Where the Motley Crew make like real hippos…

Day 20

Country : Zimbabwe (Gonarezhou)

Distance : 68 km

Barefoot and I were up before sunrise which turned out to be a good thing as the dawning sun was spectacular, rising up behind the hills across the river from us. After clicking off a few thousand pictures, we rejuvenated the fire and started boiling some water to do the dishes later before Barefoot created an equally spectacular Bloody Mary for us that matched the sunrise in colour.

Followed by another…

A short while later (at least it felt like a short while later) we had breakfast and headed down to the river to see if we could have the bath/wash/rinse/whatever that we did not manage to have the previous night. When we go to the crossing point we sent in our sacrificial depth tester (Barefoot – see below) to check for a suitable spot for us to dip our bodies.

We found a perfect spot and – after downing a G&T to fortify ourselves against the cold – we stripped down and waded into the river, soap and towels in hand. What followed was enough to scare off all the wildlife in the area. Four middle aged bodies, so white they  glowed in the sunlight, tiptoed into the water and, with whimpers and whines, gasps and grunts, dived, bellyflopped and bombed into the flowing water. Even the crocodiles headed in the opposite direction at the sight of what resembled a rampaging pod of albino hippos wallowing in the shallows!

Move over Simba, the real Kings of the Jungle are here…

After our refreshing swim/bath we re-fortified again and drove back to the camp following one of the short loop roads. We cam across a baobab that, though still young, was obviously a favourite snack for the elephants in the area. As you can see from the photo below, they have slowly dug away at the flesh of the tree and yet it still hangs on.

You can also see that Sharpie fancies himself as an elephant… about the only similarity between them is… actually, there is none at all. The elephant is bigger, lives longer, never forgets, can eat with its nose (ok, Sharpie can eat through his nose with a straw), has a bigger, more cognitive brain… nope, the elephant is just naturally superior all round!

Later that morning, after spending an hour or two wafting around the camp, we decided to go for a drive through the park.

Heading downstream from our camp we soon realised why areas of the park are generally limited to off-road/4×4 vehicles. The road roughly follows the river (inland, not along the bank) and there are several parts where it crosses the dry gorges that flow down to the main river when it rains. The gorges slow the process down considerably but also increase the enjoyment of the drive – if your the one driving, of course. The passengers just spend their time cursing and whinging as they bounce off the roof and the windows, drinks slopping all over…

Finally we came to the lower crossing where we stopped for a quick refreshment and to take pictures of the roan antelope gathered on the far bank (see pic above). The small herd disappeared shortly afterwards, melting into the bush before our eyes.

Once again we sent our intrepid barman to check the water depth… actually, he normally volunteers for the job, and we let him do it. Which is really quite shortsighted of us as he is possibly the most important part of the team, being the only one who knows how to pour a decent drink, and all.

Not sure why he’s lifting his pants, the water ain’t much more than ankle deep…

Safely negotiating the river we emerged the other side and continued on our drive.

It was at about this point when Sharpie, sitting in the back seat, asked how far we were going. On hearing that we were planning to be out for at least a couple of hours more he literally regressed in front of our eyes. One minute there was a 50 something man in the back seat and, in an instant, he was replaced by his 5 year old temper tantrum throwing alter ego…

Guess he didn’t want to go on a long drive then…

Should have stayed at home then…

Aaaah, ‘petulant’, that was the word I was looking for 🙂


I don’t want to go !!!

Anyhow, after checking out some of the other campsites we turned around and headed back to camp… along the short route so that the whining in the back would stop…

We saw a bit of game on the way, mostly elephant, including the one below who came storming up the river bank, glared at us before turning and walking along to the rest of his mates.

What you looking at?

So it was, we arrived back at our camp in time to see a full on party in progress. Unfortunately it was not the four Danish female nymphomaniac nudist campers we had been waiting for over the past three weeks, but rather a troop of baboons hell bent on raiding us for all we were worth.

The baboons had broken into a couple of the ammo boxes (that had all been shut properly) but these mostly contained plates and pots etc. They had, however, also broken into the trommel, despite it being locked on one side. One of the big males managed to get a hand in and had pulled out all that he could – sugar, tea bags, rice and other foodstuffs.

They had also eaten the soap, washing powder and sunlight dishwasher. I consoled myself with an image of the results that these chemicals would have when combined with stomach acid…Visual cue : a troop of baboons hanging on to the trees for dear life that night, wracked by moans and groans as the ensuing diarrhoea was accompanied by a bright blue froth coating their backsides… Buggers, serves them right!

Paarrrr-teee Time

We spent an hour or so tidying up the campsite after which Barefoot and I decided to drive around to the top of the cliffs opposite us to watch the sunset – the other two had decided to remain in camp as the baboons continued to try sneak in and grab what they could.

Spot Barefoot on the cliff!

After a quiet half hour on top of the cliffs as the sun set, we headed back to camp with just a short stop for water from the river.

Another good meal from His Royal Sharpness, the customary dry wit (and not a few old jokes) from Kwacha Man and an unending supply of sundowners from Barefoot put us all down for the night.  Aaaah, sweet dreams…


3 thoughts on “Where the Motley Crew make like real hippos…

  1. Pingback: Where the Motley Crew make like real hippos… | Home Far Away From Home

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