First of all who knew taking up on a new life and new challenge would be amazing and breathtaking. Had someone told me sooner, I would have long quit teaching and become a translator. I recently started a new job as a translator with Bush Ways and I got the best pleasure to be thrown right in the mix at the get go. It all started normally, pack your bags you are going on a 6 night trip to Moremi, Savute and Chobe, fair enough, I’ve seen pictures and videos, I know what’s coming, boy was I wrong, I’ve never had so much fun, scare and disbelief in my life all at once.

group photo
© photo Jocelyne André

I was with 5 other colleagues Evans – guide, Chiedza – translator and 3 Camp Assistants Oarabile, Kelesitse (KK) and Chicco – who were responsible for setting up our camp and all the meals we had throughout the Safari. Oh the food! It was impeccably made. I kid you not it was like eating food from a 5 star restaurant. From pancakes, muffins, potato gratinis, carbonara pastas down to the desserts; not forgetting local cuisine. All cooked in an open fire! You have to see it to believe it…!

food
© photo Jocelyne André
fud
© photo Jocelyne André

 

We had with us 8 tourists of French, German and Swiss decent. I was with 5 other colleagues Evans – Guide, Chiedza – Translator and 3 Camp Assistants Oarabile, Kelesitse (KK) and Chicco – who were responsible for setting up our camp and all the meals we had throughout the Safari. Oh the food! It was impeccably made. I kid you not it was like eating food from a 5 star restaurant. From pancakes, muffins, potato gratinis, carbonara pastas down to the desserts; not forgetting local cuisine. All cooked in an open fire! You have to see it to believe it…!

A simple place like your camp site has rules. In the bush you are encroaching on someone else’ space, you do not have a lot of liberty to move about, especially at night since that is when animals become more active. Due to this; Keep your tent closed all the time, do not go out at night, always have a torch and shine it around to ensure there are no predators close by, etc. God forbid you get a call of nature in the middle of the night …… (smiley face, tongue sticking out)…!   These are just a measure of precaution of course; our Guide and Camp Assistants are very professional and highly experienced, so as long as you listen to and abide by their safety rules you will be safe in their care.

It’s like the whole animal kingdom wanted to either put on a spectacle for us or we owed them something. It all started with a mother elephant charging us protecting its young one down to a hippo chasing our boat. Well now I know mother elephants are dangerous and aggressive when it comes to their young, oh and do not mess with a hippo, that animal is territorial AF. But wait… here is where I got lost, I saw crocodiles eating animal poop, that’s weird, I thought they are carnivores, any-who I’m yet to find out what was going on there. Our stories at the camp fire were never a dull one, I mean, there were prides of lions, packs of lycaons, cruising the mighty Chobe River and so many things going on, I can go on and on. It’s hard to pin point out one thing to tell you about. If I were to narrate the whole trip it will amount to a 400-page book. Throughout the safari we were graced, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, gnous, various antelopes, elephants, impalas, lots and lots of impalas. The different birds and their hypnotizing colours also beautified nature. With this trip, I learned the different sounds or cries made by different animals, whether it was a call for danger or to mark a territory, trust me when I say now I can even tell you what animal made a sound without even seeing it, no more city girl for me. But all in all a lot of lessons were learnt.

The following are the highlights of the safari or what stood out for me.

During one of our morning, game drives a male lion passed very close to our vehicle. It just passed us oblivious to the fact that we were there, I guess the click of the cameras and the whispers did not bother it not even one bit…! Our Guide Evans explained that it is on the hunt for the lioness. In addition, because of the direction it was facing it was going to pass our camp. Really? How do you know that? These were some of the questions that popped into my mind. To me the area all looked the same, if I was ever lost in the bush I could never tell my way back to camp. Surprise! Surprise! In the evening as we were returning to camp we followed a lion that was slowly strolling on the road… was it the same lion from the morning game drive? Did it pass by our camp? Yes, it was…And yes it did…! We all had fingers crossed that it doesn’t go inside the camp… for a split second it looked like it was, but luckily it continued strolling on the road in search of the females which by the sound of their call was not too far…as much as I know how dangerous these animals are, their cuteness always made me want to caress them.

The following morning we saw a leopard. Despite having to drive quite a distance, in order to reach it, we were fortunate enough to witness it hunting (although unsuccessful) for small prey; in this case the unsuspecting helmeted Guinea fowls. Evans explained that 9/10 a leopard will attempt a kill before finally catching one…

Wow! Witnessing the birth of baby buffalo. But what surprised me the most is what followed… the mother buffalo eating its placenta and licking all traces of blood from the baby, itself as well as on the ground? I did find out that by eating the placenta and licking all traces of blood is a way of keeping hyenas from eating the new-born buffalo…! It goes to show that even in nature a mother would go to all lengths in order to protect her young ones…

rollier
© photo Jocelyne André

Finally the cherry on top of the cake –a territorial fight between lions..! As we began our last morning game drive, we heard 2-3 distinguished lion roaring, which our guide Evans got on their trail right away. He further explained that the father was chasing his two sons from the pride. For some time the two young lions seemed to obey and ran away as their father continued to roar… as the roaring, continued one of the lions stopped, roared and turned back. He started charging towards the direction of his father’s roar. His young brother behind him (at times at a distance).  Evans explained that the one behind is the weaker brother and the strong brother is the one in front insinuating the fight. The sons finally managed to chase their father from the territory. I am a little bummed out as I had hoped for some catfight…! The amazing part is that we had front row seats and we saw the whole ordeal from a close angle. We were so blessed to have a guide who knows how to manoeuvre his way around the bush…

So trust me when I say the bush is a spectacle on its own. It’s an experience I will never get tired of and trust me, don’t shy away to save up and go on such a trip. I can’t wait for my next trip.

lepd
© photo Jocelyne André
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