Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hwange National Park

One of my wishes when I was a kid was to see African animals in their natural environment. I was in a hostel in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, when I met someone who made my wish come true. He had the bakkie (truck, 4x4), the tent, all the camping equipment & was looking for someone to share the costs with.  I quickly said: "Yes, please!". 
We spent 7-8 days in Hwange National Park & 1 day visiting the Victoria Falls. (Mosi-oa-Tunya, in the local language.)
Every morning, we made a "safari" on the trails of the park and spend a couple of nights deep inside the park. 

One time, our bakkie staled in the middle of lion territory. Scary My friend took a knife & bravely walked to last night's camping ground, were he was sure we would get help. I remained in the 4x4, the door open (it was SO hot!), eyes & ears on the look out for potential danger. I though: "Well, if there's a lion, I just close the door & I'll be ok.....but what if it's an elephant? I'm screwed! It can easily smash the truck up if it fancied, with me in it. Oh, God, I hope he returns soon with help." Eventually, all went well as I'm here writing about it all.  On that occasion, like many others, we came back to main camp a bit late & were told off by the guard. 

There's nothing scarier than when you find yourself alone in the ablution block (next to the said fence!) and hear a lion roar close by (it sounded like it was just next to me!) when you know that a flimsy wire fence separates us from the wild. "What do I do if it comes close? I close the door. Shit! It's just a screen door and it's ripped. OMG!" 
Or coming face to face with a hyena in the dark.  It's wicked laugh is bone chilling.
Or being fake-charged by a huge one-tusk elephant bull. "Wait! Wait! I want a closer picture!" I said."Forget it!" my friend quickly replied with fear in his eyes.
Or, on the tamer side, seeing a chameleon on a branch nearby, doing it's signature walk. "Do I go forward? Or I go backwards."
Still there is nothing more exhilarating either. 
Finally, I was in the Africa of my dreams!