Ok so we but first a quick stop at the Painted Dog reserve...
It was not really that exciting to be honest an animal shelter with two dogs. But the painted dogs are just another species in jeopardy here in Zimbabwe. Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are unique to Africa and they are among this continent's most endangered species. It is estimated that less than 7,000 remain in the wild. The Painted Dog population in Zimbabwe is one of the last strongholds of the species and we are committed to their conservation. Our conservation methods and our work with the local communities are beginning to have a positive effect on the outlook of the Painted Dog species.
We then made our way to Hwange National Park where Ian (the rhino whisperer) was going to be meeting us there and taking us on some safari game drives. Turns out his jeep had some technical difficulties so he wouldn't be arriving on time. In Africa this can mean everything from an extra hour to it probably just isn't going to happen at all. But you never know. After lunch we became doubtful or at least bored as there was nothing much to do in the camping section of the park. So we walked to the park's little bar/restaurant and did what any bored person might do and drink....ha ha ha
Italian Ladies club split some wine and in the end our patience near the front entrance pays off and we finally spot Ian. We hop in his jeep and ride back to meet the group and be on our way. The park has strict rules about being out past dark and so while we will not be able to do a full drive Ian and his companion take us out and we are still able to catch some wonderful animals and views.
Lovely waterhole with the perfect light to capture the elephants!
The sun was starting to set....
So we needed to start heading back but got to see a bit more before we got to the gate!
Some kudus, and wilder beast.
Check out this guy's antlers!
Sun is fading fast!
But wait there are some giraffes with different patterns and colorations then we saw in the Serengeti in Tanzania!
This is how you do it Boys! (Awkward)
Now the moon has come out it was as if the sun and moon were on strings like you would see at a children's play. One went down and the other immediately popped up!
Now after dinner Ian tells us we can take an optional ride in the land rovers at night. We can't drive through the park but we can drive around the perimeters and look for some fun creatures at night! So it is really cold at night in the jeep so we bundle up with sleeping bags and beers. Cool Aussie Nancy is sporting her onsie that is essentially a grownup tigger costume and has front seat. Tigger, I mean Nancy is awesome because she stands and guides this flood light back and forth in search of glowing eyes! We spot what is essentially a type of deer that is so tiny even full grown. I forget its name. Then Ian asks if we have seen flying baboons? He spots a few and immediately starts chasing them with the jeep (and us in it) howling at them. We drive them up the tree and then they start jumping and flying from all over. After that bit of fun we resign to the fact that we won't see much else and so Ian takes us to a nearby human waterhole.
Then all of a sudden it is there! A huge male lion crosses the road right in front of us. Pauses at our jeep and the annoying flood light. Looks right at us and continues to cross into the bush! Super cool!
We meet at this kinda poshy hotel for a drink at the bar. We get scotch mixed with Amarula...the South African cream liqueur (kinda reminds me of Baileys). I went to use the bathroom but the Thom went outside on the lawn with group and said he saw some more impala and elephant. They also heard a lion in the distant. We return to camp and happily sit around a great fire (it was a log of teak wood!!! I know right???) talking and listening to stories and knowledge of life in the bush from Ian. We are sooooo tired that Thom and I finally decided to turn in. Just as we are about to go to sleep, we hear Ian in a loud whisper "It's a Honey Badger!" followed by the running and scuffling of footsteps.... We passed on the chase because well we were already in the tent with shoes off and in our sleeping bags...also you know honey badger don't give a s!@# anyways...lol
The next morning we ate breakfast ( that teak is still burning/smoking btw) and Ian picked us up for one more drive. We didn't see too much but there were some fun birds along the way. I personally am not a big bird watcher here in the states and I find most birds kind of boring. But in Africa they are amazing and beautiful! Here are only a few.
We were tracking a lion but never found him. Back to the waterhole.
Love this picture of Thom with Bob and Christine (the Floridians)
Oh a hippo.... ( can you tell we are spoiled now...) And in the distance you can see a croc too!
Lots of warthogs...I mean Pumbas! Ian does this call that sounds like a dying pig and it scares them away...Tails up boys!
He keeps saying that he can talk to them but they keep running.
Finally his call works and they stop and stare at us for a bit...he he he..
Once again on our way out we happen to see something amazing and kind of rare right in front of us crossing the road! (It's not just for chickens you know)
A family of Ostrich! Mom, Dad and Babies!!!
Mom heads into the bush and Dad pushes the little ones along..."Nothing to see here kids just another bunch of tourists with their cameras..."
Mom takes the babies into the bush but Dad keeps and eye out! "That's right humans you stay right there....I got my eye on you!"
"And don't even think about following us!"
Next stop Victoria Falls...where you thought jumping into a gorge was about as exciting as it could get there....but oh no, let's wait to find out in this upcoming final African post how Kelly and Thom brought Jersey RAGE to the country of Zimbabwe and made it out to tell you about it.....Don't worry after the screaming and kicking it does have a nice ending....