News from the bush – Botswana and Zimbabwe
Now, let’s see what I can tell you about Africa:
Ah, yes, Selinda, Okavango Delta / Botswan. When Izzy arrived there a few months ago he found Alan, the manager and guide – remember him? – with his arm in plaster. It seems he had spotted a leopard devouring a baboon up a leafy tree somewhere. Obviously everyone had been there on several occasions and watched the feast for as long as it presented itself.
After a while, the baboon skull became an object of desire, for, as you know, Selinda delights in using these macabre items as bathroom fittings. (I shudder to think what they were going to do with this specimen?). So Alan decides to park his unsuspecting clients under said tree and proceeds, Tarzan-like, to claim his prize. Having ascended a good few metres, he reaches out to dislodge the skull – only to be met by the furious hisses of the enraged leopard right in front of his face. Alan, sensible at last, falls backward from the tree in a shower of leaves and twigs – mercifully next to the landie – and breaks his arm.
A subsequent Selinda Newsletter asked, somewhat unsympathetically, whether we all knew that Alan had been promoted from Camp Manager to Branch Manager?
As for the rest, you’d hardly believe what the bush can look like after the beautiful rains we’ve been having – and are having! Africa positively chortles. The grass is so high that, in places, you can hardly see the baby antelopes that were born in gay profusion during December. Not to mention scores of little warthog piglets…
I suppose Selinda will be particularly thankful for this development, because that place had been desperately dry. In fact, during certain days in September/October, the local charter companies refused to land there because the wind churning up the dust made it impossible to even see the airstrip!
I’ve been back to Senuko / Zimbabwe in September and really enjoyed myself again. They all remember you and send their regards! We went rhino tracking this time and did manage to get a glimpse of one just as it crashed away from us through some pretty thick bush – in which I would not have liked to encounter it. It was very interesting – we tracked for at least an hour and a half, knew it wasn’t far ahead, but not even the guides had any idea just HOW close we were when it eventually noticed us.
I learnt two things. 1) A rhino does not move in a straight line; we doubled back continuously and moved on a sort of pretzel-shaped track. 2) It is an amazingly dainty eater. Every now and then I asked the tracker to show us the signs he was following. More often than not it was the bruised top of a little shrub, missing only the tiniest, daintiest tip of its shoots! How they manage to feed that bulk in this way I can’t imagine.
Credit Brigitte Cross