Matobo National Park
May 24, 2017
|p at 6:00 and get dressed and take a walk before breakfast. We walked behind the large rock outcropping behind the lodge. Saw a troop of Vervet Monkeys up on the ridge then an old safari bus (or military vehicle) abandoned in the woods.
There was a large pond with several ducks. Looked like some were walking so it must have been pretty shallow. At about that time the phone alarm went off to signal we needed to return for breakfast.
Got back and had freshly made eggs and toast two cooks preparing things for us. After we packed up and got on the “white Rhino” a safari bus with open sides. Little less worried about people being eaten here in Zimbabwe compared to South Africa. For some reason the seating arrangement broke down and we were in the front seat.
Off to Matobo Animal Preserve and National Park. It was fairly close so we got there quickly and stopped at the park entrance. Then we headed off on a side road as there was a report of a rhinoceros near there. We met up with a park ranger who was armed with an automatic rifle. He led us into the bush and pretty soon we saw a dusty rock which was the rhino.
We kept getting closer and closer and the rhino moved a bit then we got closer again. It was a young (8 year or so) black rhino that had had its horn cut off (as had all the rhinos in the park because of poaching) but it still went on two had been killed in the last year.
After following the rhino and taking lots of pictures there was a rush of noise and a wildebeest came crashing through the brush toward us. When it saw how many we were it turned and kept running, but that chased the rhino away so we headed back to the bus.
Rangers told us that there was a family group spotted so we parked for a bit and wandered around, but no report for the guards so we travelled on.
Then we headed off to see the cave paintings. These were up a hill so we parked and headed through a small stream and up the face of a hill of solid rock. We got to the paintings in an overhang and could see several, some solid and some in outline. They were from 1300 to 5000 years old. Some were outlines and some solids. A bit decayed but protected by a wire mesh fence.
Once we finished there we took some pictures from the top of the hill and headed back to the bus. Our next stop being the Rhoades grave. I stood up part of the way to look around and to take a video of our travel down the road.
We arrived at the park and had a drink and some cookies, then headed up the hill to the grave site. The guide took one cookies “for the lizards.” I thought he was joking but when we got three there were 40 to 50 colorful lizards who were quite fond of the cookie! Once he started feeding them many more showed up along with an elephant shrew! Quite fascinating. There were also many memorials to Rhoades and others who were the “heroes” of the creation of Rhodesia.
We then headed back down the hill and back into the bus and to the lodge. We had lunch (prepared by Maxwell) but they ran out of the main courses by the time we got there so we had potato salad… Then we had a relaxing time reading and wandering around the ground waiting for our five o’clock walking tour.
We walked down the dirt road that follows the fence along the main road and saw all sorts of tracks some we thought were horse but weren’t sure. Others we were sure were monkey. Nice walk.
Back and Precious the guide took us on the trail we took this morning, but when we rounded the bend by the pond the field was full of wildebeests, zebras, and giraffes. They were eating grass and the giraffes were feeding from a platform set up for that filled with ground nuts. Took a bunch of pictures then crossed a couple muddy spots then up a whale back to watch the sunset and have some wine that Precious brought along for a “sundowner.”
Interesting to see the sun setting below the jagged crest, and to see the fence line which was high tension line and barbed wire. Seem the owner has many of them captive and the fence holds then in. We drank a little too much wine and after a while headed back in the dark. The animals had not quite left so we were between the gnus and giraffes but no problems.
Back at the lodge we had dinner and dessert, then Kitty and I headed back to the room and settled in for the night.