Back at the camp we found a couple of seats by the illuminated camp water hole and waited for the show to start. As darkness came so did a herd of thirsty Elephants. They drank like there was no tomorrow. We thought that they would suck the water hole dry. But suddenly they all stopped and led by the boss bull all fifteen including five babies, trooped off, like a scene from Jungle Book, into the under growth and out of our sight.
Later that night we were really privileged. Three black rhino sauntered down for a drink. Why were we privileged? Well the black rhino is probably the most famous endangered species in Africa. Due, mainly to poaching, there are a little over 3000 left after having a population of 60000 in 1970. It’s not my place to explain the mechanics of why these powerful beasts are exterminated ruthlessly for their horn so that the ‘misguided’ population of some Asian nations can use it for medicinal and aphrodisiac purposes. Nor is it my place to explain why the Yemeni insist that they must have daggers made of rhino horn.
Suffice to say that due to both of these stupid ignorant beliefs a few ruthless businessmen make a fortune out of having a beautiful animal virtually wiped out from the surface of this planet and that sucks!
Black rhino are also one of the ‘big five’. These five were the most prized ‘scalps’ by game hunters and if you think that’s just a relic of the past, then think again, there’s still plenty of opportunities on private land for game hunters to shoot defenseless animals for ‘sport’.
Now the ‘big five’ are sought after for the best viewing. The other four are lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant and on that particular day we had seen three of them.
For those of you thinking of game viewing in Africa, don’t knock yourself trying to see this group of animals. There is plenty of other wildlife to be seen that are just as enjoyable to watch. Game viewing is not a serious of ticks on a ‘to see checklist’ but an opportunity to watch Mother Nature at it’s wildest best.
Anyway that’s enough winging and preaching for now.
The next morning there was wildlife everywhere!………….. Giraffe, zebra, hyena, red hartebeest, impala and kudu to name just a few and then on then way back a huge bull elephant just ambling across the road just a few metres in front of us. It occurred to us at the same time that elephants have been known to charge if spooked, if this baby had turned on us this little ‘Chico’ would have been scrap metal within seconds.
Needless to say I had the gear stick in reverse and the handbrake off, just as a precaution!
The afternoon yielded different results. We went back to Okondeka hoping to see the same pride of lions. They were missing in action but what we did see was a male lion sitting in the shade of a thorny acacia tree, you know the ones, the trees that are shaped like an umbrella and are in almost every African sunset shot found in the glossy travel brochures.
We didn’t realise that he was injured until he got up and strolled or rather limped away. We managed to follow him to his destination, a carcass that probably a few hours a go was live Zebra, going about his business of chewing a few blades of grass, before being brutally murdered for Monsieur lion’s dinner. Somehow the lion must have got injured during the kill, but that didn’t stop him chewing away and at the same time growling at the vultures and jackals who anxious to share the spoils.
It was quite fascinating to watch. I felt like we were watching a discovery channel show!
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