Thursday, July 12, 2012

Filling holes and flying over Africa.............

......................we left Little Makalolo following a great stay and headed for our second camp in Zimbabwe, Ruckomechi, situated on the western boundary of Mana Pools National Park.

On the way to the airstrip, still lots of interest to grab our attention such as a sweet White-browed Scrub Robin.............

......a spotted lost feather, whose I don't know......

........always sad to see, an elephant skull.......

..........but happily a ton (or perhaps I should say tons!) of lively elephants on their morning walk through the bush. That tiny one would only be a few months old.

The airstrip was unpaved and as we took a run along while awaiting the plane, our ranger Charles noticed animals had dug several holes in the dirt during the night! He parked us at the boarding area - complete with a tiny loo and a couple of fire buckets - then proceeded to dash back with a shovel to do a quick fill-in of the holes before the plane arrived!

Charles waving 'goodbye' as we took off on a two hour flight in a 12-seater Caravan.....

......enjoying amazing views of sub-Saharan Africa's mountains and valleys.......

....and huge Lake Kariba....

.........arriving at Ruckomechi camp on the banks of the Zambezi River in the heart of the Zambezi Valley. Shaded by mahogany and acacia trees, there was a superb view of the mountains of Africa's Great Rift Valley on the opposite side of the river which is Zambia.

The sparkling waters of the river were welcoming...............

........and elephants were enjoying afternoon swimming.

The camp consisted of ten spacious tented units, again with indoor and outdoor showers. The charming central dining, bar, library and lounge area faced the mountains..................

.........the small infinity pool with hammocks............

.....was a nice resting place in the afternoon between the day's two game drives - Bob can vouch for that!

Always a favorite spot, the 'star gazing' deck with fire pit, a place to relax at any time, but especially in the evening after returning from a game drive. Conversation with fellow travelers is always animated - sharing exciting stories of the day's wildlife viewing while sipping an aperitif in anticipation of another great dinner. Often lions can be heard roaring in the distance, and hippos grunting in the river before coming on land to eat during the night.

Our tent....................where we enjoyed watching the elephants pass by on their way to the river........really the first time we'd seen them swimming up close.

Passing along the river bank in front of our tent.

"Hey, the water looks good.............shall we take a dip guys?".

"Yeah, let's take a chance - might find something good to munch on that island. Who's going in first?".

"Oops, don't forget the baby...............

...............and Grandma bringing up the rear".

Yes, great days ahead at Ruckomechi Camp. Sadly, Zimbabwe's unsettled political situation stops many tourists from visiting the country. The people of Zimbabwe are desperate. With the unemployment rate around 80%, and very little food available since the loss of most farms, they need a boost in tourism to help the crumbling economy. NO tourist or safari camp has been attacked. The people are so welcoming and extremely grateful when you visit........they need assistance and funds to win their struggle to survive. If you know of anyone considering a safari to Zimbabwe please encourage them to go, and soon!


  1. Your photos are so stunning Mary. I will never get tired of seeing them!

  2. Never thought about the elephants swimming and the are sooooo close. I would love to go but those flights and little planes would do me in before I ever got there.

  3. Hi Mary, that camp is so beautiful. I love the central lounge area. But getting there ... yikes. I can't do those small planes. My stomach would be all over the place and I would be sick the entire time and then some. I just love seeing all the elephants. Hope your day is a good one. Best wishes, Tammy

  4. Stunning photos again Mary! What a beautiful country and how sad that Zimbabwe is in such a bad state.

  5. Just love those elephants. Grandma looks like she is smiling. How I would love to travel here and help the economy, but one trip is all I can afford in a year and we are planned out for the next two years. I very much love that you have been here twice, at least this does seem familiar from two years ago?

  6. One beautiful spot after another. What a thrill it would be to follow in your footsteps, for real!

  7. Great photos, Mary. I can look at elephants forever, what amazing creatures. I'm sad to hear about the loss of income for the people of Zimbabwe. I hope more people decide to visit there. What a lovely country.


  8. It must have all been wonderful, Mary. And, I'm so glad that you got to share it with Bob this time.

  9. What an amazing place to visit. Your photos are wonderful. The little baby elephant is so sweet and that photo of grandma bringing up the rear is charming. What an experience it must have been to see those elephants in the river right outside your window.
    So very sad about the people of Zimbabwe. You make a very good point on the need for tourism.
    So glad you have shared your journey with us.

  10. Wonderful! I love the one of the elephants looking into the water! How amazing to have them so close and be able to watch them at your leisure.

  11. Gorgeous! Such amazing views from the air too.


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