Entries tagged with “Zimbabwe”.


Another one of my favourite places in Zimbabwe, the Chimanimani National Park is an area in the south of the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. It is a fairly small area of rolling grassy hills, bounded on the east and west by tall mountains of rigged weather carved stone. Throughout the park are numerous little streams running with crystal clear water, and many of the huge rocks strewn across the landscape have been carved out by weather to form caves, many big enough to off shelter. It is an amazing place to walk.
With Annie not being a happy camper like Soph and I, we planned for only 3 nights in the mountains. Even this amount of time she was a bit concerned about, but we assured her that it wouldn’t kill her. After the first day of hiking we reached Terry’s Cave, where we spent the next two nights. The cave is carved out of the underside of a huge boulder, amoungst many other huge boulders. Nearby is a beautiful stream of clear gold tinted water with pools big enough to bath in. All about the rocks are intricately carved by the weather. I could spend days just exploring all of the caves, crevices and huge deep chasms between the rocks. Our first night the rain comes down all night and the wind blows unrelentingly, but we are all very snug in our sleepingbags tucked in the back of the cave, thankful for the huge rock around us. The next day we spend exploring the area. In the afternoon the clouds came down again and we could see the rocky peaks poking out the the mist dramatically.
After two nights we set off northwards. This is a fairly flat walk through plains on which the strange gnarled rocks sit like sentinels, all the while the higher peaks loom above us threateningly. We pass a stunningly beautiful creek where the golden water runs over clean white rock, falling down into quite a deep cocacola coloured pool. We are compelled to stop for a quick swim here. At lunch time we reached our destination, Peterhouse Cave. There is a smaller cave here, right on the main river that flows through the area, the Bundi. Slightly downstream the river tumbles down into a large deep pool, this is Peterhouse Falls. The pool offers one of the best natural cliff jumps I have ever come across. The pool is wide and very deep, the depth making the tinted water appear black. On the one side a jagged wall of rock rises maybe 25m above the pool. Its from here that one can jump, with the waterfall thundering below. Although its quite safe (don’t try this at home kids), the dark, choppy, cold water, thundering waterfall and the ledge below that obscures your view of the landing spot, and the sheer height make it a very very scary jump. Its almost a spiritual thing for me now, I do it each time I go to the Chimanimanis.
The next day we hiked up out of the valley, past the beautiful Digby’s Pool. Here as in many of the other streams, the rock is washed clean by the flowing water, revealing seams of shiny metallic rock. Into the pool the water flows down the rock in a beautiful widening cascade. Up Up we went, past the National Parks Hut and onto the Moon plateau. Our path winds amongst more amazing carved rocks. Many of them have strange craters carved out of them, making them look very moon like. Other rocks stand in ranks of rocks all pointing up to a certain point in the sky. It could easily be a scene out of the Lord of the Rings. Its hear that naviagtion gets a bit tricky. There are a lot more paths than are indicated by our map. In the end we ended up going down the wrong pass and spending a lot longer getting back then we needed to. Nonetheless it was a beautiful trip with even Annie admitting that she really enjoyed it. We all had a shower before stopping at Chimanimani Hotel for a cooked meal.
Now all we had to do was drive the 3 hours to our next stop, The Great Zimbabwe Ruins.

Another one of my favourite places in Zimbabwe, the Chimanimani National Park is an area in the south of the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. It is an area of rolling grassy hills, bounded on the east and west by tall mountains of rugged weather carved stone. Throughout the park are numerous little streams running with crystal clear water, and many of the huge rocks strewn across the landscape have been carved out by weather to form caves, many big enough to off shelter. It is an amazing place to walk.

With Annie not being a happy camper like Soph and I, we planned for only 3 nights in the mountains. Even this amount of time she was a bit concerned about, but we assured her that it wouldn’t kill her. After the first day of hiking we reached Terry’s Cave, where we spent the next two nights. The cave is carved out of the underside of a huge boulder, amoungst many other huge boulders. Nearby is a beautiful stream of clear gold tinted water with pools big enough to bath in. All about the rocks are intricately carved by the weather. I could spend days just exploring all of the caves, crevices and huge deep chasms between the rocks. Our first night the rain comes down all night and the wind blows unrelentingly, but we are all very snug in our sleepingbags tucked in the back of the cave, thankful for the huge rock around us.

The next day we spend exploring the area. In the afternoon the clouds came down again and we could see the rocky peaks poking out the the mist dramatically.

