It’s Monday 17th July 2006 and Hannah Hits Nkwali

It’s Monday 17th July 2006 and Hannah Hits Nkwali

Route 05If someone had told me what was in store for me in my first week in Africa, I wouldn’t have believed them, or have stepped onto the aeroplane, in fact. Before I knew it, I was heading up the 05 towards Mupamadzi – five hours of dust, bumps, and tsetse flies got me thinking I had totally lost the plot – and although I have lots of travel experience all over the world,  I had no experience of the African bush and here I was surrounded by people I didn’t know heading into the truly unknown.

The first time we packed up to move camp I was sure it would never happen in time, but after a valuable lesson in teamwork from the guys, it was all done with time to spare to watch a herd of buffalo cross the river with a few crocs around waiting in the shallows should anything fall their way…

Crew and truckcrossing the Mupamadzi

That first day felt like a hundred years ago and now I am used to moving house every other day, sitting atop the Samil 50 truck dodging tree branches, running low on supplies and having to “make a plan”, falling asleep with all sorts of noises (not to mention a rather persistent elephant shrew resident at Camp Two), and waking up to see footprints of large beasties just metres away from our tents.

Lioness footprintsI headed out one afternoon last week on one of the walks, shortly to find ourselves some twenty metres away from a lioness snoozing in the sun. With my heart in my mouth we stood and waited for her to wake, and as she did, she saw us through hazy eyes and slunk off into the cover of long grass. That, Chris said, was the closest I’ll ever get to a lion this season. I had hoped he was right, but it seems that a perfect last day a week later at Camp Four had something else in store.

We had swam in the cool river water, taken sundowners on the long sandy bank, watched the full moon rise by the camp fire, and when the guests had retired to their beds, Robin and I had a last drink and talked quietly of the weeks events. But we weren’t alone for long – as I looked over my shoulder maybe ten metres away, a male lion looked straight back at me. He quickly abandoned any ideas of a night-time stroll down the riverbank and retreated into the darkness just as we abandoned our drinks and walked slowly back to our tents.

Any hopes that I would remain calm in a situation such as this were swiftly replaced by outbursts of giggles…this was crazy. I still have a lot to learn about life up here, I thought as I fell asleep, but I couldn’t wait to wake up to another glorious day at Mupamadzi.

tree bark shapesthe river

Bye for now

Mother and baby elephantThanks Hannah – back to the bushes soon. Here is a lovely pic that Simon took last week when he was here but I did not have space to included. Hope you are all having a great week.

Stay well

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