Country : Zimbabwe (Gonarezhou)
Distance : 15km
Our final day at Gonarezhou – and our final day on the trip not spent travelling – dawned cool and clear, the previous night being fairly breezy with the temperature dropping down to 4C which kept the iPod and Tripod buried in their sleeping bags until such time as the sun peaked out over the hills.
Priority, on creeping out of bed, was stoking the fire and getting the kettle boiled for some warming coffee. With a touch of something to warm the insides, of course…
And, naturally, this was followed by the patented triple tot Bloody Mary served by the Barefoot Barman with his normal aplomb – Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper added to perfection.
I went to check on Bob, our (not so) friendly bay-boon and found he had settled into a fairly low branch. However, the minute he saw me he motored back up to the top of the tree and out of sight. Yeah…
Kwacha and I drove down to the river to collect some water and when we arrived back we found Sharpie had retired to his camp chair where he sat, legs swinging, a fresh BM in his hand. While we offloaded the water he raised his mug to eye level and, as he contemplated the beads of condensation trickling down the sides of the mug, he came out with the following profound statement –
“Hey, Barefoot offered me a second Bloody Mary and it wasn’t even 6:30 in the morning and I sat here thinking of a reason why I should have another one and then I sat here thinking of a reason why I shouldn’t have another one and since I couldn’t think of a reason not to have another one, I had another one…”
Kwacha and I, dumbfounded by this logic, sat down in silence. And also had another one. In the face of such clinical clarity of logic, how could we not?
Later that morning Sharpie and Kwacha went off for a game drive. Barefoot and I settled into our camp chairs, chillin’ out and watching the river. He scanned the river with his binoculars and pointed to a fish eagle that had caught a fish and settled on the bank to eat it. The following set of pictures shows a second fish eagle flying in and starting to take interest in the first one’s fish.
The first fish eagle eventually took off with his fish but the second one followed him and started attacking the first in the air. The first fish eagle eventually dropped the fish, dived into the bush to collect it while the second fish eagle flew off empty handed.
That afternoon was spent preparing for the next day. We would be packing up and heading back down to South Africa via Beit Bridge. The mood was slightly somber as we contemplated two days of travel and the end of our holiday…
Sharpie had to do some handy work on his bakkie as he realised he had lost the back number plate, most likely crossing the river at some point.
In between all the planning and pre-packing we were making serious inroads into the remaining liquor so that we would not have to pack it for the trip home. It didn’t matter how much we consumed at this point, it was having minimal effect as our livers were obviously fine tuned filters after 3 and a half weeks practise!
Later that afternoon we went down to the river for our last bath. Shortly after we finished a herd of buffalo appeared on the opposite bank and moved quickly down to the river. We jumped into the vehicle and crossed the river to get a closer look. The minute we did so, the buffalo reversed their course and lumbered back into the tree line. This was another example of the very skittish nature of the animals in the park, hopefully something that will change over time as the park returns to normalcy.
The evening was very quiet that night as we all contemplated the past three weeks and our long journey. 48 hours from now we would be climbing into our own beds – something we were all looking forward to even though it would mean the trip was finally over…