Thursday, December 29, 2017
We had to pack up last night and put our checked luggage outside the door at 6am. We scurried around, trying to make sure we had the items that we needed close at hand in our carry on bags. We were so limited in how much we could bring along, both in weight and size, that it is a challenge every time we need to repack.
Those storm clouds we saw last night brought rain. There was still a light drizzle this morning. We donned some rain ponchos and headed out for our final drive at this camp. By the way, it’s hot here and those ponchos just made it worse. We were so happy when the rain stopped.
Besides elephants and impalas, we got to see a couple of nyalas, and a blue wildebeest (gnu) resting in the midst of a large herd of impala. He obliged us by standing up and looking at us. There are two species of wildebeest, the black and the blue. The black wildebeest has a white, long horse-like tail, and a dark brown or black coat. The blue wildebeest, which is far more common, is brown a tawny brown, but becomes more bluish gray as an adult, and it has a dark tail.
We found some giraffe bones, but alas, no giraffes. We did, however, see another female leopard. She is not the same one we saw on our first day. Like any big cat, the leopard is territorial. This particular leopard was walking and marking her territory. She would growl occasionally to let any other leopards who might be in earshot know that this was her space.
There was a herd of male impalas nearby. When the first impala spotted the leopard, he started snorting. This snorting serves a dual purpose – to warn the rest of the herd and to let the leopard know she had been spotted. A healthy impala can easily escape a leopard if it’s aware of one. Basically, the impala is taunting the leopard, Soon, the other males were snorting and even following the leopard to warn it away. At the same time, we saw a vervet monkey in a nearby tree. The monkey was making quite a ruckus, warning any members of its group of the danger on the ground.
Following this morning’s drive, we were taken to the airport to catch a flight to our next destination, Mashatu Lodge in Botswana. We were all boarded and ready to go when the crew discovered a little problem with the fuel pressure, so we got off again. Fortunately, they were able to correct the problem, although we took off about two hours late again.
The crew was kind enough to set up a little “tea” for us, with waters or soda, and snack bars.
There were no further issues and we landed safely. We then rode to the camp in open air vehicles. It was a 40 minute drive in blistering heat. I was not doing well by the time we reached the camp so decided to skip tonight’s game drive. Tomorrow, I will bring my Gatorade along. Mark was under the weather too, possibly a cold coming on, so he stayed back as well. We’re both disappointed because we don’t want to miss a thing. As a small consolation, we did finally see some giraffes (lots of them) on the ride to the camp.