We had brought a full suitcase of second hand childrens clothes to Zimbabwe collected in Germany from Chris’ colleague to give to the Dete community and orphanage. That morning we planned to hand them all over and Oliver took us from house to house where there were little kids and each family could pick something out, they liked or could use. Far away from any store those kid’s clothes are much sought after and they will have a second and third life clothing many kids to come here in Africa.
We were shown tiny but tidy houses. Each with a meticulously maintained vegetable garden, raked sand floors and improvised fencing using anything from old wire, plastic bottles, tires or grain bags for fencing material.
The community only had one little school building, a small church and no grocery store. For all errands or food not grown locally, someone needs to go to Hwange, about an hour drive away. Doctor visits, bank, petrol, grocery, pharmacy, everything was a long drive away.
We handed out our kid’s clothes much faster than we thought. And so we had time to make a stop at the African Painted Dog center.
The African wild dogs are nearly extinct. There is only a few hundred left and most of the packs are collared to track and identify them. The fact that we had seen 4 of those dogs without a collar let the researchers suspect that a larger pack had divided into two. The word got out that Chris had taken pictures and so they asked whether we would share them which of course we did.
After the dog center, we headed back to Miombo for a yummy lunch before saddling up the horses again for an afternoon ride. We were hoping the lions had moved on. Wishful thinking. After about an hour ride with again no game in sight, Peta stopped cold in her tracks, her mount had ears pricked and was reluctant to move forward. Peta took a picture of the road in front and on the enlarged screen she saw two lions on the road that had just gotten up and several more crossing the road. We saw a distant outline but the horses definitively knew something was up. We waited until all of the had crossed the sand road before turning in the opposite direction to make a wide circle around them. Everyone was a bit on edge as no one was keen on a direct encounter with an entire pride of lions.
The rest of the afternoon ride we did not see a single animal except a few birds. We came awfully close to a lion encounter and nobody minded getting back without one. We washed down our accumulated stress level with white wine and beer at a beautiful sundowner at a water hole, not minding that we did not see any animals there as that evening nine big elephant bulls visited our waterhole by our tree cabin.
One bigger than the other. But luckily, they kept their distance.