… and the Fat Lady Sings

Duration : 24 days

Countries : South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique

Distance : 7011 km

Photos : 2209

So, there we were, 24 days later – Go There Come Back – and we were back, back where we started. Its 5 weeks since we returned and the trip already seems to have faded to grey (no, not 50 shades of…)

I miss it. I miss being able to wake up in the morning with the sounds of nature all around the tent, birds, hippos, chatter of monkeys. I do not miss, however, the epiglottal gargling and snorting that emanated from within the tents. Well, not too much, anyway.

I miss sitting beside the Zambesi as it powers through on its way to the ocean. I miss the sunrise and the sunset, unspoilt by signs of humanity. The silence that is never actually silent, where the gaps between the predator’s nocturnal dominance is filled by the endless variety of insects.

The bush that is real bush where vehicles are actually outnumbered by animals.

Where you can walk where ever you want to. Where nature rules.

The camaraderie, the jokes, the disgusting variety of gaseous emissions which are actually more funny and ridiculous than anything else, Bloody Marys for breakfast, game drives, braais, sundowners, the cry of the fish eagle, the shake of the elephants head when you’re too close, the unwavering stare of the buffalo, the twitch and leap of the impala, the sound of diesel bakkies in the cool morning, the taste of an ice cold beer at lunchtime, hot coffee with a twist in the morning, friendly smiling locals, G&T’s next to the pans, hippos in the morning and in the day and in the night and in the river and on the land, catching the hyena in a spotlight only two metres away, elephants walking through the camp, lion lying outside the camp, the stars at night, afternoon naps under the trees…

I don’t miss the driving at night, the devastation of the natural resources, the over-population, the border posts, the police stops – but I embrace these as parts of the journey that bring balance to the whole.

Until the next trip, which can’t come soon enough…

Eye Say Cheers!

Below is a list of the animals and birds (thanks to Kwacha and Johno) that we saw along the way. I’ll be the first to admit that if I had compiled the bird list there would probably only have been four or five on it…

Name Location
African Fish Eagle Mana pools
African Grey Hornbill Mana pools
African Hoopoe Mana pools
African Jacana Mana pools
African Openbill Mana pools
African Paradise-Flycatcher Malawi
African Pied Wagtail Mana pools
African Sacred Ibis Mana pools
African Skimmer Southern Luangwa
African Spoonbill Mana pools
African Wood Owl Mana pools
Arrow-marked Babbler Mana pools
Bateleur Mana pools
Black-headed Heron Mana pools
Black-headed Oriole Mana pools
Blacksmith Lapwing Mana pools
Black-winged Stilt Mana pools
Blue Waxbill Southern Luangwa
Bronze-winged Courser Gonorazhou
Brown-hooded Kingfisher Mana pools
Burchell’s Sandrouse Gonorazhou
Cape Turtle-Dove Mana pools
Cattle Egret Mana pools
Comb Duck Mana pools
Common Sandpiper Mana pools
Common Scimitarbill Mana pools
Crested Barbet Gonorazhou
Crested Francolin Mana pools
Crowned Hornbill Mana pools
Crowned Lapwing Mana pools
Dark-capped Bulbul Mana pools
Eastern Nicator Mana pools
Egyptian Goose Mana pools
Emerald-spotted Wood Dove Mana pools
Fork-tailed Drongo Mana pools
Giant Kingfisher Mana pools
Glossy Ibis Mana pools
Goliath Heron Mana pools
Great Egret Mana pools
Greater Flamingo Gonorazhou
Green-backed Heron Mana pools
Grey Go-away-bird Mana pools
Grey Heron Mana pools
Grey-headed Bush-Shrike Gonorazhou
Hadeda Ibis Mana pools
Hamerkop Mana pools
Helmeted Guineafowl Mana pools
Hooded Vulture Mana pools
Jameson’s Firefinch Southern Luangwa
Kittlitz’s Plover Mana pools
Laughing Dove Mana pools
Lilac-breasted Roller Mana pools
Lillian’s Lovebird Southern Luangwa
Little Bee-eater Mana pools
Little Egret Mana pools
Malachite Kingfisher Southern Luangwa
Marabou Stork Mana pools
Meves’s Starling Mana pools
Meyer’s Parrot Gonorazhou
Natal Spurfowl Mana pools
Ostrich Gonorazhou
Pied Kingfisher Mana pools
Purple-crested Turaco Malawi
Red-billed Hornbill Mana pools
Red-billed Hornbill Mana pools
Red-billed Oxpecker Mana pools
Red-billed Quelea Mana pools
Red-billed Teal Mana pools
Reed Cormorant Southern Luangwa
Saddle-billed Stork Mana pools
Senegal Coucal Mana pools
Southern Ground-Hornbill Mana pools
Southern White-crowned Shrike Mana pools
Spotted Eagle-Owl Mana pools
Spur-winged Goose Southern Luangwa
Three-banded Plover Mana pools
Trumpeter Hornbill Mana pools
Water Thick-knee Mana pools
White Stork Mana pools
White-browed Scrub-Robin Malawi
White-browed Sparrow-Weaver Mana pools
White-crested Helmet-shrike Mana pools
White-crowned Lapwing Mana pools
White-fronted Bee-eater Mana pools
White-headed Vulture Mana pools
Wood Sandpiper Mana pools
Yellow-billed Egret Mana pools
Yellow-billed Stork Mana pools
Name Location
African Buffalo Mana Pools
African Elephant Mana Pools
African Wild Dog Gonorazhou
Baboon Mana Pools
Banded Mongoose Mana Pools
Black-backed Jackal Mana Pools
Blue Wildebeest Gonorazhou
Bushbuck Mana Pools
Common Warthog Mana Pools
Crocodile Mana Pools
Dwarf Mongoose Gonorazhou
Eland Mana Pools
Giraffe Southern Luangwa
Greater Kudu Mana Pools
Hippopotamus Mana Pools
Honey Badger Mana Pools
Impala Mana Pools
Leopard Southern Luangwa
Lion Mana Pools
Nyala Gonorazhou
Plains Zebra Mana Pools
Puku Southern Luangwa
Red Duiker Gonorazhou
Roan Antelope Gonorazhou
Rock Hyrax Gonorazhou
Spotted Hyena Mana Pools
Tree Squirrel Mana Pools
Vervet Monkey Mana Pools
Waterbuck Mana Pools

Here is a map showing the route that we took with the major stops shown.


6 thoughts on “… and the Fat Lady Sings

    • Hey Laur!!!

      Good to hear from you and glad you enjoyed our little sojourn through Africa… I think your man should join us next year, I’m sure he is an absolute master of the long drop! 🙂


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