“BUSHNIGHT” – It was to be an adventure of a lifetime!!!
We, myself Jonathan and Louise, set off for a Bush Night on a calm, slightly overcast and mildly warm afternoon. We had just finished a delightful afternoon Coffee & Tea and were ready for our evening out “camping” …. Heading towards the Msine River just below camp and downriver from the spring and Hippo Pool.
We crossed the river, fairly uneventful, enjoying the various birds along the Dume Palm forest. As we were about to cross the riverbed again I heard some Banded Mongoose. We proceeded slowly into the riverbed and stood in silently, waiting for these little creatures to show themselves …. minutes passed and no Mongoose …. We continued slowly along the base on the riverbank, when I heard a noise, a very familiar noise right above us amongst the palms …. it was the noise made when an elephant is tearing off palm leaves …. we backtracked to find an alternative route out, only to be blocked by an elephant feeding towards the riverbank. In “orderly haste” we moved back across the river and up the opposite bank. Now, having a clear view of what was happening on the other side we could enjoy a perfect sighting of three elephant feeding on palm leaves.
The elephants started to move into the river, and three elephanta suddenly became a herd, a fairly large herd for this area, as we stood in awe of these amazing creatures moving silently towards the springs.
We quietly moved away, leaving the herd to slip away in silence to go and quench their thirst. Close to camp we came across some zebra, who very politely seemed to hang around long enough for us to get some great pictures.
Arriving in camp Just in time for “sundowners” I showed Jonathan & Louise their accommodation for the night, which to their delight was a little more than they’d expected. Whilst sitting in their tent enjoying their sunset drinks a small elephant herd came feeding into the camp, right in front of their tent!!!! Needless to say, a brief anxious moment occurred as the matriarch stared straight into the tent and then turned and led her family around the border of camp.
The night was filled with sounds of Thick-tailed Busbabies crying, Hyena whooping and a Leopard coughing close to camp.
We set off for a short morning walk and had a wonderful sighting of a Buffalo bull sleeping in the Msine River, completely oblivious to our presence.
After a delightful breakfast back in camp we set of for our “bumble” back to main camp. Apprehensively approaching the crossing where we had seen the elephants the day before, we were rewarded with the antics of a group of Samango Monkeys leaping amongst the Dume Palms and a big family of Banded Mongoose foraging along the Msine River.
We crossed the river, thankfully with no more “close encounters” and headed for the Hippo Pool. The pool was filled with various small groups of Hippo, all nudging together as close as possible.
Sitting there quietly, we had some incredible photographic opportunities as the group mingled about, shuffling for the best spot in the pool, babies climbing around the backs of adults and two lone bulls moving about to the side of the main group.
Then, as “Murphy” would have it, a small group of elephants came browsing along the riverbank on the same side as us. We huddled together, hippos at our back and flank and elephants in front of us … very close !!! The picture says it all…
Sneaking out of the “hide” after the elephants had moved on, we quietly crossed back over the Msine River and up the far bank back towards camp. We were rewarded with a nice fresh cold face towel and a well-deserved “beverage” upon our arrival back in camp ….
Jonathan & Louise …. well done!!!! A day in your life’s that will linger for some time.