Part 5 of my Safari Diary and follows on directly from my previous post – Victoria Falls – so much more than just a waterfall
Bomani Tented Lodge – Hwange NP
As we pulled in to Bomani all the staff came out to greet us and we were led in to the large communal building that houses the bar, lounge and restaurant.
The guest tents at Bomani are huge and everyone was once again surprised and impressed with the quality of their accommodation.
After a couple of hours to settle in and get a feel for the camp, we gathered by the bar for our afternoon evening game drive. Our guide was to be Petrus, who works for Imvelo, but isn’t based at Bomani. He was just spending a few days here on a break from establishing a new camp further south in the park.
When we stop at the park gate to sign in, we are greeted by a large woman in khaki uniform that is clearly engaged in an ongoing struggle to retain its buttons. Petrus starts chatting with her in fluent Shona. As we drive away he tells us that she is one of a 2 person team based at the gate, her colleague is currently out on patrol. He goes on to say that when she is on patrol she is a fearsome sight in her khakis with an AK47 slung on her shoulder. Not someone you want to mess with.
We had expected the weather to be hot, but during the afternoon a strong wind had picked up which actually made it feel very cool indeed.
It seemed that animals did not like the wind much either and were staying in amongst the trees rather than coming out onto the open plains.
We didn’t see a great deal on this drive, but it did give us a feel for this north east corner of Hwange which had some lovely landscapes.
When I say we didn’t see a great deal I mean it in the context of our whole safari and what we have already seen.
We did see elephants, zebras, wildebeest, impala and a large group of eland.
The wind showed no sign of letting and kept our sundowners break very brief indeed.
Darkness was descending fast and we were on our way out of the park when one of the other Bomani guides called on the radio to say he had spotted 2 cheetahs.
He was only a short distance away but by the time we got there it was almost dark. We did see, though, that one of the cheetahs had an injury to his front left leg and was limping badly.
Dinner in camp was a fine affair with all the guests and guides sitting together on a long table. Good food too.
Just as we were finishing dinner there was a huge commotion outside and we all leapt up to see what was going on.
A herd of elephant were at the camp waterhole, drinking and splashing around. They only stayed for a few minutes but it was a fine end to the day.
21 September 2014
Eland and Sable
That chilly wind from the previous afternoon was still blowing when we set out on our morning drive.
Petrus had already left and this morning our guide was Daniel – of whom Petrus had said “He’s bloody good, not as good as me of course, but still bloody good.” Time would tell.
One of our goals this morning was to see if we would relocate those 2 cheetahs. We had been told that they were called the Bomani Brothers. (“No Rena, not the Armani Brothers.”)
Out on the plains we found the same herd of eland we’d seen the night before.
With much better light we could see that they had a lot of calves with them; we counted 17 in all.
Despite being the largest antelope, eland are also one of the most skittish and they had worked out where to stand so that they were at the furthest point from all the roads.
We saw a lot of Black Backed (or silver backed if you’re an East Africa man like me) Jackals as well as some saddle billed storks and white backed vultures.
In the distance we saw 2 shapes that looked like sable antelope. They were moving in the direction of one of the pans so we stopped to wait and see if they would pass close to us.
For a while it looked as though the might, but then they started running. We waited a bit longer to see if they’d get to the water and relax but they only stopped for a brief sip before moving on.
We found a male Kori Bustard that was strutting around with his courting display. But once again he kept far from the roads.
A radio call told us that Indaba (the guide who’d spotted them the previous evening) had located the cheetahs again. Once again they weren’t very far away and so we made our way to join him.
The 2 cheetahs were resting on the edge of the plains, where it meets the forest. They didn’t look as though they were interested in going hunting.
With one of them injured it would be down to the other brother to hunt for both of them.
As long as he was able to hunt and they stayed together the injured cheetah would have a chance of survival. If the healthy one decided to abandon his brother then it would almost certainly die.
We sat and watched them for about half an hour but there are only so many photographs you can take of a cheetah lying down and eventually – with no signs of them going anywhere – we left them and headed back to the camp.