Thursday, September 28, 1995
Tracking with Petros
I am awakened during the night by the sounds of the hippos. At night
they come ashore to feed. When one bellows, others answer in chorus.
They sound like they are directly outside the door of the houseboat. I
am losing sleep, but can’t stop smiling.
At 5:30 AM we are off on a game walk with Petros. He is a professional
guide, certified the same year as Iona. On the trail of a breeding
herd of elephants, ws have another close encounter. Despite the
massive amount of water represented by Lake Kariba, the drought is still
very much in evidence. We walk through a bone dry valley that was the
original site of Water Wilderness. There is a wood structure in a tree
that used to be an observation deck in the middle of a bay. I don’t
think you can even see the lake from it now.We hear that if the lake
drops another two meters, the hydroelectric power plant will be forced
to shut down.
A Photo from the book "Spirit of the Zambezi" showing the original Water Wilderness, and the same site today.
After breakfast we bid adieu to Peter and Jane, who are heading home.
For a few hours we have the resort to ourselves as Petros heads out to
get more guests and supplies. We wile away the mid-day hours by paddling
in the canoe and watching wildlife from the deck. On the deck, I smoke a
Montecristo #4, and watch two plovers try to drive off a Fish Eagle
perched in the highest branch of a nearby tree. I want to fish, but
Petros could produce no bait.
Petros returns with Adrian and Cecily, newlyweds from the UK. They look
exhausted but are game for combination boat drive and walk. Back in
the speedboat, we find more hippos, and hike up a hill where we find
leopard tracks, but no leopard.
The hill overlooks the valley we walked
through that morning. It is filled with game, mostly antelope and
waterbucks. Sigrid then launches into the definitive photographic study of a
Lake Kariba sunset.
Two rolls of film and two gin and tonics later, it is almost completely dark. Daniel somehow makes his way back through the maze of drowned trees to the houseboat in the dark.
NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: This is a back-post / cross-post from my first on-line journal/blogging effort - a journal of our Southern Africa Tour in 1995. Originally posted to an abandoned domain (NetSnake.com), the term "blog" had not yet entered the parlance. I am migrating the original posts to this blog. Links to the original journal Date Index or Africa Tour Home Page will likely eventually disappear. The images from the original post were graphics and screen caps from video which I am leaving in it's low-rez glory for historical integrity. My intent is to also add some of Sigrid's higher quality scanned photos to these blog back-posts. The difference in images should be obvious.
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