It’s Monday 31st October 2011 and a day at Robin’s House

Georgie, the caterer at Robins House has had quite an eventful time. Let’s hear all about it…

“Earlier than usual and the rains have set in and it’s touch and go as to whether Bush Lunch will take place. But we are all guns blazing and decide that, if the skies are going to open, it will be an adventure and at least this will be a meal our guests won’t forget in a hurry! Vehicles here, there and everywhere, I’m handed the white Landrover – set for a makeover on this muddy drive. Plans for our location change though, as we see that Wamilombe (our original spot) is more than a little mud ridden and less than suitable to accommodate elegant safari wear and sensible shoes…On a day like this, I wish we had our wellies! However, with no radio to get in touch, we must hope that our guide has realised our change of plans. (silly of me to worry though as nothing escapes our guide Kanga Chepi!)

As we wait for our guests to arrive, Benson surveys the area. I know of no one with a better eye for the bush and he always discovers something exciting to wonder at as we wait. This time it’s lion tracks, ones that evidently were caught in the torrential rain of the night before – one perfect print, then another one that has slipped and regained it’s balance further on. Then, closer to the bank what looks like the remains of a scuffle with a hippo – this time it looks like he was lucky…

Lion TrackLion Track

The guests arrive and we have a wonderful lunch, chatting away and exchanging stories – crocodiles in Burkina Faso (Are they really used to human nature and able to live alongside the people of their area? It can’t be true! Perhaps it’s witchcraft…the debate goes on..) And other such talk of all things weird and wonderful and places around the world that we’ve been and still long to go… So many places, so little time! Quite extraordinarily for October, we don’t finish until midday. Normally we’d be packed and away by eleven to escape the brutal heat of the October sun but fortunately we are enjoying a very welcome breeze.

Kanga and the guests set off in one direction and we in the other. Again I see that Benson has spotted something. “Is it an elephant?” I ask, looking at what I quickly realise is a tree stump.. Oh no, that’s no elephant. It’s three lions, one of which is a beautiful male with a mane that’s second to none. We slowly drive closer, lucky at this hour that we are the only ones there. They are peaceful and content, enjoying the weather that can otherwise be so harsh at this time. We then see one, two…no three more lions. They are regal, dangerous, calm and intense all the same time and this is a wonderful sight.

Male LionBlue Tree Agama

On our way back to Robin’s House, when I thought it couldn’t get much better, I drive past something that catches the corner of my eye. Obviously I can’t resist the urge to reverse and see what it was, so I do. The biggest lizard I have ever seen and with colours most magnificent! It looks dead but I get out to have a look, I simply had to take some pictures! Benson and Loufeyo tell me not to get too close though, it’s highly poisonous! So, when I see it breathing it makes me leap back in terror, especially when I see it’s ferocious teeth! However, it doesn’t take long for me to realise that I’m being teased (story of my life) and this Blue Tree Agama isn’t in the least bit harmful. Kanga then explains that its look of death” is what he thinks is known as ‘Shaming,’ a defence mechanism used by many animals, such as cobras, to feign death and avoid hassle from predators. Nevertheless, he looks content enough, showing off his bright colours and basking in the midday sun, which has finally come out. In the middle of the road perhaps not such a good idea but then again, he’s hard to miss!

Getting ready to head backThe scout keeping a watchful eye at all times

In the afternoon, my guests kindly asked me if I’d like to join them on a drive. A treat every time, of course I accepted. Not far from Robin’s House we saw some giraffe and birds of all kinds. Baboons behaving in the hilarious way they always do but it is clear to see how loving and protective they are of their young. We then crossed the river, through the water now as the river is so low that we’ve no need for the pontoon. Kanga, needless to say, drove though immaculately (us caterers are normally met with cheers as we complete the drive through, an achievement every time it would seem – Oh, all ye of little faith!).

No sooner had we made the other side did we see a whole herd of elephant on the river bank. They certainly put on a show as they wandered on down, their legs bending down the steep river steps, in a way reminiscent of a contortionist. Some then started lying down, as if the trial of the journey from land to water is all too much! Strange behaviour but interesting as the elephants of South Luangwa are said to lie down to sleep far more than any others on the continent. As they were all down, the Matriach then showed herself, as if making her grand appearance. Cool, calm and collected, she walked far beyond the point of entry of the rest, and with all the elegance you can imagine from an elephant, she walked down a far easier path – if only they’d listened to Mum! More funny larking around, walking backwards and littl’uns wrapping trunks round the tail ahead or otherwise not knowing what to do with it, the males then entered from the opposite side. Meeting at the middle and evenly spaced out, they formed what seemed like a dam of elephants, in all their glory, looking an awe inspiring sight.

ElesHerd of Eles

After sundowners with a sky of clouds and silver linings, the spotlight went on and we headed back to camp. A couple more lions and a buffalo carcass that had fed, it seemed, almost every carnivore in the area.. Not always the most happy of sights but as we learn, it is the circle of life. Hippos, bush buck and a genet so much more. Another enchanting day in the bush. “

Thanks Georgie for sharing this with us.

Well that’s it from me! Catch up with you next Monday

Hope that you all have a lovely week
Emily

Elephant

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