I pass this on to all you illustrious ones on my blog roll! Yes you.
have a great weekend
Lori, Chuck and Lindy arrived in Chobe from California via South
Africa and Zimbabwe. Karen was freshly back from a UK trip, and I
stepped off the Zambezi Ferry in time for us all to connect - and
there we were. Face to face, greeting and hugging. It was as if the
mists had cleared allowing us all to step through our portals in
cyberspace and touch ground in the same place same time.
The mission was to visit the Kazungula Day Care center (more about
this on Karen's Border Town Notes) and deliver Lori's lovingly hand
crafted beanies to the children, together with a bag of donated goods
for the school brought as hand luggage half way around the world.
We were given a tour of the center including kitchens and menus,
bathroom with row of toothbrushes in plastic cups, and school books. A
small hand touched my arm as the kids ran by to take up their seats.
Here and there a hand to hold, tightly, a vigorous high five, smiles
and shy laughter - then the singing. Songs about numbers and colours
and days of the week - followed by 'this is my favourite day' and
'this little light of mine' led by the glorious Emeldah - head
teacher.Winter is setting in in this part of the world and the snug
woollen hats are arriving at the right time. A big thank you for
these Lori on behalf of the children!
and yes in case you are wondering as i did - Lori does seem to glow
with a golden light just as she appears in her blog! Karen of course
has angel DNA - Ive known about this for some time.
Later that evening, after dinner and starlight elephant viewing from
the fireside, we finally allowed our jetlagged cyber pals to call it a
day. Oh with one quick call to Angela from Letters from Usedom to
complete the circle. and yes Geli we are all VERY REAL!!
If my IT connection permits i shall upload some photos - but i loved
our connection on planet earth at Elephant Valley; and just hoping
this is the first of many meet ups as the blogosphere takes on a new
and more wonderful dimension. Blog on everyone xxx
So yesterday we drove slowly between the pans thinking we were alone,
save for an almost full moon that was rising fast in the evening sky.
Huge bulbous cumulus clouds turned rose pink in the evening light and
reflected sharply in the last pan, where a single blacksmith plover
stood watchfully. We turned for home.
Suddenly, as if everyone had decided to come out of hiding, we became
aware that we were surrounded by giraffe; beyond them was a vast herd
of elephants moving into the scene with some speed - swishing through
bushes and raising smells of pressed herbs from under their feet. The
giraffes made graceful arcs as the moon rose silver over their heads;
zebra trotted in; i could see impala looking bemused at the sudden
influx of visitors; a wildebeest or two kept their heads down; a bull
elephant shook an old acacia tree for seed pods. We were in the center
of a panoramic scene - the whole bathed in rich golden pink light. A
teenage elephant tests his power by charging a group of giraffe. They
take off in loping gate, startling the zebra who put in a sudden burst
of speed. The panic ripples through herds and finally settles.
The colour fades from the scene. The moon rises gaining silver
strength. The elephants move past all around us, munching steadily,
rumbling softely. Golden light leaves the grasses, climbs the trees
and releases itself into the evening air as the suns last rays dip
below the horizon. We head for home to watch the monochrome floodplain
and listen to lions calls reverberating through the night.
Driving out of town through the Chobe National Park - dark purple
curtains of rain drifted all around the landscape like elephants on a
moonlit plain. ooh err - were we going to get stuck in the mud again?
At Katchekow the road was washed away from the rain - just enough
space for one car to pass. Villages out at Satau are completely cut
off by floodwaters now - how will they be feeling about this winter
The clouds clear and we leave the rain belt - turning out onto the
park boundary - a wide cut line of sand tracks between the forest.
The sky is deep blue here, and everything washed clean by the rain -
leaves rejuvinated blaze a fresh green and rust orange bright against
The sand is our friend - the rain has made a hard surface to drive on.
But all the pans are full of water again. We porpoise in and out of
mini lakes - sending bow waves of peaty water surging in the sparkly
light. Slewing on slippery tracks here and there but managing to keep
Half way down the cutline is a pan with an ancient dark ebony tree
growing by the side of a termite mound, making a rampart into the
pan. We often stop here for leg stretches. Today a pack of wild dogs
are here, on a kill. We must be minutes behind the action because they
are only just dividing the spoils. Marbled patterned dogs with big
mickey mouse ears, twitter and flit around claiming torn strips of red
sinew, meat and membrane. Its a grisly scene, but the dogs are
excited. They move without hardly seeming to touch the ground,
skittering around the pan, ears and eyes flitting all around.
Something catches their attention in the mopane scrub beyond the pan.
One jumps and barks a warning. Like children playing Grand Mothers
Footsteps, they each approach inquisitively, yet wired for flight at
the slightest sound. As we watch, a huge male lion charges out of the
bush chasing the dogs. His body is like a barrel, his massive head
framed in a ginger and black mane which reaches down his chest.
The dogs flee to a safe distance which happens to be behind our
vehicle. The lion looks directly at us, wondering if he should chase
us too? his nostrils are wide and his head raised to pick up the
slightest scent; his mouth a wide black square full of teeth. `Its
strange that when a super predator looks in your general direction -
there is no question in your mind when he is focussed on you, and when
he is focussed on someone next to you. You know when its you. Theres a
sort of squirming in the pit of your stomach that reaches back to the
depths of vestigial memory.
He marks some bushes and vanishes back behind the mopane curtain. Two
steps and he is invisible again. The dogs take off down the cutline
ahead of us ready for the next kill.