Again visited by elephant through the night but we were much more relaxed knowing what the noises were. Had the pleasure of one elephant falling asleep by the banda and we could hear it breathing clearly during the quiet periods. The heavy breathing was accompanied by strangely familiar, almost human-like noises from it's back end, too. Familiar but incredibly loud. Tried deperately not to laugh - after all he was only about 10 feet away on the other side of the fly screen.
A full-day drive today where we saw buffalo herd on the move toward Lake Chada Plain. Meresu was hopeful that they would cross the road while we were about. Unfortunately, the herd stopped to graze and despite the buffalo leaders pushing on, the herd did not move and the leaders were forced to slow and stop. We also drove toward Paradise, the distant tree-line fringing the Katuma plain, and encountered the Paradise pride of lions. We were lucky to see another herd of buffalo nearer the Chada plains - even bigger than this morning's sighting. Meresu estimating close to 1000 buffalo in this group.
At one stage during the day Annie and Meresu were deep in discussion about the operation and benefits of smart phones – Meresu has just purchased a Chinese knock-off I-phone. Nick is half horrified, half amused when back in the lodge he discovers his Masai has an i-phone.
Tonight is our last night in Katavi and we are really reluctant to leave. Nick tells us more about Meresu. He is Masai and his wife and child live in his village. Nick clearly admires Meresu, and has taken Meresu plus some other staff with potential under his wing at Katavi. It is a highly-regarded and special place, being so remote not a lot of Fox staff from other camps have had the pleasure of visiting here.
Meresu is supplied with a Foxes uniform but prefers to wear traditional Masai clothing which Nick is more than happy to accommodate while all other staff must maintain very particular standards. When Nick met Meresu 4 years ago he could only speak Masai and he has taught himself Swahili and English (to a very high standard) in order to progress as a guide.
Another big day at Katavi - so there are more pics from today on the next entry . . .