Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shingwedzi - Day Five


Day Five: After having slept soundly, with no sound of anything wild out there, we woke to a large contingent of ants moving across the ground. They were very busy moving larvae and what looked like mongoose droppings. How regimented and dedicated to their duty! Within about five minutes of us being up they had cleared up and moved from our spot.



Needless to say, they had also attracted some attention from people buzzing around the ablutions, one of whom was the voice from the night before and while we were having breakfast "You missed one over there," Gordon pointed out , "You had better find out who THAT belongs to and tell them to take it with them." With a quick scurry there was a disappearing act and we never saw or heard anymore on the issue.

(This photo is of the "solo" vehicles spot)

Our group leader had also been intrigued by the ants and hastily said that he was just coming to confirm that we would be leaving at 08:30. Well, I will not repeat the entire conversation (and it wasn't  rude or nasty, just stating the facts), but a few red faces were left standing, and the message had been put across that there is a right way and a wrong way of dealing with issues, and the wrong way had been chosen, which leaves a bitter taste.

And so we went about our business packing and cleaning etc., when a sense of movement caught our eye and there, on the march, was the ant patrol!

video

About fifteen minutes before we had to leave it was noticed how Gabriel (the campsite attendant) had been digging the area where the pipes and drains meet to try and find the blockage that had caused the flooding outside the ablutions. Johan, our guide, Nigel and a couple of other chaps rolled up their sleeves and knuckled down to what was somewhat dirty work, but they managed to get the problem sorted out and Gabriel was left with a broad smile on his face and handshakes of appreciation all round.   (Some pictures of the unusual wild flowers in the area)

We left at 09:00 as originally arranged, much to some people's discontent, I'm sure! Would we make the "intended camp"? 
Johan took us off the beaten track and into real wilderness, passing several pans where giant waterlilies grow, their flowers as broad as dinner plates.
 
There is water in these pans all year round due to the waterlily population and are well used watering holes by the animals.
We came to a section en route where a terrorist attack had taken place some twenty-five to thirty years ago.  Something that should never have happened but did.  We were encouraged not to touch anything, especially any ammunition.  The sight of this brought to mind the days when our boys - sons, brothers, friends - were sent to the army and deployed to the borders of South Africa.  Lives taken in such heartless manner.  Johan's account of what happened was very descriptive and most touching indeed. 

We moved on with a little sadness in our hearts caused by the reality of what warfare does to families, all in the name of "freedom".  Your "freedom"?  My "freedom"?  WHAT "freedom"?  Depressing.

We continued our journey however we only saw four Impala and THOUSANDS of Dung Beetles nesting and frolicking in elephant dung. 

There was plenty evidence of elephant and buck - but none to be seen!  But they most certainly were watching us!

Anthills reach up to the sky like enormous chimneys protruding out of the earth.....
and Golden Orb Spiders hanging about in anticipation of catching some juicy morsels.....

By 16:00 we had not nearly reached the intended campsite and had no choice but to bushcamp.  WHAT an amazing experience!  Nothing - absolutely nothing but you and nature. 

 
For those who care to actually appreciate it for all its worth, the peace and solitude is magnificent.

Once everyone had set up and settled down to a couple of sundowners and prepared for their evening meals over the hot coals of the raging fire, it started to rain.

Big drops of warm water dropping from the clouds above.  It didn't rain continuously, but in short showers, just enough to bring out brollies and find shelter for chairs and food....  It was a strange rain though.  You didn't realise you were getting wet because of the heat.  We were all so hot that the wet dried up in no time.

We eventually had to cook on the gas because the fire was diminishing.  We sliced and fried (instead of braaied) our foiled potatoes and turned them into thick "chips", braised our minted lamb sosaties and enjoyed a finger-licking supper together with salad.  Y U M M Y!  Tonight we ate like nomads.

21:30 saw the close of another long day as we rolled up the ladder and into bed with the sound of hyena not far off, possibly lingering around to find some scraps....

and off to dreamland with wonderful memories of what today brought.......



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