Breakfast is served at 6 a.m. – no wakeup call.
Selection of toast, jam and porridge. Coffee, tea with powdered milk.
We leave around 6:40 or so. Paul has left and Stretch drives our vehicle. The agenda is lions. We search the morning, following tracks.
Stretch stops now and again to point out nice light in the forest or an interesting animal but the main focus is lions.
We drive quite a ways before we get out and search on foot. The temperature is rising. No luck with the lions. Stretch is convinced they have gone in the long grass and he assures us that we don’t want to go in there.
Finally around 10:30 we stop for tea. While we rest Stretch continues to wander the area reading the tracks. After tea we continue the search. The sun is high, very few stops and no lions. A long drive back to camp.
Just as we near camp one of the staff runs across a clearing and informs Stretch that there are lions just beyond where some baboons are crossing into the shade.
They are quite far, maybe 4 adults, just specks under a tree on the horizon. We leave them and head in for lunch.
Lunch – Shortly After 1PM
After lunch an elephant wanders along the shore just below the lounge, totally relaxed, washing and eating the greenery at the edge of the river.
3:30 tea – The elephant is back. We watch him tear down branches from the tree into the water. He then climbs the bank and wanders through camp, finally squeezing past the vehicles and a big tree. He then feeds on another high branch, ripping it down. Elephants are one of the most destructive animals in Africa.
On the afternoon drive our first stop is a photo-op with an elephant. A little scary with your back to this gigantic beast.
We head out to see the hippos at Long Pool. When we arrive a large pod of hippos is hanging in the pool. Stretch has us sit on the hard craggy mud at the bank and wait for the light to get low and the hippos to become active.
One moves, knocking into the others, they fuss a little and then settle down again. A few good yawns. A baby perches himself on his mother. They never really get as active as Stretch was hoping, but it thrilled the rest of us.
As the light gets low we have a quick sundowner before heading back. Stretch drives the long ride back to camp, practically in the dark now, with the light off.
September 7, 2016
For links to all the posts in this series see the Botswana/Zimbabwe page.