And the rains came.
By 7am it was already HOT! The elephants were back at the top end of the Malilangwe dam.
A bunch of bulls took to the water really early, about 9am, and their play in the dam soon brought the cow herds to join them.
It wasn’t long and about 100 elephants were stretched out along the shoreline swimming and wallowing. For over an hour they lounged around down there and then got to feeding on the sedge that grows around the dam.
The herds were all spread out so I took to climbing the hills surrounding the dam to get an overview of them spread over the area.
I climbed up without any cameras to see what it was like. It was so stunning I raced all the way down again, collected up cameras and gear and back to this spot.
What a stunning perspective. The herds were feeding peacefully and I filmed a bit and took photos. And then just chilled out on the rocks watching this awesome panorama below me.
There was thunder to the north but still quite a ways north.
I think the thunder spooked the herds, as they suddenly took off running about a kilomtre before calming down, but by now had moved into the thickets.
Just then the first rain drops fell. It was really refreshing but I couldn’t afford to hang around with my cameras getting wet in the rain.
There was a cave just behind me that I could take refuge in but all the other equipment in my vehicle was also about to get rained out. I had to make a dash for it down the rocky slopes getting to the car just as the heavens opened up. I was just in time to get my tarpaulin over all the equipment, although I got soaked and continued to get soaked on my way home.
6th November 2000
With Tjololo still wobbling around his nyala carcass that he’d treed, we waited at the hyaena den for a few hours. The cubs, still not used to our presence weren’t going to venture out on their own without any adults around. The adults will often visit the den around sunset but not tonight.
Heading up north we bumped into 2 male lions. The one was really feeling sorry for himself with a major gash on his nose, so much so that the last inch of it was hanging loose. Looked rather painful especially as he continuously used his paw to clean it, the huge paw pulling down the piece of loose skin with each rub. Ouch!!
Tjololo had left the dinner table and was heading east. He was extremely uncomfortable, deliberately putting one foot forward at a time being sure to maintain his balance with the uncontrollable sway of his huge belly. The effort was huge and he ended up resting every few hundred meters.
Having been stashed away in the bush we stumbled across a baby giraffe lying down. It’s mother had left it secluded to go feeding. The helpless little calf was no more than 2 days old and very much relied on remaining absolutely still with the approach of anything. Luckily today Tjololo continued past at about 20m without noticing it.
But a young male duiker wasn’t that lucky. We were all set up ready to film. Tjololo was no more than 3m off the duiker that was lying down. It was unaware of him and continued chewing on its last mouthful. Probably for about half an hour Tjololo stood one paw hung in mid stride, as I waited finger on the button waiting for him to charge in. The duiker then got up. He had to go in now. No. The duiker moved off feeding behind the bushes with Tjololo stalking after it. It had a bad limp, which Tjololo must have picked up on and his final charge was successful. (Missed the shot as they disappeared behind the bushes). He treed the carcass and thankfully left it there without feeding while he rested. We were rather concerned at the consequences if he attempted consuming anything else.