I was out on an afternoon walk with the Castle family, on a typically beautiful afternoon here in the Selous. After our briefing on the general do’s and dont’s in order to ensure our safe return we headed off towards the Msini River. As the bush is greening up a little more every day, visibility in certain areas is not as far as we would like so one finds the “senses” come to life.
We hadn’t gone along very far and started talking about the Doum Palm and African Fan Palm fruit that is well loved and eaten by Baboons and Elephants alike. I noticed peering over a ridge were a few very curios ears and the most beautiful woolly faces, Waterbuck. They stared at us for quite a while and started trotting off showing their famous “toilet seat” marking. We continued along and crossed the river having a look at the “Swamp Monsters” They are Hippo bulls that lay in very muddy water hence the name.
As we crossed I reiterated that we need to be quiet to hear if there is any movement ahead of us nothing could possibly prepare the human mind to keep up with what happens next. There is the group of Waterbuck they slowly trot on, we started discussing elephant tracks that were very fresh, the sound of breaking branches rise from the bush as the herd of Water buck return in our direction running for their lives! It was seconds to see this and interpret, get to safety and see the reason these animals are so startled. Lions are hunting them ,right there you are in the hunting ground on foot. I backtracked very fast and silently as not to draw attention to our group. We saw the chase, heard the kill and were dumbstruck with how fast it all happened. I have been walking big game for twelve years and had never felt more alive when we heard the kill was successful and the familiar growls as each lion tries to claim his and hers peace of the pie (Waterbuck).
I would have loved to have captured some images of this but it was all over in the blink of an eye. As we continued we had a further encounter this time Elephants. They are not half as scary as what just happened and a lot more tolerant with people close by. We arrived to the warm welcome smile of Kessy with cold face towels .However I feel the large fresh Gin and Tonics were the completion of a truly memorable experience.