After two nights we set off northwards. This is a fairly flat walk through plains on which the strange gnarled rocks sit like sentinels, all the while the higher peaks loom above us threateningly. We pass a stunningly beautiful creek where the golden water runs over clean white rock, falling down into quite a deep cocacola coloured pool. We are compelled to stop for a quick swim here. At lunch time we reached our destination, Peterhouse Cave. There is a smaller cave here, right on the main river that flows through the area, the Bundi. Slightly downstream the river tumbles down into a large deep pool, this is Peterhouse Falls. The pool offers one of the best natural cliff jumps I have ever come across. It  is wide and very deep, the depth making the tinted water appear pitch black. On the one side a jagged wall of rock rises maybe 25m above the pool. Its from here that one can jump, with the waterfall thundering below. Although its quite safe (don’t try this at home kids), the dark, choppy, cold water, thundering waterfall, the ledge below that obscures your view of the landing spot, and the sheer height make it a very very scary jump. Its almost a spiritual thing for me now, I am compelled do it each time I go to the Chimanimanis.

On our last day we hiked up out of the valley, past the beautiful Digby’s Pool. Here as in many of the other streams, the rock is washed clean by the flowing water, revealing seams of shiny metallic rock. Into the pool the water flows down the rock in a beautiful widening cascade. Up Up we went, past the National Parks Hut and onto the Moon plateau. Our path winds amongst more amazing carved rocks. Many of them have strange craters carved out of them, making them look very moon like. Other rocks stand in ranks of rocks all pointing up to a certain point in the sky. It could easily be a scene out of the Lord of the Rings. Its here that navigation usually  gets a bit tricky. There are a lot more paths than are indicated by our very simple map. In the end we ended up going down the wrong pass and spending a lot longer getting back then we needed to. Nonetheless it was a beautiful trip with even Annie admitting that she really enjoyed it. We all had a well deserved shower before stopping at Chimanimani Hotel for a cooked meal.

Now all we had to do was drive the 3 hours to our next stop, The Great Zimbabwe Ruins.

Chimanimani Hike
Chimanimani Hike
Part of Zimbabwe’s eastern highands, on the border with Mozambique
We were now in the Chirinda area. An area of absolutely beautiful forest. I found it to be similar to the Bvumba forest, but the canopy is higher, the trees bigger and older. Coming from the border quite late in the day we were keen to find a place to stay. We’d seen on one of our maps the obscure marking “Big Tree” and had seen a couple of signs saying the same. What was this Big Tree? We stopped to ask a couple of locals walking along the road. “Ah Yes, Its a BIG Tree”, “Aaahh, I suspected as such. Have you seen it?”, “Ah Yes, Its very enourmous!”. Sounds good, we follow the track indicated and soon come to a car park. Its flat and there is even a braai area, albiet somewhat overgrown, so we decide to camp there for the night. In the dying night we take a quick walk to find the fabled tree. It turns out to be a big tree, the legends are true. Its a huge tree reaching up above the canopy, with ancient roots spreading out into the underbush.
That night, trying to finish off some of the cans we’d inherited from the Morrungulo food, we dine on tinned asparagus and butter beans with tomato, served on water crackers. It goes down well. After dinner we sat in the dark and watched while hundreds of blinking fireflies layed trails of dashes in the forest around us.
In the morning after another walk in the forest we head to the closest town, Chipinge, where we stop for a new tyre and some supplies, then we drive on to the next stage of our adventure, a hike in the Chimanimani mountains.

We were now in the Chirinda area. An area of absolutely beautiful forest. I found it to be similar to the Bvumba forest, but the canopy is higher, the trees bigger and older. Coming from the border quite late in the day we were keen to find a place to stay. We’d seen on one of our maps the obscure marking, “Big Tree” and had seen a couple of signs saying the same. What was this Big Tree? We stopped to ask a couple of locals walking along the road. “Ah Yes, Its a BIG Tree”, “Aaahh, I suspected as such. Have you seen it?”, “Ah Yes, Its very enourmous!”. Sounds good, we follow the track indicated and soon come to a car park. Its flat and there is even a braai area, albiet somewhat overgrown, so we decide to camp there for the night. In the dying night we take a quick walk to find the fabled tree. It turns out to be a big tree, the legends are true. Its a huge tree reaching up above the canopy, with ancient roots spreading out into the underbush.

