10/23/09 – 10/24/09: Elephant Sands campsite, Botswana
One thing I’ve noticed about Africa is that no matter how unique an experience seems to be, something else is always ready to top it.
Example #1: The first time our Jeep broke down we met some Masai warriors, none of whom spoke English, so despite their coolness they never made the blog. The next breakdown led to us doing the O H I O with other Masai warriors.
Example #2: I have never had to wait so long for food as I did at our campsite in Lake Bunyonyi. Then at the Safpar Waterfront in Livingstone, you’d be lucky to get your lunch served before dinnertime.
Example #3: I remember how excited I was to write that we had witnessed a lion chase in the Masai Mara National Reserve. Two days later we one-upped this when we saw a cheetah chase.
Now: We’ve spent many nights with all sorts of wildlife creeping about our campsites. I’ve heard and heard of hyenas, buffalos, zebras, monkeys and even pigs roaming between our tents at nights. I’ll admit that after I fall asleep a T-Rex could roar outside of our tent and I wouldn’t wake up for it. But I’ve heard many of the aforementioned animals before falling asleep and have yet to be frightened. Last night I had a lot of trouble falling asleep.
I was catching up on my journal (yes I keep a daily journal in addition to cranking out these well-crafted blog posts, I hear this is how that Harry Potter author got her start) when all of a sudden I heard a growl not too far from our tent. A less experienced camper would immediately think lion, turn off their headlamp and remain dead quiet. So I immediately assumed lion, flicked off the headlamp and froze, hardly breathing. The growling continued off and on, near and far, and I continued to remain as still as Stephen singing “Love the One You’re With.” (Does anyone ever get my similes? I won’t be offended if you say no.) Then the splashing started, and the breaking of the trees, and I realized that either there were a bunch of elephants nearby or a bunch of elephants hanging out with a bunch of lions. Either way, the sounds were awfully close, yet I couldn’t see a thing into the pitch black night.
I was able to pack up my things and get into the sleeping bag in between ominous noises, and after about a half hour they died down. I must have scared them away with my mean thoughts. But I can safely say I’ve never been so fearful of being trampled by elephants and eaten by lions in my sleep as I was last night.
Epilogue: In the morning I learned that the noises were just elephants’ rumbling stomachs (sadly, no lions). However, just like last night at dinner the elephants were bordering on colossal – the picture doesn’t do it justice, but look at this footprint we discovered just a boulder’s throw away from our tent.
Picture of the Day: I can’t tell if this is Zhou or a drunk, one-horned buffalo sipping on a Coke.