Archive for 28. February 2011

Somewhat back to basics

Monday, 28. February 2011

After a good 4 hours drive we did arrive at Madikwe, a game reserve next to the border to Botswana.

The gate did radio the camp, so a ranger would pick us up at the park administration, a 20 minutes drive into the reserve.

If we would have told our domestic workers or the complex staff what we were heading for, they would perceive us being completly nuts. Paying money to stay in a bush camp with no electricity, and no running water.

Monique was more worried about the fact that leaving our car behind meant her potential retreat – sleeping in the car if she didn’t sleep a wink in a partially open wooden cabin in an unfenced camp – has ended in smoke. The fact that the ranger did carry a rifle did only appease for the ride in the open bush taxi.

There actually was an electric wire around the camp to prevent elefants (and giraffes) entering.  But anything lower had free access. Only the access to, and the ablutions itself were fenced. When the fire was down (after 10:00 pm) one should not leave the cabin – even for exigence. Hence there were two special pots provided in the cabins.

Connectivity was so weak, that after the first night the battery of my cell phone was flat.

Good stuff ! No electricity, no recharging.

Hence is was really a leave. Since the office wouldn’t be able to reach me, and I was not tempted to continue working.

Sleep was light, so the wake-up call by the camp manager didn’t need support by the snarling blaze at the donkey boiler.

Water would be boiling once we were back from the 4 hours morning game drive. But then usually breakfast was already waiting, so time for a shower only afterwards.

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“Don’t get to close with the camera !”

Madikwe – first impressive sightings

Monday, 28. February 2011

Our bush experience in Madikwe started rather amazing.
First sighting: Buffalos,
which immediately were dispersing
and hiding in the bush.

A little bit later –
an elefant bull in must.
Johnny’s (our ranger) comment, when he recognised the “oncoming traffic” in the distance: “Oh, there is my friend. He did chase me yesterday”.
An experience which didn’t  make him stop, but he was approaching the bull. Which in turn was clearly stating “This is my way” by shaking his head and flapping his ears. Only when being that close that it was doubtless the elefant was not giving way, Johnny pulled back – meter by meter, step by step. Finally the elefant was bored by that game and turned towards the bush.
Passing the elefant we understood why Johnny was playing this game. He wanted us to encounter elefant in must smell. It stinks, miles against the wind! And the following days we could smell by ourselves when a potentially dangerous elefant was somewhere around, even we couldn’t see him.

Of course there were the usual zebras, impalas, wildebeest, …

But if the bull in must was not enough Johnny pulled of the road, and there they were: an older crowd of lions. All relaxed, and – looking at their bellies – obviously well fed.

But if there were not the two other guest on the car?
Who knows, Monique may have freaked out.

They – the lions – were so close!
Not even 10 meters away.