29 January 2011

Campsite Animals

On a 73 day trip we camped at roughly 32 campsites, a handful of which were bush camps. At the regular sites, amenities ranged from nice grass and hot showers to thick red mud and a cold trickle in a bug infested stall. We never knew what we would get next. But one feature every campsite shared was animals.

Nearly every place had at least one dog. Sometimes a friendly chap like this Namibian fella, sometimes a handful of chubby big guys, looking for a free handout.

Goats were fairly common.

But only Red Chili campsite in Uganda had a giant naughty pig who pulled clean shirts down from the washing line...

...but who turned into a big mush when at the receiving end of a nice rub.

Even bush camps had their share of animals. Our first one was at the Naboth family's cow farm in Uganda. Check out the horns on these bad larrys.

Yes, I am wearing a mustache, but that's a different blog post. The kitty didn't seem to mind, and it was a treat to find a creature worthy of a cuddle.

Not every campsite animal we came across was domesticated. Our first campsite in Kenya was on the shores of Lake Naivasha and was home to some hungry hungry hippos. We could see them in the water during the daylight hours and they came out onto the banks to feed at night. Have you ever fallen asleep to the bellowing of hippos?

There was no shortage of wild mixing with tame. Semi-wild? Semi-tame? Above are zebras mixing with the camp owner's horses at Bird park in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Speaking of Bird Park, they had a whole aviary dedicated to birds of every feather. Some rescued, some bred, some slotted for release back into the wild and others destined to stay due to injury. We met rescued eagle chicks, hunting hawks, one-eyed owls and an oddball ostrich. Bird Park wasn't the only campsite dedicated to the rescue, rehab and preservation of one species. There was Snake Park in Arusha, Tanzania. I think you can guess what they specialized in.

Let's not forget the ever present monkeys. Though they were nearly as common as dogs,
I never got tired of watching them play. Above is a colobus monkey that makes a burping sound. Below are the ubiquitous blue-testicled vervet monkeys. Both in Kenya.

At Antelope Park in Zimbabwe we were lucky enough to have tame elephants roaming the
campsite. As I type the word tame I am reminded of how I was able to meet one, feed it and sit atop its back and thinking at the time, tame or not, this thing is HUGE, powerful, super cool and a little scary.

Not quite as scary and not nearly tame, we had a family of warthogs that roamed another Zim campsite. This time at Vic Falls. Momma warthog forages amongst the tents...

...while her babies take a nap.

Look how cute! A sleeping baby warthog. Awwwww.

Of course there weren't always animals to marvel over, cuddle, entertain or run way from, but there were always bugs.


p.s. I'd be remiss not to mention in at least one of these Africa blog posts that I do occasionally borrow a photo from one of my fellow travelers' facebook albums when I don't have a good enough pic of my own. Anyone interested in individual photo credits should speak to the management.

p.p.s. Since we're doing the addendum thing here, I might as well mention that most of the Africa photos and videos look much better when viewed full screen. In future posts I may insist you click on certain photos to get the full picture, so to speak. Hope you don't mind being bossed around now and then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I could watch monkeys all day and who knew I loved baby warthogs! But I guess generally baby anythings are adorable. I also felt a fondness for Helen the giraffe too. Love your posts; keep 'em coming!