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Published: January 13th 2012
We have never imagined coming so close to wildlife and being involved in it. It is pretty unreal to be woken of jumping and granting hippos, laughing hyenas or/and growling lions few meters away from our tiny tent. It happens that you sometimes don’t get any privacy in the bathroom since an old male elephant is putting curiously his long trunk through the small bathroom’s window and you’ll be happy that you are sitting on the toilet at this moment, and you’ll be stuck there for a while. But you understand that it is best decision to give the way to Mr. Elephant because he doesn’t think twice of doing the same for you. It is then you realized that you are quite vulnerable and helpless in this environment. A true wildlife experience is when you are coming so close you can sense the wild animals’ instincts and behavior. We had an opportunity to stay for a while at Mayukuyuku Bush Camp and it has been one of the highlights on our road through Africa.
The best part of our stay in the camp is that you don’t need to leave the camp to come close to the wildlife. In
fact you’ll come closer to the wildlife in the camp because you don’t sit in a safety of a safari car. Your adrenalin level will increase dramatically to walk through the camp by yourself and especially during the night time. You will jump from the smallest movement or sound in the bushes, and your own shadow will horrify you sometimes. Of course the camp has different tents and huts, and you have possibility to choose how adventures your time at this place will be. We wanted to experience the real wildlife so we stayed a little further from the main camp, and we had absolute fantastic time. Our tiny tent was located under a nice gazebo just few meters from Kafue River which is home for the big crocodiles, hippos and other small water animals.
Like in previous blogs we have mentioned every sunrise and sunset is amazing, and this place was no exception, this place has something special. Every morning we were invited for an orange colored sunrise and full hippos after a night of dining are diving one after another back into the river. You are sticking out your head of the tent, and looking around nervously
if it is not too dangerous to step out. You realize that some workers are already awake and trying to catch their own lunch/dinner. Mr Elephant is walking clumsily through the bushes, the lion is looking for a great spot to rest under the day time, the crocodiles are coming out the of water to get some sun…this is morning life in Kafue national park.
We are now use to get up and go to sleep with the sun because in during darkness hours you are putting yourself in a suicide situation. We have got lot knowledge from the locals about wildlife in Africa since we entered this national park. For example, try to avoid a position between river and hippo because they are scared of people (do you think more than we scared of them?) and panicking when they see us. So easy you can be overrun of hippo not that he wanted to kill you but he was in a stress situation. Or never face you back to a lion, leopard etc… have you seen a lion attacking an animal from the front? We found hippos very curious and interesting animals when they are swimming nicely in
the river but in the night it is opposite, they are quite noisy when coming out of the water. You’ll hear them eating and socializing loudly around you tent, and a benefit that you will find grass cut nicely around the area you sleep in.
The evenings/nights have been scariest because after the dinner time we needed to walk to our own camp and the touch is your best friend at this time (the animals often are scared of light in the darkness). You are jumping a meter up from the smallest movement or sound in the bushes, and you are becoming paranoid and getting vision and hearing hallucinations… you see and hear all kind of animals. When you standing at your camp and realizing that a crocodile eye is lighting from the shore of the river when it takes seconds to get into the tent. It is a relief to jump in the tiny tent and to zip up it, and you feel quite safe inside there (or you want believe that you are safe). Actually we really enjoyed to listen to the wild life until your eyes are becoming heavy.. of course our first night wasn’t so
easy to fall asleep and Diana had many crocodiles and leopards in the tent, especially after malaria tablet (Larium).
But the leopard did become reality one night on the way back to our tent. We were just leaving the restaurant and we have a choice of either two paths for the two – three hundred meter walk depending on which one. One is a shortcut over a little bridge but on this occasion it was blocked by three hungry hippos who were grunting away at us. The other option takes us more into the bush before joining back up with the shortcut half way back. We were barely thirty meters into it when with our torch we noticed two eyes staring at us only five meters to our right. This really makes you nervous in this situation and when we noticed the black spots on the side we could only freeze and assess the situation. We wanted to go backwards but the hippos were making their way towards us also and in the overcast night we could not see them since the torch was firmly on the leopard. We made it back to the restaurant after a small (but
fast) detour and luckily for us one of the workers gave us a life to our tent. This is why this camp is so unique; wildlife comes to you and not you searching for them.
Our second last night also proved to be a long nervous one but this time it was because of the lion who decided to spend some quality time with us. It was as soon as we were both in the ‘safety’ of the tent and turned off the torch them a tremendous roar came from behind us (the guys two hundred meters away heard it clearly). We are still not too sure which was the hardest situation faced, leopard or lion. Perhaps the lion since the only option for us was to lie in our tiny tent and listen to him wander around us for four hours before Mr Elephant turned making a great deal of noise and drove him away.
The pictures on this blog are just from the Mayukuyuku camp as we didn’t even need to go on a safari drive here. Well we didn’t get any pictures of the leopard or lion but we did not really want to take
the time to get close up on these guys 😊
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