We often get asked “ are there many snakes around here” followed by I don’t want to see them I hate snakes. For an old snake lover like myself it is a challenge to try and “cure” this fear simply because snakes are not mindless killing machines that lie and wait to bite us. On the rare occasion we have someone who is truly interested ,you go for days and there is not one snake to be seen. However this morning I took out Neil and Penny on their last morning drive after five amazing days of game viewing and little did we know what a morning we are in for…..
Neil is a snake lover of noted reputation having kept a lot of snakes himself, he even has a Puff Adder bite on his leg to prove his passion for these beautiful reptiles. We discussed our morning route, so they wouldn’t have to drive the same tracks I decided to take them North from camp passed the old airstrip towards the main Kibonde road. I mentioned there is a lion pride in these parts we refer to as the “Phantoms” they always leave tracks but are never seen. So with our passions and interests packed we headed out .Plains game and birds were everywhere, and we dawdled along slowly taking in everything around us when Saning’o sat up straight with a face well- fear is the word that comes to mind and before I could ask ,WHAT? I saw him, a two meter something Black Mamba (my second one this season). The Mamba was trying to cross the road and I gave him all the space he wanted, mean time Neil and I were jabbering like two monkeys in a tree about how lucky we are to see this beautiful elusive creature. After he crossed the road I got in position to take a few snaps to which the snake was most helpful giving us some very nice postures. After about fifteen minutes we left the Mamba climbing into a Long Pod Cassia.
So on we go with our spirits now high, we drive on and then there ahead sit about fifty Vultures some on the ground others in the trees. I think this is worth investigating so I approach carefully and glimpse Lions running away, I turned off the engine and decide to give them a moment to decide what they want to do almost as the engine went silent they stopped and returned to the tree where they were lying and then we see the secret …………a Wildebeest kill. The first thing I could silently mutter is these are the Phantoms Yippee!! We spent almost a hour sneaking closer every twenty minutes or so till they allowed us about forty meters away for which I was very grateful. They are Magnificent , we got some great shots and left them feeding quite obliviously to our departure but I had my sighting of our most secret pride in our area. YEAH!!
Now the bush is a strange place… why? Love all nature shows you and she will let you in on her most intimate secrets and show you more than you can hope for. We haven’t seen a male lion yet was a reply from Penny and would you know it ten minutes after she said that, BOOM, right next to the road under a bush the big male of the three musketeers, astonishing I could not believe it.
Some people will call it luck others call it flook… I call it the Magic of Selous to be found nowhere else……….