11 June 2011

Log By Omma Moonfalk

Two days ago on the ninth of June 2011 Christopher McBride, Frobert, two trackers, my father and I headed out towards the Fly Camp. This is a camp out in the bush about eight kilometers away from the main Camp. We set out just as the day was dawning and crossed the river in a small boat to start our walk.

Thick tan grass filled the saturated areas that we passed. The dew on the blades of grass gleamed while the sun stood low. For a long while after we left the water’s edge the roars from the hippos were still intelligible. Almost every animal in the bush uses the hippo paths as roads and so did our group. Here and there were clusters of trees which grew on the anthills that provided their roots with drainage.

Suddenly a low whistle would make the whole group freeze and reach instinctively for our cameras. Somebody had spotted a herd of reddish puku or tan impala. For some time we saw little even of these. Then the ground rose.

The golden grass was quickly replaced by higher growth and even the occasional fruit tree. We came across feces and could recognize which was the elephants’ because it had eaten fruit from the marula tree. A buffalo had died in that area. The only thing left was the giant horns and the skull between them. Scavengers had long since cleaned away the rest.

The light was growing stronger. We were approaching a huge plain and everyone stopped dead because some wildebeest, uncommon in the area, had been spotted. Looking through braches and binoculars we could see them and carefully we proceeded forward. The animals must not be disturbed.

Being the one who was holding the best camera I found myself being sent out in front of the rest to take a picture. I tread lightly in the direction the pointed arms implied, hiding behind a tree and stepping out from that cover now and then to click my camera. Slowly the shapes before me grew clearer. All of a sudden I found myself crouching, almost alone, and staring at a shape that appeared to have stripes. A wildebeest is also dark brown, not black and white.

I crept back, sure that I had failed completely and only photographed zebras. However life went on and we soon got some nice pictures of a large heard of zebras, some puku and actually several wildebeest, all on that vast plain. We crossed it and came to some nice green trees. Nowhere else did we see so many animals. They had all come to the place where the grass was the sweetest.

Certain valleys had been burnt and the animals ate the ash. We followed buffalos that had gone through the valleys not long before us (fresh poo) but we never saw them. After stopping to have biscuits and water we followed a small bird that chatted and lead us to a bees hive. It wanted us to take the honey and leave it the bee-larvae but we marked the spot on the GPS and walked on.

After walking for around four hours we arrived at the Fly Camp where among others Christopher’s wife Charlotte and Frobert’s family were waiting. They had drifted down the river on a large boat and seen crocodiles, elephants and wild dogs on the banks. Together we all had a big brunch and then each chose a large tent to nap in. I fell asleep immediately and woke up just as we were leaving. The rich evening light shone on us while the large boat brought us back to the main Camp.

Later I checked the pictures and it turned out that I had been photographing wildebeest, in the beginning. While I was behind the tree they had moved and some zebra had taken their place!

The day ended with a shower, dinner and a campfire.

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