Mike and I have just spent a few days at Toka Leya and it was spectacular. Because the camp was busy our activities centered on the camp itself for the first two days of our stay. On our first evening, Mike walked out to the gym which is right on the banks of the Zambezi River with the most outstanding, uninterrupted view. A resident family of bushbuck walked under the main area of the camp and while Mike was taking in the sights the adult female walked out towards the river in perfect evening light. At first she was a little tentative but then settled down, feeding all the way round the edge of the river. Bushbuck are beautiful, delicate animals and exquisite to look at. Soon the male popped his head out doing the same thing followed by their young calf. Strangely, young bushbuck are often preyed on by baboon and have a high mortality rate.
There is nothing quite like watching an African sunset slip down in unison with a delightful mouthful of cold Sauvignon Blanc, which we were enjoying on the sunken balcony of our room. Just as the sun had set, we noticed a herd of giraffe making their way down to the river to drink. It was almost dark when they came through and Mike quickly set up his tripod to see if he could get some pictures of them in the last light. I absolutely love giraffe and love seeing them, so this was a fabulous treat.
I felt as though, if I sat still long enough, all the animals would come and greet me. We were waiting for the elephants to come into camp, and they did not disappoint us at all. In fact there were several occasions when we had elephants in camp. On one such occasion we enjoyed watching a breeding herd feed their way all along the bush on the banks of the river just in front of all the river-facing tents where they made their way to our tent, the last one in the row. This is where they came across a huge bull elephant that was in musth. This did not bother the females as matriarchs dominate in the elephant kingdom and so the bull did not give them any trouble.
Another occasion was when, from the boat, we spotted a huge herd of elephants on the banks of the river. Some of the herd made their way along the water’s edge towards the lodge. And of those, two bulls quietly and comfortably fed their way in between the pool, over the walkway to the gym and around the back of house towards the reception area. It was a glorious opportunity for us and the guests to just watch them peacefully feed around.
With all the spring blossoms out and about around Toka Leya at the moment, the wild jasmine and shaving brush Combretum are attracting birds and insects alike. Just walking around camp in the early morning Mike was able to take great images of brown firefinch, Jameson’s firefinch, tropical boubou, collared sunbird and western banded snake-eagle. The following photo diary shows the colourful splendor of these beauties.