Days 6 and 7 'The Rescue'

August 29, 2012 - Kariba, Zimbabwe

We set out from Nata at about 9.30, stopping in town to buy more delicious meat to cook in our 'Wonderbag' which we have decided is an absolute4 must for future trips.


A long stgeraight road in excellent condition but still under construction in parts.  We had travelled the same road in 2010 when there were long delays because of construction.  Tiowars the north there are large areas of bush clearance where sunflowers and maize are grown as far as the eye can see.  They seem to be managed . run by the Botswana Dept. of Agriculture.


We crossed th border into Zimbabwe at Pandamatenga at about 13h00.  Its a tiny border post.  Thereb we met others who had been camping at Nata Lodge next to us last nnight and were having a hard time with the Zim border officials.  We, however, had no problem - smiling welcome from everyone.  Once you have crossed the border you ar almost in Hwange Game Reserve.


What a difference!  African bush which is pristine.  Not far and we came across a beautiful sable antelope.  We had to sign in at Robins Camp where we had stayed previously in '98.  The deterioration is sad to see.  However, warm smiles gretted us we were made to feel very welcome.


We the headed to the Deteema Dam hide where we were booked for the next 2 nights.  On the way we saw plenty of game, including huge herds of elephant, a pride of lione with cubs, giraffe, impala and loads of birds.


When we arrived at the dam the water was very low and muddy and Terry soon spotted a little buck stuck in the mud clearly in great distress.  It would have been a terrible night sitting and watching this porr creature's slow death so we headed off to find help.  About 5 km down the road y leapt ina dnwe ound the Deteema Dam Picnic Site with its 2 attendants, Augustine and Innocence.  They agrred to help so we headed back with the 2 of them riding pillion on the bakkie.  the 2 od them and Terry went down to the muddy waterhole and stripped down to barefeet, underpants and T-shirts.  Terry leapt in and was promptly sucked in, so landed up prone in the mud.  Anyhow, with much pulling and pushing, using our towrope, they managed to get the now nearly-dead buck (a female inpala) out of the mud and carried her up to the car paark where they washed her under the tap.  She really was nearly dead, couldn't stand, and just gave a couple of weak kicks every now and again.  So waht to do now?  She couldn't stand and would have been easy prey for hyenas if we left her to recover on her own.


So a decision was made to shut her in the shower area which was jsut a tin enclosure, and Terry and I would spend the night there to fend off any pedators!  Terry took the 2 helpers back to the other picnic site and on the way met 3 lions just outside the picnic site.  When he came back we set up camp and what a wonderful night we had!  The stars were amazing and we watched Appollo move across the sky as we lay in bed in our tent.  All night long we could hear elephants and other animals coming in to drink, as well as hyenas and jackal.  When the hyenas sounded to close Terry stoked up our fire and we were prepared with a few stones to throw at them if they came too close.


So at 5am we were up and could now hear the buck moving in her little pen.  Soon after first light we opened the door and she shot out, found a hole in the fence and was off!  Of course, some conservationists would frown on this, but we felt we ha done a good deed.


We then started to pck up to move across to the Deteema Picnic Site (where Terry saw the lions the day before), but kept getting held up because of the animals and interesting birds coming in to drink.  However, we finally made it to Deteema Picnic Site which is really beautiful, but oh,so delapidated.  It is looked after by our 2 kind men, Augustine and Innocence, who helped us with the buck.  There is one functioning 'loo', and no water.  The 'Ladies' is blocked.  But just as the day before, we had the whole p[lace to ourselves.  It must have once been a showpiece with stone tables and chairs and thatched rondavels for washing up, etc,  But all is now ramshackle and run-down, but still amazngly beautiful.  All the fences are gone, but one feels quite safe.


Towards evening, we were offered a bucket o dirty water to flush the loo, and told that a couple of lions were in the water next to the camp.  We had another wonderful night, sleeping with the sounds of the bush - lions roaring, hyenas laughing, elephants trumpeting and screeching and the Scops Owl chirping every 4 seconds exactly.  But agaion we felt com[letely safe in our tent.

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