Friday, October 24, 2008
Hello Bloggettes. The Lower Zambezi is known for many things: tiger fishing, elephants, hippos, crocs, monitor lizards, arts and crafts, beautiful sunsets and the original home of canoe safaris. We were out to experience all of them.
We started out our day at 5:30 am for coffee and tea which was brought to our veranda of our chalet. The verandas overlook the river and provide a personal view of the morning sunrise over the Zambezi River. As the red rubber ball slowly rose over the horizon, I could hear hippos calling back and forth, elephants splashing in the river, and the king of beasts roaring off in the distance. Each chalet is very private and set up to make you feel like your are the only ones for miles. As we sipped our coffee, we could here some stirring and scuffling down the trail. As the sound got closer three little faces appeared. It was the kids making their way up from their chalet. Arguing, pushing and name calling. Our brief moment of peace and serenity vanished. For today was to become another day of high activity and more risk taking. It was also Trevor's 9th birthday.
The plan for the morning was that Rianne, Deryn and I would head over to Kanyemba Island for a morning walking safari. Trevor, because of his age, was unable to go on the walking safari. (even though if push came to shove he can probably out run all of us). I could tell he was disappointed but he bucked up and he and Beth climbed back into bed to get a little more shut eye.
As the girls and I boated over to the island we came across some noisy hippos who seemed to be protesting our early arrival. As we neared the bank of the island, two crocs (at least 8ft each) scurried partially into the water. Undeterred, our guide, Ricardo, docked the boat on a sand bank and treated the crocs as though they were a couple of stray dogs waving his arm and saying "get out of here ya bums." Reacting to Ricado's hospitality, the crocs slithered into the Zambezi without making a sound.
Ricardo, began the safari by giving us the dos and don'ts (no sudden moves and absolutely no screaming) and making sure his .375 magnum rifle was ready for operation. I asked him if he ever had to use it. He said not today he hasn't. Feeling fully reassured, I gave the thumbs up to the girls and off we went. We walked for about an hour without seeing any animals. During that time Ricardo filled us in on the local flora and fauna. Then, without hardly a sound, two elephants were right in front of us about 50 yards away. They turned to look at us and took off in the other direction. We continued down the path and happened upon a herd of ten. They too were very close (within 30 yards). They looked at us, postured around a little bit, let us take some pictures of them and then disappeared into the bush single file. For the next two hours we came upon numerous elephants. We discovered that the male adolescent males are the most annoying as they will "mock charge" you as kind of a game to try and scare you.(It works!) Taking about four steps toward you, spreading their ears and trumpeting. Ricardo said, "just think of it as a nineteen year old male at a pub who is trying to impress the ladies. As long as you don't challenge him, he won't have to embarrass himself."
When we returned to the lodge, Trevor and Beth were waiting for us with breakfast on the way. English breakfast, two eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and grilled tomato. Ah!! Life is good!