Lake Kariba- part 3. Leopard Luck. 

WE SAW A LEOPARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  drtdhjfutfjgvsedgfglukfyutdfghupouifyjh!!!

One of the most elusive and hardest animals to spot in the wild – even people who’ve been working in the bush for decades have only seen them a handful of times. I DESPERATELY wanted to see one during my time here, and luck was on our side one early morning as we went on a game drive.

Our guide spotted him in the bushes, looking all fly and camouflaged and I was SO FLIPPIN ecstatic, also because they’re nocturnal animals so seeing them in daylight = jackpot. You can look at some of my (totally appropriate) reactions here:

There was the squealing jazzy hand dance in the car and as we stopped for tea break 10 mins later, there was naturally a leopard dance and an impersonation. Throughout the whole thing, my guide had a desperate ‘make it stop‘ look on his face. I thought the dance and leopard impression were both grand. Good enough for Broadway even. justsayin.

Okay, now that THAT’S out of my system (for now), here is a picture of the glorious infinity pool at our lodge. Part of it was still under construction so we were the only people there and got to be loud, noisy and obnoxious. Yaaasssssss

Photo 18-09-2017, 13 55 30

I also got this (not so little) visitor outside my room one afternoon. Love Monitor Lizards!

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One of the coolest experiences I’ve had this week was meeting the local anti poaching unit and doing a trek with them, both on land and on water. The highlight was when they found an illegal fishing boat near one of the islands (which I got to in this glamorous manner):

Photo 19-09-2017, 16 45 09

The rangers knew what to do straight away and within minutes, 3 fishermen were arrested for fishing without a license in a protected area. That was an easy job  though. On land we looked for snares and tracks of poachers that would want to kill wildlife.

This organisation is different from the others I’ve met with so far and they aim to solve poaching on a much bigger scale. Through experience, they’ve learnt that whenever poachers are arrested, the first thing they ask for is a job. They kill animals not because they want to, but because it’s the only way for them to make money and provide for their big families. Ivory is worth a lot, but not initially when it’s bought from the poachers. To them it’s good money, but an equal amount can easily be earned through creating cooperatives, where these villagers co-own businesses (with the help of an initial loan) and develop/modernise the area AND make money as a result. Genius. You can read more about their amazing ideas and how you can help here.

The most memorable thing about Lake Kariba was of course the amount of wildlife you can see just by sitting on a boat close to the shoreline. Here we’re looking at a huge herd of buffalo, maybe 200 of them. Quite a mesmerising sight.

And how can I forget these beautiful, SUPER CHILLED elephants that bathed right infront of us on one of the first days!? Could barely contain my excitement (as the last image will clearly show):

We also filmed the intro sequence this week, which is the 20 sec video that’ll play before each episode. That sent my excitement flying through the roof, because sometimes I get so caught up in the daily adventures that I (almost) forget that this is a TV Show!! There was a running sequence and God help my running skills. To make things a little more pacy, one of the camera guys had to chase me with a stick. It was apparently the best take. *sigh*. Bullying at its finest, I’d say.

I was then presented with a bit of a survival challenge. Using just matches and a knife, how would I cook a fish in the wild? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Let’s see. I’d starve. No, just kidding. I actually had an idea that wasn’t half bad. I gutted my fish (which I’d thankfully done once before when I was about 10), cut it up into small pieces and put it on a sharp stick that I’d found. Kinda like a skewer… so it was a fish kebab. Sounds gross I know. I started a fire and cooked it over the flames for around 15-20 mins.


Result: It was edible. But that’s about it. The presentation was shocking and the taste was… well, not there. You can tell by my super impressed face that I’d probably had better fish that week:

Photo 18-09-2017, 21 14 52

BUT I’m actually really proud of myself, because if I were dying, this would TOTALLY work! And it would probably be the meal of a lifetime too.

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Ok, let’s not get carried away here.

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After my success/fail, the guide showed me HIS way of doing it and I was blown away. He gutted his fish and then completely covered it with mud. Yes, MUD! The kind that felt like clay close to the shoreline. He put it under coals and ashes and let it sit there for a good 20 mins. The clay turned hard and as he peeled in off, the scales and bones came off with it so we were left with a beautiful, soft fish fillet! Tasted like the best boiled fish. I was seriously impressed and quickly hid my joke of a fish so that there wouldn’t be any comparison. 

Photo 21-09-2017, 13 46 20

The week finished off with a beautiful bonfire, organised by African Bush Camps, complete with drinks and elephants in the background…. aaaaahhhhhhh heaven.

Photo 22-09-2017, 11 23 45

Next Week: A winding river that will take your breath away, wildlife with a red cliff backdrop, animal spotting on foot and so much more!

 


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