Monday, June 25, 2012

Huange National Park

 Tony wanted to show us the Zimbabwe of his youth.  We were very lucky to spot giraffe right away on the road to a campsite that has since disappeared. The first night we just stopped and set up the tent. I was a little worried travelling with no map on off-roads and with only 3 litres of water. I like to organize things a bit more. But we were fine.

 The second night we stayed at a Pan or Dam that was a watering hole for all manner of animals. We watched from a thatched 'blind' that was very comfortable. Unfortunately, after bumping around the roads for 8 hours, I wasn't very happy to be sleeping on the hard ground in a sleeping bag that wasn't up to the cold temperatures. Africa, who knew it would be so cold?
We had about 110 elephants at the pan at the same time, as well as guinea fowl, kudu, water buck, buffalo and zebra. Very cool.
 The giraffes did not drink at the pan while we were there. It was really interesting to see the social behaviours of the animals and how they mixed with other species. No one is allowed to travel in the park after 6 pm.
 After that we stayed in a lodge with two bedrooms and a kitchen at a camp that overlooks a plain. There were baboons in the old restaurant and dwarf mongoose running along the ridge. We also saw tiny antelope, the size of a cat, when we went out with our flashlights in the night. We didn't see the elephant in our yard, but there was evidence the next day. In Zimbabwe, spoor means footprint, but at home it means the droppings the animal leaves behind.
 When we travelled within the camp, we were often spotting herds of animals like the buffalo.
 These are the delightful dassies. Hyrex. About the size of a loaf of bread. They spend 5% of their day active. Good idea.
 The monitor lizard was happily sharing a warm rock with the dassies. Because it's winter there, the sun went down about 5:30 or 6 pm.
 We were delighted by the fat and saucy zebras. They were harder to see up close.
 This is a baby kudu. If it is a male, it will grow long spiralled horns which are highly prized. But there is no hunting in the park.
We never tired of watching the elephants play. The young bulls rough housing and being told to stop it by the old bull. The moms with their babies who were always assisted by a big sister or auntie. Such a quiet giant.
There was a little knitting as we visited and watched the animals below. I couldn't have asked for a better camping buddy, Elizabeth is a knitter and a professor of English Literature, specializing in medieval drama. We laughed at the guinea fowl who would jump in front of the pick up at the last minute and then run like crazy until they figured they could fly.

And it's nice to be home. We had a house full of friends and family for Dan's 50th. The weather changed suddenly and we scuttled in doors, lit every candle and watched the torrential down pour. It was exciting and didn't dampen our celebration.

1 comment:

17th stitch said...

What lovely photos! You are making me yearn to visit Africa...