Lion Cubs, Mitch the Friendly Hippo and the Extremely Eventful Evening 

This week has been JAM PACKED with magnificent sights, incredible thrills and so much excitement that….yes, there may have been a few dances involved *cough*.

It all started when we got to this stunning location , which was actually the same area as our camp during Week 1.

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It looks super different now as most of the landscape has dried up and more animals are coming out to drink, which makes up for interesting walks along the river.

We’ve not really had time to focus on filming birds since we’ve been here , but this experience was certainly worth the change. As soon as we approached the river bank, hundreds of bright red bee eaters flew up and surrounded us in a glorious display that left me completely mesmerised.

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After the birds had settled, I noticed that we were also facing hundreds of hippos and some crocs (which brought back some terrifying memories of THAT canoeing trip) except this time I actually enjoyed watching them as we were on the river bank…. and yes, it also had something to do with the insanely beautiful scenery in the background.

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We even found a hippo path that they use each night to get out of the water and graze. For something so heavy with such short legs you’d except it to go for less of an incline. I even tried out my (useless) “hippo climbing onto land” tactics to see just how hard it must be for them. Conclusion: I should probably take “hippo impersonation expert” off my resume.

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Except if I were Mitch.

Ooooohhhhhhh Mitch ……

The friendly hippo who lives next to the campsite and is so used to humans that he practically acts like a lapdog. I have never loved a hippo as much as I loved Mitch. He’d come out to graze by our tents every day and would lay down by the fire with us at dinner each evening.

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And then one night I was woken up by a LOUD sound. Like trees being mashed up by Bigfoot. And I realised that Mitch was simply having a midnight snack a few meters away from my tent. We stared lovingly into each others eyes until he realised I was a creepy human, not a tree, and solemnly continued his journey back into the water. #momenttoremember

But if it were between Mitch and Spike, I think it would have to be Spike (don’t tell Mitch, he’s the jealous type). Spike is the world’s most chilled wild elephant. Not only did he let us get meeeega close to him without batting an eyelid …..

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…..but he then walked into our camp and let us feed him acacia pods !!! A. WILD. ELEPHANT !!!!

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That same day we walked onto LION CUBS. And that made me want to puke with excitement. (I didn’t thank the Lord). We knew the approximate area they were in so walked for 40 mins following their calls , and suddenly : ROOOOAAARRRR!! 3 fully grown females emerge from out of the bush , give us a death stare and then walk to the left.

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The guide immediately knew they were running to protect their cubs , so we followed them discreetly and for a fraction of a second I saw 3 tiny little things , all the size of a spaniel , making their way from one bush to another. Adorable!! I got SO excited , the “lion cub dance” went something like this:


The second dance happened when we decided to pull an all nighter and stay up at Kanga Pan– the only source of water inland for miles. This meant that during dry months it sees a lot of action. I went in with no expectations and …. OH DEAR LAWWWWWD!! Within the first 2 hours we saw : an elephant chasing away a hyena , 4 civets (insanely rare), 2 big herds of elephantsbuffalo, antelopes and not one….not two … but THREE leopards !!!!! You can see why the dancing came naturally:


The next morning, after only a few hours sleep, we woke up to large elephant herds with the cutest babies, all making their way through the pan. I was still buzzing from the night before and this was just the cherry on top – a truly perfect 12 hours and so different from anything we’ve filmed to date !

And if you think THAT’S lucky, on our last day a bird pooped down my cleavage and an hour later we ended up sitting with a wild dog pack with 9 pups. Laugh all you want, but the crew all firmly believe that was our good luck charm – hah!

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Ps. Here’s a spotted bush snake desperately trying to eat a frog outside my tent:

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Next Week: A unique and modern lodge overlooking an area known for leopard and lion action, exhilarating night drives, elephant interactions and more jaw dropping experiences from the African wilderness!

 


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