02 August 2012

Day 10. Afternoon and evening.

On the way back to the Royal Zambezi from the village visit, we saw some hippos on the shore. When our boat came near, some of them decided to go into the water.



These two guys stayed on shore. But where are the others? Under the water somewhere.


We had a nice, lazy afternoon to enjoy the Royal Zambezi. From our tent we could hear the hippos bellow. They bellow all night too. We'd hear other animal sounds too at night, I think we heard a lion roar once, or a hyena call.

I did a last photo tour so that I'd have reminders of our tent and the lodge. Here is the view from the deck of our tent. The low wall you see is just above the swimming pool and then to the right, the bar. That's John sitting there talking to Doug.

the bar from our tent

Our deck:

our deck

This is the door to our tent (where our "knock knock" call came each morning). Note that locks on lodge units are not necessary out in this remote area. We did have a room safe for our passports and cash, so that we did not have to carry them on daily activities.

door to our tent

Our short walk to the lodge. Short, but at night, we had to be escorted by our guide.

Royal Zambezi

The view of the lodge as we get closer on the walk from our tent. To the left is the river, to the right is a long stairway up to the jeeps and the way out to civilization.

Royal Zambezi

The steps out:

Royal Zambezi

The photo below is of two of the boats. The ones we took seated 8 people, but they looked like these boats. Some people come to the lodge just to fish.


John and Doug at the bar:


The pool is right next to the bar. It was way too chilly this time of year to swim. We had to ask for extra blankets at night.


A view of the lodge from the bar area:

Royal Zambezi

Looking through the lodge (my back was to the river) at the steps up to the jeeps:


Those steps were about the only exercise we got on the entire trip.

One of the large alcoves of the lodge:

Royal Zambezi

Lodge area:

Royal Zambezi

Royal Zambezi

At 4 pm we climbed down into a boat and went for a sundowner. I left the camera behind. This time, I'm out only to enjoy the here and now.

One of our tour mates did not have a good photo of an open-mouthed hippo yet, so we spent some time chasing down the perfect hippo. That was a fun challenge, because if they smelled or saw you, they'd immediately duck down in the water. On the shore, we saw a bushbuck, a type of antelope that we had not yet seen on the trip.

We landed on an island and had our drinks and snacks. A cape buffalo herd was on the island, a viable, breeding group. Simeon and I talked about the sustainablity of the herds of elephants in national parks like Chobe, where the animals are eating all of the vegetation. Maybe the herds need to be culled, but if locals try to do that, international groups get wind of their plans and cry at the outrage of killing elephants. It was an eye-opening talk, and once again I was impressed with Simeon's knowledge.

We were greeted with amarula on our return to the lodge. This is a cream liqueur made from the fruit of the African marula tree. It is a favorite of our tour guide and at least one of our tour mates. It was lovely!

Dinner that night was a traditional braai, or barbecue. We lingered awhile after dinner, then made our way back to our tent. I'd been inside for just a few minutes when I heard a lot of crashing outside. I looked out, and there was an elephant! And we thought they were kidding about needing a guard! A couple of our tour members were walking on the path when the elephant went by. After the initial startle, they walked slowly backwards to the lodge.

Ah, Africa. Wish we could stay.

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