That night, trying to finish off some of the cans we’d inherited from the Morrungulo food, we dine on tinned asparagus and butter beans with tomato, served on water crackers. It goes down well. After dinner we sat in the dark and watched while hundreds of blinking fireflies layed trails of dashes in the forest around us.

In the morning after another walk in the forest we head to the closest town, Chipinge, where we stop for a new tyre and some supplies, then we drive on to the next stage of our adventure, a hike in the Chimanimani mountains.

Chirinda Forest
Chirinda Forest
Forests on the border of Zimbabwe, near the towns of Mt Selinda in Zimbabwe and Espungabera in Mozambique.


The couple of days before Christmas Sophie and I spent with my good mate Dave and his girlfriend Wendy on Dave’s family farm. It is one of the very very few farms that have not been ‘acquired’ by the government, and is an absoutely beautiful piece of Zimbabwe, with wonderful Msasa bushland, big granite kopjes and picturesque dams, not to mention flourishing crops, a rare sight nowadays.

We spend the time watching game, and exploring the rocks looking for the many ancient paintings left by the bushmen people before they were wiped from existence. I also have another go with my speargun and come out with a couple of fish. In the evening we are treated to a stormy sundown followed by a spectacular lightning storm that we watched from the top of one of the granite hill.

After the chaos of meeting up with everyone and getting all of our kit onto the boat, we find ourselves sitting on the deck and sipping a drink as the boat chugged out towards the blue hills on the other side of the lake. Kariba is a huge man made dam, over 200km long with a large proportion of its shores on National Parks Wildlife areas. Fully staffed with a captain, cook and deck hand, our cruise would ensure, even enforce 5 days of total relaxation. Our days are spent fishing, eating, sipping drinks and playing board games while watching the elephants and other game go about their business. The nighttime is punctuated by the sounds of the many hippos snorting and bellowing. Once a day when the boat is far from shore it stops and we all take turns jumping from the upper deck into the water.

One of my favourite things about Kariba is watching the clouds building up into massive, looming, towers of white, which in the late afternoon and evening start flashing with lightning. This spectacular display can be seen seemingly every day, but on the first day it was particularly epic. The clouds built and build, but this time they were lit by the most amazing pink and orange light as the sun went down down in a blaze of orange on the opposite horizon. As if this was not enough, it gave way to a huge show of lightning that lasted well into the night. It was accompanied by an amazingly strong, unrelenting wind that was blowing over the heavy chairs and threatened to take the whole carpet off the deck.

All in all a wonderful trip and a good chance to catch up with friends and family. After shopping for a few curios in Kariba town we heading back to Harare, well fed and well rested, ready for even more feeding and resting over the Christmas period.

Our lodge is in a beautiful spot right on the Great Zambesi, overlooking the floodplains on which hippos and elephants graze, backed by the Zambian side of the escarpment. After the previous day and night’s adventure we are quite happy to relax under the trees by our lodge looking out over the plains and drinking tea. In the afternoon we venture out for a very safe drive on the roads near the camp. There are impalas everywhere, the rains having brough with them innumerable little impala calves. The baboons too have their young and are out in their hundreds, playing and grooming and shouting.

