Today's plan was simple, get up super early and head out on a day break game drive. Part one involved getting the boys out of bed, now given their propensity for waking us up at ridicules o clock most of the time you would think this was easy...not. Zach in truth managed to get himself together enough to be mildly polite about the time of day, Josh however was resolutely stuck to his pit and refused to move. I will spare you the details but a moany boy was eventually poured into his clothes with teeth brushed and hair curled. This was the fastest I have ever seen the tribe get ready and into the car, wonders will never cease on this trip.
The sun was just starting to rise and we were off...for about 100 yards when I thought the car was being a bit sluggish, maybe disengage the 4 wheel drive? Job done back in the car, still a bit sluggish, in fact more so...mmmm that will be the flat tyre that I hadn't noticed. Luckily we were very near the park HQ who had a large garage facility. I changed the tyre with Zac's help and handed over our tyre to a guy for puncture repair. During this time Zanz was informed that there was a lion nearby so for the next 20 mins all we heard, in between confused questions about how the whole tyre, inner tube, wheel worked, was her saying she didn't want to miss the lion and couldn't we just set off without the spare so we could see it? This wasn't going to happen so we amused ourselves by feeding velvet monkeys who at the same time tried to climb in the car. Zach and Josh decided that the monkeys were an invading army and started to stock pile rocks and sticks. Armistice was soon declared and we had our tyre sorted within the hour.
|This is becoming a bit tyresome!|
|Like daddy but with more hair.|
|Same again really.|
Zannah was not overly joyous about the time taken but going without a spare would have led to unfathomable misery had we had another puncture. Within 200 meters of leaving the camp we came across a large pride of lions visiting the small runway toilet, probably only used by David Attenborough and the occasional oligarch who flew in to the area. We followed the pride of three male and seven females and at one point they passed within touching distance of the car...awesome.
|Ok everyone been to the loo before we go a huntin?|
|Erm I wouldn't use the gents for a while........sorry|
|Oh god I hope they haven't used up all the loo roll?|
We are now sat at breakfast looking out over Ruahah River so I will add to this later.
It is now later, we spent the afternoon at Zanner's much sought after treat accommodation, Rhuha River Lodge. This is one of the Foxes group of lodges in the south of Tanzania, a rather more upmarket type of lodge for the fly ins who use the airstrip mentioned before. What they made of our rag bag outfit heaven knows, but it would seem at this time in the season our dollars are as good as anyone's. Which reminds me of a peculiarity of Tanzanian money exchange, you get a lesser rate for a 1996 $100 dollar bill than a 2003, why? No one could explain, by that I mean they did try but it made little to no sense at all!
Today we managed over 100km round the park, but given it is 22,000kmSq it was small beer. Back in the lodge we could sit on the huge veranda dinning area resplendent with leather easy chairs and sofas looking out on the river. At times you could here the hippo mooing, yawning, crying, I'm not sure of the term but they are noisy creatures either-way. The boys had already engaged in tormenting the staff so it was safe to assume that our food would be spat in and served cold. Later we headed out for a dusk game drive along the river route and came across loads of interesting groups the most amusing being a herd of giraffe who look down on you with complete befuddlement then try to walk, trot, run without ever really making up their minds which they prefer. We followed a wonderful herd of elephants crossing the river with numerous young, another amazing experience for which Josh thanked us by going on and on about a star wars character in his book.
|Bright eyes.....awe what a preddy puddy tat|
|Just like any tabby at home...only bigger, with more teeth, oh yes and a desire to kill|
|Oi darlin...like my main?|
|Elegant and regal, makes our royals look cheap|
|Big rock...they'll be leopards in them there ill's|
|Off for a lay down after such a long walk to the loo|
|Bao-bab tree hiding behind Zac and Josh|
|Foxy...well balck backed Jackel anyway|
|And the river runs dry!|
|Grieving takes many forms, a sad end to one of the Kings of Africa|
|This was the end of a sorry tale|
|Well Mavis I told you not to rely upon the Sat Nav!|
|A-HA the mighty predator springs upon its prey|
|And takes it off to it lair to consume...maybe with a few nuts|
|Wow that things got some ears|
|Ah there birds nests!|
|All out, thats enough of that|
|Right lets throw dust|
|Geerrrroff my land|
|What's going on here then?|
|Typical you try to get a nice photo of the clouds and then......|
|That's better, non of those nosy giraffes.|
|Josh adopts his safari position|
Zac has really taken to photography and produced some really cool shots, however this has also given the boys one more thing to argue about. Darkness fell at around 6:30 as we headed back to our base. An enjoyable supper and two tired boys made for an early night as Zanner has promised another early start to catch the possibility of leopards in a nearby hill...