Bushwise Tales – part 2
One morning while I was taking the tent down, two hyenas took an interest in me. They walked towards me from the tree line so I shouted at them and they retreated. The second time, my shouting didn’t have much effect so I threw a couple of stones at them, which stopped them for a while. When they came forward again, I had to use a pencil flair to send them on their way.
One morning I stopped to chat to a local who was repairing his fishing net on the bank of the river and as the guy was so friendly I gave him some fishing hooks. He then became most insistant that he had to repay me the favour, and as he was the only one with a few cows in the region I had to accompany him back to his village to meet his family and drink some milk. He called one of his sons as we arrived, who returned with one of the cows. Using his dirty and muddy hands he proceeded to milk the cow into a calabash. I had to drink warm milk from the calabash, which got stuck in my throat with each swallow.
And then I met the crocodiles! While paddling down a side channel at Chirundu, I saw a big crocodile coming off the bank. It attacked the back of the kayak first and then let it go, which allowed me to get in two more paddle strokes. But it came back and hit the kayak again, clamping its teeth around the back of the rudder system. I tried to paddle away and got in one or two strokes when the crocodile twisted the kayak in its mouth, which threw me into the water! Fortunately I was close to the bank.
Unfortunately the bank was a two metre high cliff. Just as I got to the top on my first attempt, I fell back into the water – the crocodile was still having a go at the kayak with the front of the kayak in its mouth now. On my second attempt I got to the top of the bank, scratched and bleeding on my chin and shoulders. After about ten minutes and a bit of ‘rock persuasion’ the croc let go of the kayak and I was able to retrieve it downriver and hide it in the bush. It was a 20km walk upriver to Mana Pools campsite – avoiding herds of buffalo and elephants. The game warden helped me retrieve the kayak and take it to Harare to get the rudder repaired. Apparently lightning doesn’t strike twice…..
And so ends part 2 – watch out for part 3 …coming soon!