Home Services Portfolio Proofs Blog

Sunday, May 18, 2014

African Adventure 2014 - Chapungu Camp Day 4

Much like the previous mornings, Chris woke us up around 5am. Unfortunately, we did not sleep as well as the previous nights. The wind howled and caused the tent walls to shudder. At around 3 or 4am, Ben thought he heard an animal rustling in the brush outside the tent, but he opted not to go out to investigate further.

After a quick shower, we joined the rest of our group for tea and coffee before the start of our game drive. Unlike the previous few days, it was very windy and overcast. Game viewing was extremely limited. First, we found a family of giraffe then some zebra. All of the animals were very skittish because of the wind, which reduced their sense of smell. Next, we found a herd of buffalo relaxing by the side of the road. They allowed us to get very close, watching them chew their cud and the red-billed oxpeckers dance around eating bugs.

All of a sudden, after leaving the buffalo, we were caught in a zebra traffic jam. Gerhard heard rumors of drizzle over the radio and suggested we don the ponchos. It was a good thing we did. Not only did the ponchos provide protection from the rain, but they aided in warmth retention, as we zip around in the brisk wind. During this time, we had a dry spell with the animals also seeking refuge. We could only find the occasional bird, such as the African Cape Vulture. Even they were hunkered down as best they could on the tops of some dead trees.

The drizzle continued to pick up as we came to the first dam, hoping to spot some hippos. Unfortunately, there were no hippos to be found, only a grey heron and a cattle egret. The next dam was more successful with four hippos playing in the water. They put on a pretty good show for us, romping about in the water.

After leaving the hippos, the drizzle continued to pick up and turned into a light rain. We searched out a spot to have a quick hot chocolate break. Ben was relieved, since he really needed to pee. At this point, our original plans to go for a safari walk were quickly evaporating, with no one desiring to go tromping through the soaking wet bush. Bummer! Hopefully, we will be able to go for a safari walk before we leave tomorrow.

Following hot chocolate and rusks, we dashed back to the lodge to get warm by the fire and have some breakfast. The rain continued during much of the break, thwarting any plans to be active. We chose to relax on the couches by the fire in the lodge while waiting for lunch.

Lunch, like all previous days, was spectacular. We had some grilled chicken, various salads, and a South African peppermint cream and chocolate dessert. Very yummy.

The weather started to clear up a bit prior to our last evening game drive, generating some hopeful desire to see the lions one more time. We had some newcomers join us, Christine and Debbie. Debbie is from New York and Christine is from LA. They were very friendly and a fun addition to our group. We found some wildebeest and buffalo before finding some giraffes, two males, a female and a baby. The giraffes were between us and our river crossing, so we patiently waited to see what they would do. After eyeing it up several times, the female giraffe awkwardly attempted to cross the river. Baby, without a care in the world, bounded across the river. The two males followed suit, delicately placing each and every step, similar to a house cat entering a tub of water. So funny and cute.

We then found a whole troop of baboons that climbed trees to be able to watch us while we watched them. Just as the sun was starting to set, we found some elephants browsing through the brush, in search of marula fruit among other things. It was a fairly beautiful sunset that we were able to enjoy during our sundowner.

The drive back in the dark was mostly uneventful. We saw some hippos out of the water, one even crossed the road in front of us. We saw a small owl fly past and land in a nearby branch. While looking for more hippos, we heard some lions roaring in the distance. Absolutely amazing. Hopefully, we will be able to find them in the morning on our last game drive at Chapungu.

Not far from camp, two gunshots rang out through the bush. This caused Gerhard to stop immediately and radio into the main lodge for more information. Ben asked Gerhard whether it was a ranger firing at an animal in defense or something related to poaching. Gerhard was able to find out that it was the anti-poaching team, but that was the extent of information that was shared with him. We drove most of the rest of the way back in silence while Gerhard communicated on the radio.

Back at camp, we were surprised by Chris and the housekeeping staff to a tent with flower petals arranged in a heart on the bed with champagne and two glasses. They also drew a bath for us, that was still hot and lit some candles. It was very romantic, minus the gigantic bugs that had already fallen victim to the water. With little time before dinner, we quickly changed and waited for our escort back to the bar. Ben purchased Gerhard a double Jagermeister, having learned earlier in the week that this was his drink of choice, while we chatted with him, Serge, Christine and Debbie. We got lost in conversation before Chris came to bring us into the boma for dinner. It was yet another fantastic meal followed by some of Beth's chocolate on chocolate birthday cake. Yum yum!

Following dinner, we were escorted back to our tent to enjoy some quality time on our final evening at Chapungu.

No comments:

Post a Comment