What a fabulous few days Ian and I have had. Arriving at Joburg I met my darling sister Irene. What a lovely warm welcome she gave me. We boarded our flight a bit late and I nearly blew it by asking four rather large Africans not to push in. I saw iren'es body language and held my tongue and she told me when we were seated they were 'ministerial,' which was probably why they had an escort. Discretion is the better part of valour!
Zimbabwe no longer has an airline, so the airport was pretty deserted. Another lovely warm welcome as Marguerite and Andrew greeted us. We had a sister embrace, pretty cool. They have been so kind and hospitable and very generous to us. We have just come back from an incredible weekend at Mana Pool national game park. it is a world heritage site and on the Zambia border (I waved to my homeland). The Zambezi river separated us.
The drive up was incredible. All the flowers seem so much bigger and brighter in colour than at home. The acacia tree literally glows yellow and the coral colour of the Jacaranda is magnificent. Red, cerise and purple bougainvilleas adorn host trees, walls and fences. It is so dry here at the moment and it is the month where the Africans burn the land. This is to clear it of rats, snakes and rabbits as the bush overtakes the land from the farm grabs. The air is quite smoky and at night in Mana we could see the Zambian escarpment burning. The landscape was so marred in places, such a pity.
The game park was a fabulous experience and we camped in style. Our large tent had an ensuite with toilet and shower. First time I've showered in a tent, but under the night sky. Very cool! We ate dinner outside seated around a table serve by two young men wearing guns on their hips, to protect us from the wildlife, in particular the lions. Breakfast - at 5am, was porridge kept hot over an outdoor fire, which sat around overlooking the Zambezi, with Bruce the hippopotamus 30 metres away wallowing in the river.
We experienced being charge by a bull elephant. I can't share what my husband said. We tracked some lions and watched a lion kill a buffalo calf from 30 metres away, then sat and watched 4 lionesses and their 5 cubs eat it (at this point we had moved to 3 metres away). Quite amazing. We could hear the ripping of the flesh and the crunching of bones. We went back this morning and spent some more time observing them. The carcass was stripped and they had huge bellies. They attempted another buffalo kill but weren't successful.
It was like being part of a National Geographic movie.
Must fl,y Serena has arrived and I haven't met her yet. Update you again soon.