15 January 2013- Moremi NP, Botswana
Its a hot and sticky evening. We are camped right next to the river and listening to the hippos grunting and bellowing away. We were up very early again as we have been each day lately and were out in the beautiful morning- fantastic light and nice to be out when its cooler. Usually we go out for a drive in the morning then again in the late afternoon or evening but today we decided to stay put and enjoy the afternoon at camp. Olly spent a few hours under landy checking and greasing things and generally having a good look. I pottered around and played with photos and then started dinner early.
A few minutes before I started dinner we noticed a few monkeys around, leaping precariously from branch to branch as they do. We always keep a bit of an eye on them but these ones saw us coming! I had the chopping board out with our veggies and was just putting some water on the stove to boil when seemingly all hell broke loose! I heard Olly rustling and throwing things around in the front seat, I thought for a brief second he was annoyed and looking for something, just as I nearly asked him whats wrong I heard his voice on the other side of landy! A monkey was on the front seat and had helped himself to an egg straight from the carton, at least he didn’t take the ipad! We shut all the doors and said we must keep a good eye on these guys and a few seconds later I was lighting the stove to put water on the boil when a I looked over and saw one heading straight for the veg, which was literally an arms length away from me! I had a lighter in one hand, the gas going, the pan of water in the other and tried to run to shoo him away when he jumped from the table to the chair, knocking the whole lot over, water, cutlery, cups, plates, chairs and food went everywhere. He sat a few metres away happily munching on our veg! We watched them for the rest of the evening, they were our entertainment during dinner (which we carefully prepared one of us sitting with the food all times!). They are rather cute little things (and some of them were very young and small) jumping around, wrestling in the trees and on the ground, leaping from brach to branch in what seems impossible jumps, grooming one another- but cute or not I was shaking my fists at them when they where merrily eating what was to be our dinner.
We have been so enjoying Moremi NP, it is stunning. Small sandy tracks, so many animals and no people. This is our third day and we have still not run into any other cars. Being wet season and on the edge of the delta this area can be inaccessible at this time of year but we have been lucky and have had only a few drops of rain and no troubles with the tracks. Having said that the area we drove through today was much more muddy than sandy and we could see how easily the tracks could become a real problem, not to mention that they are literally a maze (with no signs) and go all over the place- a very good map and gps are necessary. We took quite a few tracks today that lead right into a swamp and had to reverse and try another one, then another one until we found our way to camp.
One of the highlights of our day, on the way to an elevated hippo hide, we came across a pack of African Wild Dogs. They were standing next to the road as we approached them and after having a sniff they sat down in the shade panting and dozing on and off. They are beautifully coloured and look so much like a domestic dog besides their giant round ears, but really these endangered wild dogs far from their domestic counterparts and are the most successful hunters in Africa.