.

We park the vehicle and head off on foot. Not finding much, Stretch has the two guides head in opposite directions.

Jean finds the dogs in short order, adults with the pups just starting the evening hunt. Not as playful or as close as we have seen them at other times.

We follow them, adults up ahead with the pups lagging behind, easily distracted by a stick to chew on or something good to sniff.

It starts to grow dark. The dogs see a small herd of impalas in front and start the chase. It’s too far and too densely wooded to see much. The dogs have spread out. Impalas are running and the puppies are behind watching. We head back to the vehicle.

One last stop before camp. Stretch runs across an elephant he knows and brings Dana the American newlywed up close to introduce him. The elephant flaps his ears and does a mock charge. Dana is thrilled. It all happens so quickly. No time for good photos. We arrive at camp around 6:30 with just 45 minutes to clean up  before dinner.

September 6, 2016

For links to all the posts in this series see the Botswana/Zimbabwe page.