After a walk along Long Pool, at random we take one of the roads heading to a different camp. There is a wet patch that we get through with difficulty, but I am not too worried, having gone through many of them on the previous day’s drive. The next wet patch is different. We get stuck. I soon realise that this particular mud is a particular type of hard, sticky, black clay. It sticks into the type trends, turning the wheels into slick, black balloons. Over the next hour we dig, push, rock, and stuff a variety of grasses, sticks and logs under the tyres to no avail. In the plains nearby, zebras and elephants watch curiously and the rumbles of distant lions can be heard. Initially I am more worried about all the photo oppurtunities I am missing as the last sun lights up the trees and the sky is painted a series of wonderful colours. To the horror of the girls, now caked in mud, I am compelled to take a tiny little break to take a couple of photos.
Then it was getting dark and, our huge efforts not having more the car a single inch, we where faced with the choice of sleeping in the car, or walking back to the camp in the dark, not something you want to do if you have ever experienced the amazing density of wildlife in the park. Nonetheless, Soph and I set off bravely into the dark, headlamps on bright, knobbley sticks in hand and talking loudly to warn lurking creatures of our approach. It was terrifying yet oddly comforting to know that we were only a few km away from help and not 50km, as we would have been had we got stuck the previous day.
As it was we were lucky and a returning Parks guy picked us up about a km down the road. But it soon became obvious that we weren’t going to get any help from the Parks guys. Their 4×4 was broken, and in order to “Mobilise” they would require some kind of compensation. So we get them to drop us at the neighbouring lodge, where the occupants very kindly agree to drive out and rescue us. Annie, who has been waiting in the car anxiously with doors locked, is very happy to see us. On the way we learn that some others in a white Isuzu had gone out in the morning and not yet returned. On getting back to the lodge we all have a well needed shower and take our rescuers a bottle of wine. Another day, another adventure.
The next day we make an even bigger effort not to get ourselves into trouble. There is much relaxing and game viewing from the safety of the lodge, but we also do a short drive out to see some lions that had been spotted by one of the other groups. In in the mid-afternon a very muddy white Isuzu drives past our lodge. They had spent the night in their car. In the late afternoon I am happily getting my camera ready for my first chance to take evening photos uninterrupted by peril. Its just then that Annie comes and tells me that the beleaguered white Isuzu is now bogged just outside our lodge. Cursing, but not wanting to anger the karma police, I am compelled to leave my camera and pull them out as the precious minutes of sundown pass by. We get them out eventually and tell them that its probably not a good idea to be heading out at this time of day, but they seem very determined to leave. As they go we are half expecting to come across them on the road the next day.
I put out my camera that night to attempt a star trail photo. I have to leave it for longer than I planned when I notice an elephant lurking not 10m from where it’s set up.
The next morning we leave early for kariba to give us plenty of time for stoppages. We have a keen eye out for the mythical baobab, by it evades us on the way out as well.

Our lodge is in a beautiful spot right on the Great Zambesi, overlooking the floodplains on which hippos and elephants graze, backed by the Zambian side of the escarpment. After the previous day and night’s adventure we are quite happy to relax under the trees by our lodge looking out over the plains and drinking tea. In the afternoon we venture out for a very safe drive on the roads near the camp. There are impalas everywhere, the rains having brough with them innumerable little impala calves. The baboons too have their young and are out in their hundreds, playing and grooming and shouting.

After a walk along Long Pool, at random we take one of the roads heading to a different camp. There is a wet patch that we get through with difficulty, but I am not too worried, having gone through many of them on the previous day’s drive. The next wet patch is different. We get stuck. I soon realise that this particular mud is a particular type of hard, sticky, black clay. It sticks into the type trends, turning the wheels into slick, black balloons. Over the next hour we dig, push, rock, and stuff a variety of grasses, sticks and logs under the tyres to no avail. In the plains nearby, zebras and elephants watch curiously and the rumbles of distant lions can be heard. Initially I am more worried about all the photo oppurtunities I am missing as the last sun lights up the trees and the sky is painted a series of wonderful colours. To the horror of the girls, now caked in mud, I am compelled to take a tiny little break to take a couple of photos.

Then it was getting dark and, our huge efforts not having more the car a single inch, we where faced with the choice of sleeping in the car, or walking back to the camp in the dark, not something you want to do if you have ever experienced the amazing density of wildlife in the park. Nonetheless, Soph and I set off bravely into the dark, headlamps on bright, knobbley sticks in hand and talking loudly to warn lurking creatures of our approach. It was terrifying yet oddly comforting to know that we were only a few km away from help and not 50km, as we would have been had we got stuck the previous day.

As it was we were lucky and a returning Parks guy picked us up about a km down the road. But it soon became obvious that we weren’t going to get any help from the Parks guys. Their 4×4 was broken, and in order to “Mobilise” they would require some kind of compensation. So we get them to drop us at the neighbouring lodge, where the occupants very kindly agree to drive out and rescue us. Annie, who has been waiting in the car anxiously with doors locked, is very happy to see us. On the way we learn that some others in a white Isuzu had gone out in the morning and not yet returned. On getting back to the lodge we all have a well needed shower and take our rescuers a bottle of wine. Another day, another adventure.

The next day we make an even bigger effort not to get ourselves into trouble. There is much relaxing and game viewing from the safety of the lodge, but we also do a short drive out to see some lions that had been spotted by one of the other groups. In in the mid-afternon a very muddy white Isuzu drives past our lodge. They had spent the night in their car. In the late afternoon I am happily getting my camera ready for my first chance to take evening photos uninterrupted by peril. Its just then that Annie comes and tells me that the beleaguered white Isuzu is now bogged just outside our lodge. Cursing, but not wanting to anger the karma police, I am compelled to leave my camera and pull them out as the precious minutes of sundown pass by. We get them out eventually and tell them that its probably not a good idea to be heading out at this time of day, but they seem very determined to leave. As they go we are half expecting to come across them on the road the next day.

