Tuesday 26 May 2015

Bomani Tented Camp, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Bomani Tented Camp is in the south of Hwange National Park, and it is remote. To get there, we had to take a their tram, which they run on the colonial-era rail tracks built by some bloke with a great vision of trains running from South Africa to Egypt but who didn't count on the post-colonial administration taking the particular turn that it has done so the tracks are not in great shape now. Useful for us though!

More early mornings, more safari drives, more lists with lots of commas or again I could just tell a couple of stories.

Early one game drive we saw a herd of wildebeest and the guide stopped, because they were too close together apparently, then just as my brain got to 'hang on, is that a....' the guide shouted 'Cheetah, cheetah!' and the cheetah gave chase. There were two of them and, to state the obvious, they are bloody quick! Those wildebeest took off too and they're pretty quick as well. Plus they had the advantage that we had spooked them by approaching in the car, so they were hyper-alert already. So the cheetah didn't catch any of them but we came across them after the chase, collapsed in the shade, heaving and panting while they recovered and three full safari vans jockeyed for position and lots of photos were taken. They are so beautiful, long-limbed and very sleek. My very first cheetah sighting, so I was really excited.

Secondly, we somehow lucked out and got another guide who was keen on birds (mind you, once you've seen African birds I defy you to not be a bird nerd). His name was Vusa and he had this app on his iPad which played the bird's calls. This tended to make the birds behave in interesting ways, for example, we saw a pair of crowned cranes (my new favourite bird - though that's a big call) and they had some chicks with them who they were trying to hide in the long grass. When Vusa played the crowned crane call, they spread their wings and started to 'dance' to frighten off the supposed rival crowned crane who might threaten their chicks.

Finally - we did a dinner out in the middle of the bush one night under millions of stars. We rolled up after a safari drive to a long white-clothed table in the middle of the savannah and chefs in white hats preparing delicious food. There was a group of Scandinavian tourists staying at the lodge so we chatted to them a bit and got some cache from being able to point out the Southern Cross and the guides told traditional African stories.

So we didn't know anything about Zimbabwe locations, we didn't even know we wanted to go to Zimbabwe. All the Zimbabwe lodges and transfers were booked by a guy in the UK who runs a company called Wildlife Photography Africa that I found online looking for photography safaris. What that meant for us in practice was optimising the amount of time spent game-viewing rather than other activities, because game viewing was what we were most interested in doing. (They're not paying me to promote them by the way - I wish! - but he was very flexible and responsive and great to deal with).

1 comment:

  1. It's been a while since I stalked your adventure but oh my goodness. Your photos are amazing and it looks like you're having a great time. Miss you!