Safari jargon:

  • A.L.T. – Animal-Like Thing. Refers to a false alarm sighting
  • African massage – bouncing in the safari vehicle
  • African Salute – animal turns its back to show you its butt
  • Loo with a view – Where we pee
  • Bushy bushy – Where we pee
  • Water the flowers – Woman pees
  • Check the tire pressure – Man pees

Early start today. On our way out of camp just after sunrise, we saw lion footprints from last night, one reason we are not allowed out at night and need escorts to return to our tents after dinner.

We drove around the park for three hours or so this morning. We saw a large troop of baboons, over 100, all walking along following the big male leader. Big ones, adolescents, many mothers carrying babies clinging to their stomach or riding on mom’s back. We saw many large herds of impalas, along with other antelopes. We found leopard tracks, but no leopard. We did see a herd of Cape Buffalo, the most dangerous of the Big Five, but they were kind of far, up a hill. Back to camp still wishing for big cats.

During the heat stupor of our midday siesta, the troop of baboons came through our camp, digging for insects in the brush. They were around our tent and one brazenly walked up the main pathway to the main lodge and took a drink from the yucky out-of-order pool.

After siesta, we headed out for the afternoon game drive. We drove around and around, didn’t see much of anything. Tsono, our driver/guide decided to try a different area. On our way there, we spotted a lone elephant, a big male, in the trees about 30 yards away. Usually, when we run across these animals, they either ignore us, or look at us to make sure we’re not a threat, then ignore us. They say the animals see the vehicle full of people as a unit and because they’ve seen these before, they have learned they’re not a threat. Big male elephant, however, did not like what he saw, stopped eating, and took a clearly threatening step toward us. Tsono started moving and elephant came out to the road and started following us, obviously not happy. When it was clear we were running away, he trumpeted and turned into the woods.

The sun was getting low. Tsono headed down to the river’s edge. We looked out at the herds of grass-eating species on the flood plain. Back to where we saw the buffalo three paragraphs ago. The herd was starting to move. Slowly, slowly coming down the hill, browsing the scrubby bushes as they came. Tsono positioned the vehicle near the shore of river in the path of the buffalo. As the first few animals came past the last set of bushes, about 40 yards from the shore, they stopped and eyeballed us. The first few brave buffalo walked down to the river past us on our right. More followed. Then the same thing happened on our left. Soon we were in the midst of the herd, surrounded by hundreds of these giant animals ambling down to the water. They waded across to the sweet green grass on the other side. The sun was setting, off in the distance a small troop of baboons was sitting at the river’s edge also watching the sunset. 

As the herd’s last stragglers were making their way past us, the elephant from two paragraphs ago appeared. Berv noticed dripping down his leg, a sign that he was in musth, a testosterone-loaded state of horniness, which explains his previous crankiness. He walked away from us to a mud hole and wallowed ferociously, spraying mud with his trunk, rolling and generally enjoying his mud bath.

By this time, it was past the park’s closing time, so we headed out.