I put out my camera that night to attempt a star trail photo. I have to leave it for longer than I planned when I notice an elephant lurking not 10m from where it’s set up.

The next morning we leave early for kariba to give us plenty of time for stoppages. We have a keen eye out for the mythical baobab, by it evades us on the way out as well.

Our last trip to Mana was quite an adventure with huge numbers of bugs, strong winds, rain, a rampaging wind scorpion, and a hyaena seige of our campsite combining to make of of the most hectic nights of camping I have had. But having scared Annie with all of the stories, I am was confident that it would be unlikely for such adventure to find us a second time in a row. I was wrong.
Our first adventure happened before we had even found our way to the camp. I had been told tales of a huge Baobab tree, possibly the largest in Africa, maybe even the world! This mythical tree was to be found, around 20km from the first checkpoint after entering the wilderness area. Despite asking every National Parks person that we passed in the different Parks checkpoints, I they could not narrow it down more than, just off the road on the left, between 18km and 20km from the boom. Being a keen photographer I was of course very interested in seeing such a tree, but as we drove it was obvious that the lush bush, which would be very dry at other times of the year, would make it difficult to spot. So come 18km we crawled along with our eyes peeled. Of course there were no signs saying “Largest Baobab in Africa to Left”, or even a track or path for that matter. Shortly after 20km though there was a track to the left. Surely this is the way! We head off down the rough track. It is not long before our four wheel drive is tested with a quite hectic crossing of a dry river bed. After a few km there is no sign of any overly large Baobabs. Looking at our trusty map of Zimbabwe, I notice a green line that follows where we have gone and joins up with the main road 20km or so along. The bush is beautiful so I decide to continue on, trusting that we will join up later. We cross a couple more dry rivers and charge through a few more muddy puddles. At some points we temporarily lose the road. It’s easy to do as many areas are very open and flat and one can choose their own route through. I am not really paying attention to which direction we are heading, confident that the green line on the map will deliver us eventually.
At 30km we still have not joined up with the main road. Normally at this point logic would have kicked in and told us the very obvious course of action would be to go back, especially after Annie looked at the map and realised that the green lines signify park borders and not in fact, roads. Maybe it was the stunningly lush green bushland that we were driving through, maybe it was our indominable spirit of adventure or maybe sheer stupidity, but we drove on in the hope that we would end up somewhere. Having given up on the illusion that we would meet to the main road we now paid attention to where we were actually heading. Had we been doing this earlier it would have been obvious that the road was heading north and not east as it was meant to. We were now hoping to reach the road that runs along the river. I was really regretting that I had inexplicably not taken the shiny new GPS that my dad had offered us.
We drove on through more amazing bush scenery, which was now beautifully lit by the late afternoon sunlight. The hills to the north of us seemed to gradually get closer, promising that we were nearing our goal. The road splits off a couple of times and try keeping north.
50km. The sun is down, we’re not at the river yet. Time to face the reality that we’re going to have to set up and sleep in our flimsy tent out here, “Somewhere in the bush near Mana Pools”. I set up the tent while the girls start preparing our elaborately planned first meal. Its dark by the time the tent is up, and I am not happy being out in the open so dinner is canned and we have peanut butter on bread huddled in the tent. Through the night we can hear hippos bellowing and snorting, there are distant lion sounds, and very un-distant sounds of large animals moving near the tent. I spend a fair bit of the night praying that it does not rain heavily, as it is prone to at that time of year. I have finally come to the fairly obvious realisation that if it does, the numerous muddy puddles and dry beds that we only just got through to get here will be innavigable and we’ll be stuck in the bush 50km from the nearest road that we should have been driving on. I don’t mention this to the girls and hope they are sleeping well.
We rise with the sun in the morning and get to walk around the tent looking at all of the footprints of all the animals that have been wandering around our tent during the night, antelope, baboons, hyaena, elephant and a few that I don’t recognise. Although I am fairly sure we are now on, or at least near, the river road, we have no idea how far we have to go. As much as it pains me to backtrack, we wisely decided to head back. Luckily the cars tracks are still fresh on the ground so we have no problem following our path back. We manage not to get stuck and I am very relieved when roll back onto the main road two hours or so later. We take no more detours on the way to camp, but not far along the road we see a large pack of twenty wild dogs. Endangered, and very seldom seen, it is a real treat to see them, even worth spending the night in the bush. We watch them for a good while as they relax and play by the road before going on to our lodge.

