Friday, September 26, 2008

Week 8: A camping we shall go!

Sept 20 – Sept 26; 08

Saturday was an early start to get loaded up into the 4-wheel drive to take us to Kisama National Park. There were 7 of us going in total – Jo and Marek, Tony & Juliette, Heather (a kindergarten teacher who arrived this year with us) as well as Bill & I.
Jo & Marek were investigating another access route into the park & were travelling with Tony & Juliette in their car as they had been that way before. Jo & Marek will be taking kids to the park in a couple of weeks, but some of the oil companies won’t allow their families to cross over the bridge that is on the normal route to the park. The way they went involves a completely different road & finally arriving at the park by boat. So it was just Heather, Bill & I in our car, but we took most of the other’s gear as they knew they would be walking from the river up to the camping spot.

We arrived at the park without seeing any animals (I think increased people to the park have had its effect) & got our tents up before catching a ride on the safari truck. We really wanted to see elephants, but despite the best efforts of the trackers, saw no more than lots of elephant poo. We did see a wilderbeast though. However, we didn’t see giraffes or anything much else so it was a bit disappointing. Lots of cool birds as always though! Bill & I were sharing my camera as his big zoom lens is broken – so some of these are his shots.

We cooked as usual, although Tony & Juliette ate in the restaurant. The next morning we went for another ride in the safari truck – and this time we did see elephants – we didn’t get good shots as they were right in the trees – quite close – they had a small baby with them. In fact we were too close for the comfort of the rangers (because of the baby I think) so they moved us on quite quickly.
Back at the campsite, we relaxed until it was time to go home - & during that time I saw a troop of vervet monkeys come through the trees, as well as a very cute squirrel.

We got home around 4 on Sunday, totally feeling as if we had a wonderful break. Although we didn’t see as much wildlife this time, it still is a very beautiful place to relax in & feel as if we are far, far away from school. We really noticed how much greener the park was (from a month ago) and also, how much clearer the air is (less haze). The park’s baobab trees still haven’t started to leaf, but the tree at school is now covered in leaves. The extra vegetation makes it harder to see the animals of course. But it is such a cool weekend. Marek & Jo have everything set-up for the kids to go camping in a couple of weeks, so we have our fingers crossed that they will see a lot of animals as they will be there during the week when there are much less day trippers.

The week just flew by (school is like that) & the special treat this week was that it was “early close Friday”. This school year is the first time that the school has been in session on Fridays afternoons. The history to this has been that it has been so difficult in the past to find food & stuff that teachers needed an afternoon a week to do the basic shopping or go into the city. Since the new supermarket was built just around the corner, those days are now gone (well sometimes it’s hard to find things – I was able to buy my first box of matches this week in 2 months). However, to allow people to get to see the doctor or whatever, there is one early close every month. Bill & I had planned to go into the city for dinner, but we were invited to go camping with a group of other teachers on Cabo Ledo (the surfing beach). We left at 2pm on Friday afternoon & arrived at the beach by 4. As it was a Friday night, there was absolutely no one else there. The beach is quite shallow & it has changed drastically since we were last there. The lagoon that the local boys were playing in last time was gone completely. There were 11 of us in total (6 tents) & not a huge amount of high land for pitching a tent. We claimed a piece of high land (I knew I wouldn’t sleep if I thought there was a possibility of the tide coming into the tent during the night) but 3 tents went up on the high tide zone.

One tent (closest to the sea) had to be shifted at 3am when the tide came in! The other tents were just far enough back not to need to move. We both slept through the whole thing! I was very glad we had pitched our tent where we did. Bill thought I was being well over cautious, but even he admitted in the morning that he was glad we hadn’t had to do a move in the dark with the tide at our heels!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a very nice camping blog. I hope you will post more pictures. Thank you for sharing.