The Stench of Guts and Lions Teeth

Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
Trip End May 01, 2013

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Flag of Zimbabwe  ,
Sunday, November 4, 2012

4am - the unmistakable sound of a herd of large beasts stampeding towards our tents. Panic. Confusion. Fear. Then the camping table outside our table was crushed, the sound of snorting as large animals ran through our camp, heavy breathing right outside our tent, ripping and chomping of grass, more stampeding. Frozen with terror, we finally plucked up the courage to look out from our tent to be greeted with several large and excitable horses galloping around our tents, some eating grass, some running backwards and forwards, one particularly frisky stallion repeatedly mounting anything he could get his hooves on! We were relieved, bemused and intrigued all at the same time, as were the rest of our group! The 'playfulness' continued until the sun rose but we were pleased that no tents had been damaged and that it hadn't been a herd of elephant or a pride of hungry lions that had fancied playing amongst our tents!

We got up and showered to try and wake us up a bit and then at 9am we went off to the elephant interaction session just outside the camp. We watched with amazement as the trainers prompted the elephants to dance, play football and even speak! We were then allowed to feed the elephants and stroke their hairy leathery skin. They were so responsive and, believe it or not, so beautiful. Then, the crowning moment, we sat on the elephants left leg whilst stroking her trunk and feeding her and climbed on her back whilst she was sitting so that she could hoist us in the air! So high, and such an amazing experience!We thanked the trainers, who use 'positive reinforcement' rather than fear to train the elephants (thankfully!), and returned to camp where we walked and relaxed by the river ahead of our lion feeding session. When noon arrived, we headed off on a safari vehicle hoping that we wouldn't end up as lunch at the feeding! We had seen the footage from previous sessions and it looked ferocious!

Arriving at the enclosure, we secured our positions by the fence where several carcasses had been positioned - checking for any damaged links - and Vikki stated that she was going to leave her face really close to the wire when the lions arrived. That bravery soon ebbed away as the lions were released into the feeding enclosure and ran full tilt toward us and their yummy dinner! The fury was overwhelming, the four males demonstrating their desire to be the dominant male and securing the food before their fellow lions got a piece. Arriving at the food, the lions fought for the best morsels, one male stole some meat and retreated to the shadows where two others scrapped over the best pickings. It was pretty heavy going but amazing to see the sheer strength and power of these animals. Whether it was the flies, the smell of meat warming in the sun or the truly intimidating behaviour of the lions, one of our girls decided she had seen enough and promptly cancelled her lion walk scheduled for that evening. Vikki and I were mesmerised, if not a little concerned for James, our fellow trucker, who was getting a little too close to the fence for comfort!

When the feeding had calmed down we returned to the camp and chilled out ahead of dinner, amused that the miserable old couple were still taking every opportunity to whinge about the location of several of our tents to anyone that would listen....

Vikki was on cook group tonight so started chopping and cleaning some vegetables for a lurvely green bean salad, so whilst she chopped away I updated the travel blog. Hours laters, the whole cook group having chipped in, produced an African style macaroni cheese (i.e. not really macaroni but buttery pasta) and salad.

N.B. Mental note not ask for assistance with creating a roux else responsibility for the entire meal will be hijacked.

After dinner everyone moved to the bar area for a pub quiz instigated by Hannah, aka 'Quiz Mistress' who had set about creating a seven round, topic lead, quiz (Geography, Music, Literature & Arts, Food & Drink etc). With Paula in one team named 'Cream 4 Fun' and Vikki in another named 'Cunning Stunts' the session began with a healthy level of competition (i.e. a lot). The results were close and with intermittent 'physical challenges' forming a new age approach to a pub quiz, injuries became a part of the proceedings. With Tom from the Cunning Stunts running into trouble following a task to run around a truck over in the distance, in the pitch dark and against a member from each of the other teams, he misjudged the path coming back and instead of running the intended route jumped a fence thereby disqualifying himself from 1st place and at the same time cutting his hand and foot. Oh well....Vikki congratulated his efforts anyway.

As the final results were announced the Cunning Stunts were loud and self congratulating to the annoyance of every other team and its members, a bottle of vodka and red wine were awarded and the party moved to the camp fire over near the truck.
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Nutter on

Animals!!! x

scouski on

Thought you'd like to keep up to speed with the African wildlife and cuisine, Nutkins...x

annewardell on

Poor elephant, bet he's got an achy left paw.....!! PS: I told you the trailer-tent couple were bonkers...... Xxxxxx

Sue on

I reckon the old dears let the horses out...

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