Africa Log: Day 6

I awoke cold. For such a luxurious place, the rooms are cold. There is a fireplace that was going when we returned from dinner, and I guess we should have added some wood before bed, but we didn’t imagine that we would be cold indoors. There is no central heat, and the windows have shutters from the inside, but you can feel the cold around the edges.

As I was cold, I was also stiff, my back ached, any I was a little nauseated. I took a very nice hot shower and a pain reliever. That helped a little. The butler brought us a tray with tea and biscuits as the plan was to leave early and breakfast in the crater. The tea was warm, but the biscuit didn’t sit well. I was not looking forward to that bumpy ride, so I had a preventative Dramamine and we packed up.

When we opened the curtains, there was a blanket of fog such that we couldn’t see the edge of the lawn or the valley. But we could see zebra grazing there.
We joined Humphrey at the vehicle and learned that Moody and Twalid were assigned to other guests, so alone would be our guide today. Bill and JoBeth arrived and we started our journey to the crater on that winding, bumpy road through the thick fog, looking to avoid wildlife, Masai, and their livestock along the way.

The trip seemed to go quicker this time. When we arrived at the viewing area near the entrance gate, you could barely see the crater floor through the clouds rushing up toward us. As we meandered down the road from the gate to the crater floor, the visibility improved greatly.

Humphrey proved a knowledgable guide, but his skills are a host needed development. He pointed and/or identified numerous creatures, and he was able to spot things that were significantly camouflaged or far off in the distance. But he was also taken by the wildlife, and sometimes kept driving, though slowly, and talking instead of stopping to let us take pictures. However, he was attentive to our needs, and very pleasant company, as were Bill and JoBeth.
We had our breakfast next to large pond full of hippos. After taking lots of pictures of them, we dined on the feast Humphrey had arranged. Breakfast consisted of apples and bananas, sausage rolls, sweetened croissants, yogurt and mueslix, and was both filling and restorative. After breakfast, it did not seem so cold anymore.
We transcended the entire crater searching out rhinoceroses in the places they were known to frequent, and found lions, jackals, baboons, more hippopotami, and hundreds of zebra and wildebeest.

At one point we came upon some zebras running either fighting or trying to press the females. The noise that zebras make sounds like small yappy dogs! Humphrey told us that all zebras look pregnant because they have an enzymatic digestion process, so they have a lot of gas on their bellies. They are also the last choice of lions because their meat is very salty.

Later we came upon a trio of adult male lions, that looked like Mufasa from the Lion King, but they were at the extreme range of my camera, so I had to settle for long distance pictures even at full zoom.
In the end we did not find any rhinoceroses. Humphrey asked other guides and the park rangers, but no one had seen any. Humphrey hypothesized that was because it had been very dry for a while, and rhinoceros feed on green foliage that was not plentiful at that time.

The return trip seemed to go much faster as well, in addition to no traffic accidents to slow us down. We arrived back at the lodge at 3:45 and went straight to lunch. The lunch was teryaki turkey with pasta, cauliflower, corn and lentils, and salad, with a lemon tart for dessert.

After lunch we went to the gift shop before cleaning up. When we arrived back at our room, there was a hot bath waiting behind a heart of rose petals on the floor. We cleaned up and sat before the fire in our fireplace sipping tea for a while. When our laundry arrived, we packed the majority of our things as we had an early departure in the morning.

Our escort arrived at 7:40 to take us for a drink in the lounge before dinner at 8:00. The dinner consisted of pumpkin and ginger soup, filet of beef with potato rosti, and an apple cinnamon tart for dessert. After dinner we went back to the lounge for a glass of port.

Author: joabstieglitz

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