Our last trip to Mana was quite an adventure with huge numbers of bugs, strong winds, rain, a rampaging wind scorpion, and a hyaena seige of our campsite combining to make of of the most hectic nights of camping I have had. But having scared Annie with all of the stories, I am was quietly confident that it would be unlikely for such adventure to find us a second time in a row. I was wrong.

Our first adventure happened before we had even found our way to the camp. I had been told tales of a huge Baobab tree, possibly the largest in Africa, maybe even the world! This mythical tree was to be found, around 20km from the first checkpoint after entering the wilderness area. Despite asking every National Parks person that we passed in the different Parks checkpoints, I they could not narrow it down more than, just off the road on the left, between 18km and 20km from the boom. Being a keen photographer I was of course very interested in seeing such a tree, but as we drove it was obvious that the lush bush, which would be very dry at other times of the year, would make it difficult to spot. So come 18km we crawled along with our eyes peeled. Of course there were no signs saying “Largest Baobab in Africa to Left”, or even a track or path for that matter. Shortly after 20km though there was a track to the left. Surely this is the way! We head off down the rough track. It is not long before our four wheel drive is tested with a quite hectic crossing of a dry river bed. After a few km there is no sign of any overly large Baobabs. Looking at our trusty map of Zimbabwe, I notice a green line that follows where we have gone and joins up with the main road 20km or so along. The bush is beautiful so I decide to continue on, trusting that we will join up later. We cross a couple more dry rivers and charge through a few more muddy puddles. At some points we temporarily lose the road. It’s easy to do as many areas are very open and flat and one can choose their own route through. I am not really paying attention to which direction we are heading, confident that the green line on the map will deliver us eventually.

At 30km we still have not joined up with the main road. Normally at this point logic would have kicked in and told us that the very obvious course of action would be to go back, especially after Annie looked at the map and realised that the green lines signify park borders and not in fact, roads. Maybe it was the stunningly lush green bushland that we were driving through, maybe it was our indominable spirit of adventure or maybe sheer stupidity, but we drove on in the hope that we would end up somewhere. Having given up on the illusion that we would meet to the main road we now paid attention to where we were actually heading. Had we been doing this earlier it would have been obvious that the road was heading north and not east as it was meant to. We were now hoping to reach the road that runs along the river. I was really regretting that I had inexplicably not taken the shiny new GPS that my dad had offered us.

We drove on through more amazing bush scenery, which was now beautifully lit by the late afternoon sunlight. The hills to the north of us seemed to gradually get closer, promising that we were nearing our goal. The road splits off a couple of times and and we try keeping north.

50km. The sun is down, we’re not at the river yet. Time to face the reality that we’re going to have to set up and sleep in our flimsy tent out here, “Somewhere in the bush near Mana Pools”. I set up the tent while the girls start preparing our elaborately planned first meal. Its dark by the time the tent is up, and I am not happy being out in the open so dinner is canned and we have peanut butter on bread huddled in the tent. Through the night we can hear hippos bellowing and snorting, there are distant lion sounds, and very un-distant sounds of large animals moving near the tent. I spend a fair bit of the night praying that it does not rain heavily, as it is prone to at that time of year. I have finally come to the fairly obvious realisation that if it does, the numerous muddy puddles and dry beds that we only just got through to get here will be innavigable and we’ll be stuck in the bush 50km from the nearest road that anyone would ever expect us to drive on. I don’t mention this to the girls and hope they are sleeping well.

We rise with the sun in the morning and get to walk around the tent looking at all of the footprints of all the animals that have been wandering around our tent during the night, antelope, baboons, hyaena, elephant and a few that I don’t recognise. Although I am fairly sure we are now on, or at least near, the river road, we have no idea how far we have to go. As much as it pains me to backtrack, we wisely decided to head back. Luckily the cars tracks are still fresh on the ground so we have no problem following our path back. We manage not to get stuck and I am very relieved when roll back onto the main road two hours or so later. We take no more detours on the way to camp, and not far along the road we see a large pack of twenty wild dogs. Endangered, and very seldom seen, it is a real treat to see them, maybe even worth spending the night in the bush. We watch them for a good while as they relax and play by the road before going on to our lodge  and setting about preparing a huge and indulgent cooked breakfast lunch.