13 January 2013- Moremi National Park, Botswana
What a perfect day. I’m almost giddy and feel so content and excited with the day. We are camped under a large tree with another large tree right next to us, a sausage tree, that has huge (4kg!) seed pods hanging down precariously, looking as though they could drop at any moment . I can hear a few hippo grunting from the water nearby and we are getting dinner ready, pasta.
We left Maun this morning after doing a few bits in town, after about 30 km the paved road ended and we bumped our way onto a large dirt road, somewhat sandy and corrugated but fine. We went along that for an hour or so to a spot where off to the left veered a smaller road signposted Moremi so left we went. We bumped along a further hour or so towards the national park, which has no fences so we started seeing animals well before we hit the park- giraffe, buck, warthog and an elephant. At the entrance we signed in as required and no one else had signed in for two days and only one family the day before that. The ranger said there is a fair bit of water on the road and it would take about 2.5 hours to get to our camp site, Third Bridge. As soon as we left the ranger station we pulled out onto a two wheel sandy track and smiled at each other, fantastic!!
We arrived at camp five hours later after just the best day! This place is so beautiful! We have been puttering along the small sandy track all the while, slowly enjoying it all and often stopping and turning off the engine to look and listen to the sound of hippo, birds and at times catch a very welcome breeze. We have seen so much today! The landscape is just stunning, water everywhere of course, being the edge of the delta. Some areas of tall grass, some wooded area and some of rather open grassy areas with low shrubs. Water being the dominant feature- tributaries everywhere full of birds and water lilies not to mention hippo.
We have seen a few dozen elephant, heaps of impala (large herds), zebra, dozens of giraffe, red lechwe, a buck new to us called tsessebe warthog, thousands of birds, wildebeest, and heaps of hippo- some just ears or eyes sticking up, some getting out of the water and at one point we came across three where the track went close to the water. They were lounging around amongst the water lilies each with a bird on its back, one of them didn’t take any notice of us but the other two were watching us carefully and then did some very threatening yawns to let us know we were not to come closer (we didn’t intend to). I can see why thats their warning, its pretty intimidating and if we weren’t in landy it would certainly warn me off!
We came around a small bed in the track and I suddenly involuntarily gasped and grabbed Ollys arm hard. In front us us were three large male lions all looking right at us in that way they seem to do- almost looking through you! They were lounging under a tree a metre or two from the track, we stopped right next to them and watched them for well over an hour, we laughed later that its funny how watching animals that are not doing much can still be so thrilling and mesmerising. Lions are just so magnificent- they are lions!! When we first pulled up next to them we had the window down and of course rolled it up half way- the one nearest to us sat up, watched us intently and then shifting ever so slightly back, he was a little uneasy at our presence. After that we felt ok with the window down, it became obvious they were only intending to snooze and it seemed very unlikely they would suddenly rise and come to us.
L & O