After a peaceful night, listening to the sonorous hummimg of a giant eagle owl in the riverine trees downstream from our tents, and staring happily at the myriad stars through the high mesh windows of my tent, I sit writing my notes by the warmth of a campfire. Peter and Victor are already busy, the milk churn is warming bath water and a pot of coffee is brewing as the wintery lemon sunrises behind the ramparts of the Cliffs.
Thomas has heard lion and hyena calling distantly this last night.
The guests seem to be quite relieved not to have heard same!
Clive and Thomas gather the guests, and we proceed downstream on a walk, Thomas in the lead and sharing his gentle but extensive wisdom with our engrossed guests, David, his wife Raviro, son Solomon and daughter Ruvarashe.
All is of interest to Thomas, from the mud caked on a tree metres high, (an elephant rubbing post) to the old buffalo skull and jawbone that we find lying on the red earth (telling the months old story of a lion kill). He transmits his enthusiasm to all who listen…
We spend a fascinating morning, inspecting various animal scats, tracks and the stories therein, and seeing special birds such as the Bohm’ s spinetails, flying above us in tandem with Mosque swallows. We then observe a reptilian monster- a fifteen foot crocodile cruising just meters below us in the clear Runde river, as we hang, mouths agape, over him on the high bank.
Below him (or her?! ), the perfect circles of Tilapia nests, each guarded by large female fish, form abstract delights in the sand. Fish are everywhere, gentle spawning Tilapia and those fierce hunters, the Tiger fish. None seem too concerned by the leviathan hovering above them- do they know they are too nimble for serious pursuit?