What a night! Despite an early night, we had a remarkable lack of sleep. We know from past experience that hippos come onto the riverbanks to feed on grass by night. Hippos are the most dangerous large animal in Africa and venturing from the tent at night when they are around is strictly not to be done. So we listened to the snorts and grunts and chewing of an unknown number of animals from about 11pm or so. At about 4 in the morning there was the most fearful noise as two hippos fought each other with shrieks and squeals… right behind the car next to our tent! It then seemed that one gave in and we heard the heavy running footsteps of first one then the other and two huge splashes into the water where the fight continued for a while. Amongst it all, the night also gave us lions roaring and hyenas with their peculiar howls. Not a scenario conducive to sound sleep!
We had another day here to explore and we returned to some of the pools we visited yesterday and drove down some other tracks to see some new sights. Again Mana Pools did not disappoint and we had many close up sightings of elephants with babies, zebra with babies, hippos with babies, warthogs with babies, the beautiful waterbuck who has an unfortunate pattern marking on his rear end shaped like a target, a pied kingfisher, some storks of various kinds and the superb iridescent blue-black Maeve's Starling.
Monkeys again came to annoy us at lunch and tried valiantly to snatch anything from the car or from the table that they could. They are indiscriminate with what they take - they go for anything they can carry, taste it high up on a branch and, if it is not to their liking, toss it down to the ground, hopefully somewhere you can retrieve it… and not into the hippo- and croc-infested water! So far we haven't lost anything to them, but some of the others here haven't been so lucky.
Just sitting on the banks of the Zambezi watching the water flow by and listening to the grunts of the hippos over the water on the island in front of us is about as relaxing as it can get. But tomorrow we have to pack up and head west again, so early start here we come.