The sun came out and so did all the animals! Right in front of camp from our room we had the most spectacular view of open floodplain and water. Two hippo were lazing and wallowing in front of our room, and during the afternoon just before tea an impressive breeding herd of elephants came to feed. It was like they were coming to tea too! They gently made their way from in front of Room 3 towards the main area. A real tea time treat for the guests as they were close enough to reach out and touch.
The sun had broken through the rain clouds and for the first time in a week we could anticipate a sunset. Mike had a spring in his step because the light meant he had a chance at great photography. Vumbura Plains is very different from Tubu where we had just been in terms the habitat. The floodplains were now a mix of woodland and grassy plains - the large trees are majestic. There are hardly any large palms here and the sand is deep and thick - it is a beautiful piece of Africa.
On the way to camp from the airstrip, we came upon a small herd of tsessebe and what I thought was impala with them. I was looking at them through the binoculars and said to Mike that I thought the baby impala looked "funny". And then I realized they were baby tsessebe. Total blonde moment - must be the blonde roots inside my head because I am neither a natural nor unnatural blonde!
There is a lot of game here: wildebeest, impala, giraffe, buffalo, massive herds of zebra, beautiful sable with young as well; and predators: lion, leopard, hyaena, wild dog (which we did not see sadly, as they just eluded us by a day). And the birds of course - all the usual suspects as well as lots of southern ground-hornbills. Mike told me a funny story about ground-hornbills. When he was a young guide at Londolozi with Lex Hes, way, way back a long time ago, they were told a theory that if you chase ground-hornbills more than a hundred yards four times, they get tired and you can pick them up. So of course they had to test this theory. Three kilometres later the ground-hornbills were not tired at all, and Lex and Mike had no chance of catching them! So that was that theory blown out of the water.
The other theory about ground-hornbills that I have heard is that you only see them in groups of odd numbers. I can tell you that this theory is also not true, unless of course when I have seen them in groups of even numbers, the odd one is hiding out of sight! In which case the theory is true! On the subject of theories, the other theory that I have considered long and hard is that some guides tell you that the pregnant impala resist giving birth until the rains come. Now this might be true within about a week or two or three, even four. But any longer than that they will have to give birth because you can't just ingest a baby like you digest Christmas pudding. Mike has seen them in times of drought where, because the mother is so weak from hunger and thirst, both mother and baby die during the birth. Thank goodness this is not the case now as we are blessed with a wet cycle here in the Delta and there are lots of very healthy and happy Bambi's running around.