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Frozen Safari

Yesterday we enjoyed a massage instead of the evening Safari in Hwange and we booked one for the next morning. Safaris are THE thing to do in Hwange so we had to go on atlas one. Hwange is a large game reserve, about 14,650 SqKM (just a reminder - Israel is 20,750 SqKM). You are allowed to drive only on dirt road and off-track is totally forbidden (and obeyed - for fear of long prison term). This rule limits very much the quantity of wild life you can actually see and almost completely eliminates the ability to watch a kill. The animals are exempt from the “roads only” rule and hunt in the middle of the thick bush. We are even aware of a fresh kill that happened while we were nearby as we could watch a sudden concentration of birds of prey circling the area. But as said, wishes and action are two separate things - you cannot enter the bush.

The day started on the left foot. As the game drive was scheduled for 6:30 we set the alarm to 6:00. I woke up and went to the bathroom and Yud shouts “wow, it is 6:22 - we must rush”. I finish whatever I was doing, both put on some cloths and rush out. The vehicle and the driver are there waiting since we are the only tourists in the group. The vehicle is a Toyota land-cruiser pickup converted to people carrier by placing three rows of seats and a roof top high above the truck.

Fortunately enough the driver brought us wool blankets, a minute after takeoff the wind blows away the last drop of heat from around us. We curl up, with only the nose and eyes peeking. The hotel is very close to the reserve and after (long and cold) five minutes we are near the roadblock to the reserve. Here a surprise awaits us - Cheetah walks on the road as the Queen of the area. The Cheetah is a very difficult animal to see. It moves close to the ground, well camouflaged and moving slowly. It is only during the final stage of hunting that she runs with an incredible speed. We were very happy to see such a reception and continued to the main entrance to the reserve, mainly for the payment of entrance fees collected from every tourist.

We get to see quite a lot of animals In the reserve- giraffes, wildebeests (Gnu), jackals, antelopes, hippopotamus, crocodiles, some elephants (remote) and few bird species. Most of the trip we looked for lions, we saw their tracks on the dirt road but the pride was not seen. In the middle of the trip we stopped for a while at an observation point. Some birds were fascinated by the sight of the vehicle mirror, pecking and quarreling with their figure in it.

On the way back the temperature rose slightly and we drove to the hotel for breakfast. In fact we were late to arrive but we had enough. We waited at the hotel for the driver and the car we had booked to take us to Bulawayo. I kept busy working on my photographs, writing letters and the blog. Yehuda was on the phone all the time dealing with an important real estate deal in Scotland. The drive is long, about four and a half hours, and boring. We arrived late in the evening at the hotel in Bulawayo, dinner, shower and sleep.

That's it for today,

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