Have had two very exciting walks, yesterday morning it was quite a strategic mission to decide firstly which way to set off, due to elephant feeding happily around camp. So my decision was to go down past the pool and look at the hippo pools below Banda 5. Well that most certainly didn’t go to plan, when an Old Grumpy African Buffalo bull, is just around a bend past some long grass, which has concealed him from your view, until you’re virtually standing right by him, observing as the hungry tsetse fly engorge themselves on his blood.
With a snort he swings round, staring at you as if you owe him money, eyes glaring along his nose, with both nostrils pointed at you, like a skeet shooter with his double barrel shotgun. Rifle in hand we back up ever so slowly, with grumpy staring at us, in a very polite manner, saying, “this path is already being used, find another.”
The rest of the morning walk however, went quite well and to plan.
Today’s walk was also with a lot of action; on the walk we could hear the high-pitched, whining call of a submissive hippo bull that has been in a confrontation with a more dominant bull. Now requesting permission to be left alone and to go on his way, however the dominant bull, instead wants to make his point, and intimidation is key. So by creating a standoff, and by confronting the submissive bull every time he wants to retreat or escape, he is making his point, that he is the dominant bull of the pool and pod. We then watched as the submissive bull made his escape rushing past us, water waking as he ran through it. A very impressive sight, when such a large mammal can run so quickly.
The adventure was not over, for when we decided to make our way home, we had two hippo barricades. The first was when I was planning to make a loop around and come back to camp from the same direction as the airstrip; unfortunately a hippo had another plan, causing us to walk along the Msini River, eventually crossing it at a dry, safe point. We had crossed successfully and started our incline up to camp, where we would come up past the waterhole in front of camp, well this was not to be, half way up, we needed to turn round, as another hippo had decided to come down the same path.
Third time successful, but we still needed to negotiate around an elephant before reaching camp.
Quite exciting, successive mornings.