“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Day 1 - First sunset game drive

Most of the camp mates are David Plummer's students and so spend some of their free time having photography lessons with him before heading out in their truck ahead of us in ours. Such a luxury to have a customized truck, complete with beanbags, all to ourselves. George is an incredibly knowledgeable guide, as I'm sure they all are, but he's also a very easy going guy with a great sense of humour. We set off amidst a rainy thunderstorm and saw plenty of zebra, wildebeest and impala before stumbling upon a pride of lion with cubs having a standoff with a bunch of not-very-happy buffalo. George got us in so close we had an awesome view of everything as it unfolded. Caroline was simply stunned into excited silence.
As the light faded we ventured off to find a safe spot to drink our "sundowners" and take a pee which became known from the start as "checking the tyres". We had not long finished checking them when 3 black-backed jackal trotted out of the bushes behind the van and passed by right in front of us... the one time all day I had a beer in my hand instead of a camera! typical.
Just as George was done telling us about his family back home, he spotted a hyena chasing a baby wildebeest on the horizon - he grabbed my camera and managed to fire off a couple of blurry shots as we threw everything and ourselves back in the van and set off in hot pursuit. The baby had been separated from its mother and was wildly galloping towards a group of zebra (a "dazzle" in fact as we later came to learn)... thankfully for the foal he reached the safety of numbers before the hyena reached him.
With the sun well and truly down and dinner time fast approaching we headed back to camp for hot bucket showers and a gorgeous 3 course dinner followed by Amarula night caps and some campfire laughter. Unfortunately though, despite it being only 1030pm and after 2 nights with very little sleep, my luck was not about to change; a combination of Caroline's excited chatter, and subsequent exhausted snoring, sleep was tricky. When I finally did manage to nod off I was woken soon after by the sodding Hippo munching right outside the tent. Grrrrr.

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