Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Lake Kariba, day 3

I managed to get offered a pre-breakfast fishing invite again. This time the best fish was a large cichlid with a rose coloured belly weighing about 750g, caught by Ty who also had the tiger on the previous day. I managed a couple of palm-sized 'bream' and was much happier, having added a bit more weight to take the kinks out of line that was designed to cope with Tigerfish rather than bream.

After breakfast we motored out, re/discharged various tanks, then found some more game, plus a couple of crocs sunning themselves on a small cluster of islands. Elephants had been spotted on the opposite side of the bay where we were moored, and so we went over to view and photograph them in the launch. While the second sortie was out, hippos were seen nearby and they gradually moved into the bay just behind hippo basher. When the launch came back it serendipitously came in from one side and at speed, neatly missing the hippos – this could have been nasty, since there were 5 or 6 in a pod, and mostly hidden under water less than 50 meters away – a direct line would have taken the launch straight through the group.

When we drove across to see the elephants we were careful not to get too close or disturb them. There was a single animal on it's own, a mother and baby and a small group of them further down the shore. At one point a couple of them seemed to be deep in conversation with a group of egrets that were also close by. Their skins seemed noticeably less thick and dry than those we have seen elsewhere, possibly because they could bathe and remain moist in the lake water, or maybe because they are a slightly different breed. They were certainly fascinating creatures – I can't say that I was moved by any sense of beauty, power, grace or any of the other superlatives that get applied, but that might be because the only form of contact possible is from a distance with a long lens or binoculars. Glad to have seen them though.

After the elephants we headed off to sampa karuma – a cluster of islands just a couple of hours motoring away from Kariba docks – where we were to moor for our last night. We had a brief explore of the tiny spit of land to which we were moored, dry wood was found and as the sun set a fire was built to produce hot coals for cooking. 

Some crayfish had been caught in the lake that morning, using hard sadsa (pronounced sudsa - mealy meal porridge eaten as a staple locally – not nice to my taste buds) in the trap, and they were prepared with garlic and lemon juice as a starter. Steak, boerewors (farmer's sausage) and more sadsa were the main course, and we retired full, content, sweaty and smoky from the fires.

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