Sunday, June 6, 2010

The morning game drive..........with a gallant rescue!

ST our very special guide at Vumbura Plains

On a safari your trained guide/ranger is also your personal host.  At Vumbura we were fortunate to have ST watching out for us every moment of our stay, from his booming "good morning ladies" at the gate at 6:00AM, to his walking us 'home' at night following dinner because guests are not permitted alone on the walkway to the tents in the dark.  Hippos, elephants etc. often cross through the camp on their way to the water and one doesn't want to end up as an appetizer!

After a night getting used to snorting hippos and screeching Francolin birds outside the tent, along with gauzy mosquito nets wafting around the beds when the wind picked up, we were up with the sun and more noisy birds and monkeys in the nearby trees.  Dressed in our safari garb, not exactly elegant but very comfortable, we were headed to a delicious breakfast buffet by 6:30AM. 
Jen and me checking our cameras

Morning game drives leave camp at 7:00AM at this time of year, early Winter in southern Africa.  Tucked into the Land Rover with warm blankets, photographic paraphernalia and a picnic basket complete with coffee, 'bush tea' and healthy dipping cookies for the morning break, we were soon on the trail and feeling like real adventurers.

Jackie's Pan - Time for a coffee break

Wildebeest and Impala

Bush Tea!

At this point I want to tell you that I took over two thousand photos on this trip!  There's no way I'm going to bore you to death by showing every one......but I do have a lot of really great ones I want to share to give you a glimpse of the beauty of these African countries.  I'll incorporate many pics into my safari stories, others, especially of the animals, I may just add as extras here and there - they'll be self-explanatory.

Okavango Slaty Egret

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill

In the bush there are creatures everywhere..........even before you spot them you can feel their eyes upon you.

Mighty Cape Buffalo

An elephant's eye

From a giraffe's point of view

Sleepy-eyed lionesses in the grass

The lionesses had two 6 month and two 6 week old cubs.

.........and then there was this morning drive mishap................

Photo of me by Jennifer

Are you laughing?  Here we are being rescued by handsome young men from a bogged down Land Rover - those monster vehicles are great at 'landscaping' through the dry bush but had some problems in the flooded areas.

Babs, Jen and Paula

Told you they were gentlemen!  When our Land Rover got stuck I said no way to paddling in the murky flood waters.......Brit blogger Rowan, familiar with southern African waterborne diseases had warned me earlier.  Thanks to ST, Brian, Noku and others, we gals were carefully hand-carried to another vehicle, with laughs all around. I was first out and able to get pics of the others.  Later we kidded the guys that their arms had grown longer from carrying so much weight!

After so much excitement, it was back to camp for a shower, lunch and the afternoon rest while catching up on journal entries.

Next time..............the loo with a view, and an awesome boat trip deep into the Okavango Delta.


  1. Mary, the pictures are amazing... I want to yank my hubby out of bed for him to see. They are gorgeous... and that camp, I want to go and stay there. Now do the animals come close to the camp?? Looks like they could just hop right in with you in the pool?? Hugs, Janna

  2. O Mary, I just love that photo of the lionesses!
    It makes an absolutely stunning picture with the texture of the grass.
    Ab Fab

  3. Great photos -especially the last few!:):)
    I always love seeing giraffe, they are my favourite animal I think, they have a sort of ungainly elegance and those eyelashes! You have some lovely photos of the lionesses, I haven't been very lucky with lion sightings so far but hopefully next year I'll do better. That's a lovely journal you have, the sort of thing it's a real pleasure to write in.

  4. I wouldn't mind see all 2000 photos! What an adventure...can't wait to hear more.

  5. I love the photos; and the handsome young men rescuing you was certainly a bonus. I can't wait to hear more..... Carla

  6. I am enjoying this trip immensely!

  7. Oh Mary, have I said how happy you are back? However, I think I could live the way you vacationed!!! Jim now wants to take your trip-want to go again? Keep all those gorgeous photos and stories coming! Hugs to you, love too, Mary Ann

  8. How much fun you must have had ... I'm so envious! I never thought I'd want to go to Africa, but I might change my mind now.

    Beautiful photographs and a delightfully told story. You can't show to many photos for me. Let's see them ALL!

  9. Bore me, bore me! I want to see all the photos!

    Thump, thump, thump!...that would be my heart had I seen these animals in the wild. I was just taking pictures of deer in our backyard this morning...hmmm, not quite the same, huh?

    Can't wait to show this to Larry. He enjoyed your last post.


  10. Mary, I'm just back from a short trip and catching up on your posts. So I'll be scrolling down. Like Penny, I'd love to see all 2000 photos. Looking forward to reading more about this amazing trip, my friend. ~ Sarah

  11. I did not realize you were home yet. What beautiful pictures you took. I like the giraffe best I think, with the elephant's eye a close second. It looke like you had a great trip.

  12. Even though i was there, and my ungainly pictures are being shown, i'm enjoying it all again vicariously!. Paul a

  13. I thought the "bush tea" might be rooibos. Did you like it? I like it ok with flavors, but not so much plain.

    What a wonderful trip. The animals are spectacular. You were all treated like queens for sure and you deserved every moment of it. How special!

  14. I'm amazed at all those animals...such variety! Your photos are wonderful.

    The elephant's eye reminded me of my mom singing songs from Oklahoma while doing the housework when I was about five..."the corn is as high as an elephant's eye..."

  15. I actually would love it if you'd show all 2000 photos! I am so enjoying seeing them. What a trip! Wonderful accommodations, too! An outdoor shower. Bliss. But the best part would be being face to face with those magnificent animals.

  16. May, I'm a loving this - every step of the way. Thank you so much for sharing.

  17. Those are marvelous photos, and what a snappy rescue party. Here's some giraffe trivia, told me by someone who knew more about them than I: They have about the same number of vertebrae in their spines that we do, just spaced farther apart.

  18. Wow! Your photos are wonderful. The birds are so different from the tiny ones in my back yard (excluding the chickens!) Love the shots of the ladies being carried through the swamp! I'm with you. They would have carried me, too! (My biggest nightmare is that my car will run off the road into a swamp. I'll have to sit inside for the rest of my life or until a helicopter comes to lift me out!) Can't wait for more photos!

  19. Oh, gosh, I am so glad you let me know you're back! For some reason, I didn't have your new blog logged in my blogroll. Wow, you got some AMAZING shots. I thoroughly enjoyed browsing. I had to chuckle over this one of you being rescued. What memories! What an experience!

  20. Getting stuck in the mud was a sight! At least the guys were around! All the different's completely amazing just to see it. I don't think you could bore me with the photos...keep them coming!
    Take Care!


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