This morning we rose at 05:00 to be ready for the game drive which departs at 06:00!
Apparently there were hyenas around the camp last night which everybody heard except for Ian and myself.
Unfortunately, despite locating the puncture in my thermarest by immersing it in the swimming pool yesterday, the repair I performed last night failed to eradicate the problem and so for the third night I awoke flat on the floor deflated.
The game drive was a little disappointing. We saw some puku antelope, cudu antelope, impala, a few buffalo, blue waxbills, waterbuck, some zebras and elephant, one of which charged after our vehicle blowing through his trunk as we drove right past him while he was resting. We clearly disturbed his sleep! We saw some giraffe too which were the best sight of the day. Everywhere was very quiet and animal free. We were deperately hoping for leopard and lions but they didn't want to put in an appearance today.
After a fantastic brunch late morning we made for the tiny swimming pool at Wildlife Camp. The boys were clearly attractive to the younger folk as they were plagued by four small children. Ian immediately became the centre of attention and their taxi around the pool!
Having decided to give the South Lwangwe National Park another chance to present lots of leopards and lions to us, we set off for a night drive. South Lwangwe supposedly has the highest percentage chance of sighting such life, 70% chance during a night drive, so it was considered worthwhile splashing out USD 40 on the trip. This was also our only opportunity to participate in a night drive during this African adventure.
Within the first hour we had seen as much as we had during the morning drive: elephant; puku antelope; kudu antelope; crested crane; lilac breasted roller; fish eagle; buffalo; impala; mongoose and zebra. Heiko Small, as he was now known, declared 'zebra crossing' as he saw the zebra crossing in front of the vehicle... It got a laugh out of me. Then we got lucky and our driver miraculously spotted a female lion laying down in the grass beyond trees and bushes some 40 metres or so away. None of us could see her until we were 10 metres away from her and she swished her tail at flies. She was wonderful, almost playful as she rolled around in the grass to rid herself of irritating flies. After watching her for a while she stood up and ran to a nearby tree directly in front of us and climbed into it. We moved on and later on heard that the other vehicle spotted the same lion still in the same tree.
Darkness came and out came the searchlight. The first animal located was and owl. Magnificent but no lion. A few hippopotami were seen out of the water, bumbling along, some eating, white tailed mongoose, honey badgers, rabbits, genate, zebras and buffalo, but no lion nor leopard. We were pretty disappointed by that although we hadn't pinned our hopes on seeing them as they are rather elusive.
It turns out that the honey badgers are a rather rare sight in themselves so that was a bonus.
Copyright 2002 Helen Fuller. All rights reserved.