The Saturday night I dinner at the lodge, this African Proverb was on the menu:
Wisdom is like a Baobab tree; No-one can embrace it
Oddly enough, I saw it in a friend’s Instagram newsfeed today and thought The Universe is telling me to finish my post about the sunset game drive at The Old Drift Lodge, during which we saw a beautiful Baobab tree, about 800-1000 years old.
There is an even bigger one outside the reserve with a rather stout trunk: Victoria Falls’ own Big Tree, estimated to be about 2000 years old.
Saturday had been a rather exhausting day with all the excursions I had done, so the afternoon game drive was the perfect way to wind down and process all the sensational things I’d experienced during the day.
Vusa was the guide for the excursion which I shared with Alex & Dawn, a couple honeymooning from Canada, and Tova (who was traveling with friends – they opted for the sunset cruise) from Norway. It is clear that Vusa knows his field, and he has a practiced eye for spotting animals that are extremely well camouflaged by the vegetation and grass.
The first animal we saw was a Monitor Lizard (also known as an Iguana). I initially thought it was a baby crocodile. After that faux pas, I cleaned my spectacles and saw the reptile for what it was. They are usually found close to water and at this time of the year are on the prowl for unattended crocodile eggs to eat. This one was digging in the dirt, and Vusa explained to us that it may be looking for eggs or insects.
Further along the drive we saw a journey of giraffes. That is the right collective noun – Vusa told us so. These tall animals, despite their size, are extremely graceful when they move. The older they are, the darker their markings will be, and like no two humans will have the same fingerprints, no two giraffes will have the same markings. We sat at a spot where they were grazing for quite a while. As a South African, I admittedly take seeing African game for granted, because I’ve been on a few safari-like outings in my life. However, seeing the sheer childlike-wonder and hearing the squeals of excitement and wonder of the other people of the drive with me made me smile. Ah, the magic of Africa.
My favourite African animal is by far the elephant. Maybe it’s because they operate in a Matriarchal society, or maybe it’s because the baby elephants are just so damn cute.
I’ve been fortunate enough to interact with them up close, at places close to home that do such things, but I’ve never been in a Mexican (or would that be African?) standoff with one, like we were during our excursion. One young elephant ventured away from the herd and came to stand squarely in front of our vehicle, of which the ignition was off. It didn’t show any signs of aggression, but it was still intimidating.
At one stage I was holding my breath, thinking if it hears me breathe, I may be a goner. First the hippo that morning, now an elephant in the evening.
Who says Africa isn’t exciting?
Another interesting sight was that of a Cape Buffalo carcass. It has been taken down by lions about three weeks before.
The temperature began to drop, bringing with it welcome refreshment in the form of a pop-up-bar next to the Zambezi River.
What a privilege to stand next on the bank, enjoying a creamy Amarula on ice, while listening to the babbling of the water and intermittent birdsong.
I didn’t take many photos during the drive, partially out of complacency coupled with slight exhaustion, but mostly because I was simply enjoying the dusky coolness of the sunset.