Thursday, 15 November 2012

Saving Elephants

Omg. Epic day. . . 

We got up ridiculously early to go see Victoria Falls, and we are SO glad that we did. There was absolutely NO one around and we got to take in the amazing sites with out all the tourists around.

Taken with the iPhone panorama! So awesome!

We went at the time of the year when the water level is SUPER low. The rainy season is just about to start, so we got to see the entire canyon. March to May is the high season, and it would be pretty hard to take pictures since there would be so much mist (almost all the way to the city). So it seems we went at the right time. There are helicopters that go up around the falls, but it was pretty expensive...

I have seen three!
Found a millipede that is the size of an iPhone! Eeeep!
SUPER cropped picture, but from across the falls we waved at this guy FISHING!
And not a second later, he held up his catch!
The SIZE of this drop off is incredible, pictures just DO NOT do it justice.

Not a single barricade... hahaha 0_o
About the same time all the tourists showed up to Victoria Falls, we made our way to the bridge. . . The opened when we got there, but it took FOREVER to set up and get their first crew jump off, so we were running late by the time I stepped up to the edge. . . So there was no hesitation! haha we needed to get moving, so when I got to the edge I jumped!

The journey to Hwange (pronounced Wang-ee)... Out of this world! 
When I booked this tour, I had NO IDEA how amazing it was going to be. The camp alone is stellar and fully catered with some amazing staff.
But on our way here!!! We saw Kudu. . . Impala. . . TWO LION PRIDES. . . SOOOOO many elephants (and dead ones too). . . water buffalo, Hippo, lots of neat birds, Jackals, and some creepy looking carrion eaters (vultures and ones called Maribu stork)

We originally were looking at some vultures up in the tree and Washy said
"oh my! Look at that, there are some lions beneath the tree!"
You have no idea how exciting that was haha

The one thing I didn't expect, almost at every watering hole was a dead elephant. . .  *sad face*

Poor Gavin was SO NERVOUS when we saw this male Lion. haha
But the lion didn't get any closer, it was pretty hot out and he just wanted to relax in the shade

Our guide 'Washington' found us some amazing wildlife on the 3 hour game drive into camp
So, every time we stop to see or watch something, the driver will shut off the engine so we can be quiet and take in the whole environment. 

LOL but about 30 minutes from camp, our Land Rover didn't START! yikes! I am just SO glad that didn't happen when we were so close to that Lion Pride. Oh my oh my!
So Jason and Washy got in there and they were able to fix the battery terminals, and guess what we stuck in there??? A Canadian Dime! hehehe. 
Jason probably lost like 20 pounds in sweat while he worked on the vehicle. It was about 40 degrees in the sun.

Our view from the front of the camp

So, when we finally arrived at camp. . . We were barely able to enjoy the beautiful view when one of the first staff we meet (Ashley) says to us "You arrived just in time to save a baby elephant!"
Er, say that again? Save an ELEPHANT! Yes please.

So we jump into the vehicle again, and set out to witness the coolest thing ever!
The big bull elephants (in the picture above) don't care much for the elephant that was stuck in the mud, and we had to made sure they were away from the watering hole to give the camp staff some space to be able to chain up the little elephant and pull him out.
And let me tell you, those bull elephants were twice the size of the female ones we rode yesterday!

Ashley was pouring some water on the elephants face to get rid of all the mud to help him see.

This guy was probably a couple years old, and not as easy as a baby elephant. . .
so the boys all jumped into help get this guy up and off his side.

All of us sat in the vehicle cheering for this guy "get up get up!!" 

Goes to show you how much this guy weighed huh?

The sad part of the day, was that after all the hard work that everyone put in, the elephant just didn't have it in him to get up. 
Ashley said that the smaller ones have more piss and vinegar and just pop right up, but these older ones might just be too exhausted to get up. Just blows my mind that they don't have it in them to get up and just lay down to die :'(

ANYWAY! Ashley's partner in crime is Julian and he is one of the guides at the Camp Hwange, and he took us to this "hide".
The picture below, there is a bunch of huge logs that we climbed into and got to watch all the elephants come to the watering hole that was about 50m from us.
Lol, we got to sit there drinking beer and watching all the Elephants until sunset. Absolutely incredible.

Hogging the water can get rowdy! :P
We saw this monstrosity on our night drive...
he was showing us his massive mouth to tell us to stay the F*** back lol
And this was still day 1! DAY ONE!! Can't believe what else we are going to experience.
The dinner/lounging area is all open for a full on view of the camp and any wildlife that comes in to the watering hole.

Our rooms also have a view of the watering hole... and as we nestled into bed, we got to clearly hear the rumbling of the elephants.

No rest for the wicked, our wake up call is for 445am! 

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