From the Journals...Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. August 1, 1991

October 05, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Elephants in savanna, Mana Pools National Park, ZimbabweMana Pools Elephants

Another early morning, after much hippo activity during the night. Coffee and biscuits at 1st light, then off on a game walk, again looking for lion.

We had just gotten off the truck for our walk, when the truck stopped after driving not 10 yards, Miranda signaling “lion”. I saw it crossing the road. Everybody, including those about to be dropped off for canoeing, got out of the truck. Bret had a classic line:  “Wait a second. She says ‘lion’, and we all run after it?”

We tracked it for a bit, but after it growled at us, causing Alistair to reach for his gun, he decided not to bother it any more.

It was a long walk, seeing elephants, etc. My left foot was bothering me a bit (strain?) and I had a blister on 1 toe of my right foot. I was tired and thirsty when we returned, and definitely had an appetite for the large brunch they served us (including fresh scones).

Elephants on bank of Zambesi River, Mana Pools National Park, ZimbabweElephants by the Zambesi River

I had a nap, after which I was anticipating doing my journal, cleaning cameras, and looking at a bird book, but it was not to be. As I was peeing, still groggy from my nap, I saw a lone bull elephant approaching camp.I grabbed my camera, thinking it would make a good shot in the background behind the cooks, but he wandered straight into, and through, camp.

He mock charged V (my sister, Vicky) and Mike, who were concentrating on a snake in the high grass. He then sauntered through our dining area, in front of the tents, and then into the Zambesi River. He frolicked in the water for 20 minutes, enjoying himself and escaping the heat of the day. He finally moved on, crossing the river right by the hippos. Very entertaining.

We had coffee, and then got on the truck to our canoe put-in at Vundu. It was another leisurely drift down a different section of river, but with the same cast of characters--buffalo, hippo, crocs, baboons, impala, bee eaters, white crowned and blacksmith plovers, malachite kingfisher, sacred ibis, Egyptian goose, jacanas, open billed stork, saddle billed stork, water buck.

Elephant on bank of Zambesi River at sunset, Mana Pools National Park, ZimbabweSunset Silhouette of Elephant

We saw 2 hippos fighting (from a very close vantage point). There were lots of elephant and happily for me, elephant close to the take-out near camp. It had been my intention to take pix of an elephant silhouetted in the red post-sunset afterglow. We sat for 20 minutes waiting for the light to be perfect. It was fun just sitting in the boats watching those 10 beasts munching away… I had no tripod, but was bracing the camera on the bow deck of the canoe, an awkward position.

On the short way back to camp (we could see the camp’s lights from where we had been sitting), we came very close to 3 elephants crossing the river to join the other large group that had just crossed. They were by the right bank, which is where we were supposed to go to avoid the hippos in the center. All this in the minimal dusk light--very interesting!


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