Day 7 June 27, 2015
It was a mild night. I awoke when the generator started indicating that the new day was starting. It was still dark, but dawn was fast approaching. As I sat up a 2 inch bug fell onto my arm. I had a flashback to the scorpion of last year that so hampered my last trip. Luckily, it was only a grasshopper. I got up to shower, and there was no hot water. Instead, I went for coffee.
We drove out this morning along the cut line. We were on a part of the concession which is not very close to the river. On this road we found a set of hippo tracks going deeper into the concession. There was also another set coming back out. Evidently some lone hippo made a long trek overnight to feed, and returned to the water before daylight.
We checked the water holes looking for fresh elephant spoor. We drove on to check another larger waterhole, and came upon the herd of elephant we had seen yesterday. This time we had driven up almost into the middle of them. Needless to say, they were not happy with our intrusion. A group of them went to our left. The majority of them went to our right. We did not see any trophy bulls. We watched them for a long while as they made their way away from us. It was an incredible sight to see that many elephants on the move.
We decided to hang out in this spot. Uys believed that with such a large herd, with so many cows, would have to have some mature bulls circumnavigating the herd like satellites. Well, we didn’t see any bulls, but there was a group of straggling cows trying to catch up to the herd. They were all young, and were panicked that we were between them and the herd. There was a great amount of repetitive trumpeting and growling until they were well past us. We drove on searching for the bulls. At one point we came upon a large track of about 23 inches. It appeared fresh from this morning. We lost the track in the thick grass. We drove the truck through some of the area but did not find the tracks. There was a chance he was still in the area. The trackers got out of the truck and followed the general direction of the tracks. We circled around in the truck. None of us saw any elephant. We did startle an elegant male roan. He ran about 30 yards and then watched us pass.
We drove to Camp Kwando for lunch on the river. On the way back, Uys received a call that Margarit, our cook coming up from Omujeve near Windhoek, had a bit of trouble. It seems that our kitchen was stocked last week with groceries by Corne’s parents. The groceries were stolen out of camp. (Which is why we were eating at Camp Kwando.) They sent Margarit by bus with more food. On the way, her bus broke down outside of Grootfontein, and she had to wait for a ride to Kongola. While she was waiting, she was attacked and a some of the supplies were taken. She had a few bruises, but was otherwise alright. We returned to Camp with her.
In camp, the hot water copper pipes had broken and they were attempting to replace them so we could have hot water. They were successful with a little bushman engineering.
In the afternoon, we drove to the back of the concession, and worked our way back toward camp. We saw a few good tracks from overnight, but nothing we could follow. We saw some Impala and a lone blue wildebeest. When we were almost to camp at the last light of day, we came upon a 24 inch track. This was about 3 hours old. It was too late to follow. We will have to drive around the area in the morning to check and see if he returned to the park.