Today was another full horse riding day with lunch at a Safari Lodge across the Vlei (a marshy depression in which water collects in the wet season). With Esther riding her new best buddy horse Eddie and Chris riding Nonie, both now with comfy English saddles, we headed out into the grass and bushland adjacent to the NP.
We criss crossed the forrest and savannah grass lands with spotting a nice heard of impala, that let us ride through them. We saw a sable antelope, majestic with a jet black and white glossy coat and impressive saber like horns.
Another thing Peta & Oliver are doing with their volonteers is to sweep the area for snares. Snares are typically wire nooses set in the bush with the intent of strangling an animal. Poachers generally set snares to capture edible game meat. While poaching is highly illegal in Zimbabwe, with perpetrators facing penalties of up to nine years in prison, the setting of snares continues and poses massive risks to the local ecosystem. Our guide Dube (His family name stands for Zebra) found one of these snares that are really difficult to spot, specially from horseback.
We saw Elephants again, but they moved away from us, to fast to really see them. At noon we crossed the grassy Vlei where we had had sundowners before and were greeted by our volunteers and Oliver to take the horses off us for a nice lunch at the Hwange Safari Lodge. Under a pair of umbrellas, we enjoyed our sandwich lunch overlooking the water hole watching zebras, antelopes and strange looking birds come and go. Those were the largest flying bird weighing up to 31 kg and are called Keri Buster.
Nature is fascinating.
Heading back on a different route we needed another 3 hrs to get back to stables, seeing the occasional elephant butt, but as the bush was dense, they were difficult to spot. Giraffes have eluded us completely.
Back at the lodge we watched another herd of elephants using the waterhole and this time one of the little ones came quite close to our hut before being called back by Mom.
After yet another delicious dinner, we decided to crack open our Baobab fruit for dessert. It souded hollow and when we cracked it open, it looked like many tiny marsh mallow or baiser pieces inside.
Sucking them, they have somewhat sour taste not unpleasant but not much meat on it at all. We decided to leave the rest to the Vervet monkey in the camp.
Those are funny creatures that visited us every day, curious if we left and door open to sneak in and look for food. They were thrilled to get the baobab fruit and it was gone in no time.