I'm back 'home' in Pemba now after the most amazing week in the bush camps. There was crazy slow internet in one of the camps so I was only able to post once, I had no patience for any more! But had I actually had good internet all the time I don't think I would have posted much anyway, it was such an amazing experience.
We just went for rambles and drives during the day, ate loads of food and had the coolest sundowners! The second-to-last day we drove for nearly 4 hours to burn some places of the bush, and only saw one kudu bull- how?! (Basically by burning small parts of the land when the wildfires start in a month or so, they'll have breaks and the fire won't get too out of control. Also allows new things to grow, small game to travel and fire pollinating plants to grow.) But then we'll just drive somewhere small and see all the elephant and game you could fit in! There's no controlling the animals. We've also had many night-time visits; we've got the resident buffalo (now called Barry) and some elephants that like to call in juuuuust as you're going to sleep! You can always hear lions calling in the distance, but I woke up one morning to find out that a pride had just walked past the guards and between our tents- it was terrifying! There's a resident leopard in the other camp as well as all the elephant, the joys of not having any fences or gates!
Our last day yesterday was so odd, we were supposed to drive to the other camp to take some things and pick up others, and people needed to check emails, so we were going to go about 9 am. Then someone needed taking somewhere urgently and things got crazy, so we had to sit around and read and wait- I didn't think we'd get to go on a drive at all because it was getting on for 3 pm. Then everything was sorted and we were still going, but I was a bit gutted because nothing would be out at that time and we should have gone in the morning- but we went along anyway. And oh my God I'm so glad I did! We drove past a small pride of young lions, and I had just been thinking to myself how we hadn't seen any lions yet and I was gutted, but we saw them! We were so close to them and they didn't care at all, I managed to get some awesome photos and stuff but seeing them took my breath away- I was shaking so much! My reminder that everything happens for a reason- the delays were supposed to happen so we could see the lions as the sun was going down, and it was all meant to be! We drove past so many herds of elephant on the way we kept stopping just to look at them and it was so amazing with the sun setting on the mountains behind. And then driving back in the dark, we drove past the biggest male lion, and he had the most amazing mane! We circled back on him as he was just lying at the side of the road, and he just seemed to be having a nap! As we drove up to him with the headlights on he didn't care, and then eventually wandered off into the night- I'm still reeling from it.
Basically we went for the week to help some friends of friends who run a large part of the Niassa reserve, so it was more of a social than anything else which made it all cool and relaxed. The people who run the place are really lovely people, and it was good to spend the whole week with them. As they're friends rather than anything else, we got to go up in the BatHawk plane they use to travel across the reserve if they need to get somewhere quick (the place is the size of Switzerland and he has a million acres to look after- a plane is needed!). So I watched the sun set as we flew over herds of elephants and hippo and everything else! It was all even more beautiful from the sky, I really am so lucky!
So, now we have a week in Pemba again spending more time on the beach and reminiscing about the past week! We're going diving during the week which will be fun, but I can tell it's going to be hard going back on Sunday (10th of August) and I'm not looking forward to going back to life without daily visits from elephants! Will have to face results day and I don't want to at all, but then I'll be getting everything ready to set off on my gap year!
More adventures to come...
"Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow."
― Anita Desai