October 31, 2008, Category: South Africa, Travel

Day 6: Gomo Gomo

Note: I have posted a small selection of the nearly 4,000 pictures we took on the trip. You can see them here. If you didn’t start reading on Day 1, you might want to start from the beginning 

HP2Q2026It was hot when we went to bed, but I wanted to hear the sounds so I turned off our fan. Curtis was asleep, he was exhausted and went to bed before dinner and missed out on a huge meal around a fire pit. But turning off the fan to hear the sounds didn’t help, the wind picked up and drowned out even the crickets. At least it helped cool things down a bit. I did get a scare in the middle of the night. I woke up to a light banging sound and rolled over to see our front door wide open to the moonlit bush, banging back and forth. I jumped up, pulled it shut, and something ran off from close by. Then I searched the room quickly with a flashlight, no so much concerned a lion or leopard might have snuck in as I was about a snake sliding up my bedpost while I was asleep. I had to stop thinking about it so I didn’t wig myself out.

Today has been cold, overcast, and rainy. It sucks to get up at 5:00 to enjoy the the best photography light of the day…and be robbed of it. Not only that, but our game drive was pretty sparce. We did go back to the leopard kill and two hyenas were finishing off what was left of the warthog. One would eat and the other would run patrol, watching all around them for the leopard to return and claim his dinner. They didn’t care so much about us, in fact when we first arrived the one on patrol walked right up to the land rover and looked Curti in the eyes. It was almost like he wanted his neck scratched or something, like a puppy dog. Hard to imagine that if I reached my hand down to pat his back he’d bite my whole arm off with one chomp. Their jaws are like rock pulverizers.

(I’m laying on my bed, doors open and a Nyala is right outside eating. They are sure pretty animals.) Later on the drive we found the lions again. They killed a waterbuck last night and were sprawled across the sand with full bellies. They stretch out in all types of positions, the most interesting being on their backs with legs spread open and sticking up like they were dead and stiff. Two of them were still eating on the waterbuck and one of them had the bloody spine. The only other real memorable part of the drive (besides being wet and cold) was an elephant that was eating. He ripped a strip of bark off a tree with his trunk to get to the sap, I didn’t know their trunks were so strong…he pinched it off and shredded it like a banana. Then he turned around and put his head against a fairly large tree and pushed. It slowly bent, lower…and then snap! It cracked to the ground and he walked over and started eating the leaves. It’s amazing there are any trees at all. I’ve seen several knocking them down already and there are downed trees everywhere. Maybe the trees grow really fast here or something.

After the morning drive we ate breakfast and took a long nap. It’s the first day we’ve had a few hours of downtime and it was nice to relax for a few and then hard to wake up afterwards.

IMG_0899 The evening game ride took us past the lions again. He pulled the land rover up and Curti was right above one of them laying in the dirt…they were all around us. Three to the left and two on the right. The one by Curti opened his eyes and locked eyes with him for about 20 seconds…his eyes were a soft golden hue, very pretty. They looked so peaceful and friendly but one step out of the landrover and they would become fearsome killers. Several days ago they killed a giraffe, two days ago an impala, and last night a water buck. Boy, the actual kill would be something to see. One of them had a gash on it’s head from the fight and another kept licking it to clean it.

The rest of the evening was pretty slow…we did see a herd of hippos out of the water and on the move. That was cool, every time I’ve seen them before they have looked sluggish on land but in the dark they were moving along nicely. We saw a baby black backed jackal that kept yelping out for it’s mother. But the weather was still bad; cold but at least it didn’t rain. It kinda sucks that 2 of the 3 days now the clouds have wiped out the best light of the day for photography. My shots would have been spectacular rather than just cool.

Tomorrow we leave Gomo Gomo, it has gone way too fast and we should have scheduled three days here. I’m not sure what to expect from the bush experience. It sounds tiring and I don’t know if I feel like roughing it after being here…it will be hard to top something like the stay here at Gomo Gomo, I should have scheduled this last.

Continued on Day 7…

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