Just warning you in case you don't wish to see trophy photos. Hunting responsibly is an important form of conservation. And in this very economically depressed country, it is a big source of income and food. No less than 80% of the meat harvested is given to the villagers. The rest of it is used by the staff and served at meals. Nothing is wasted and it helps, somewhat, with the poaching. If the villagers are provided good, fresh meat (their main source of protein), then they needn't resort to poaching. Of course there is still a problem when it comes to elephants. They are heavily poached for their Ivory which commands a steep price when sold to China and the poachers do not make use of the meat. The Ivory is all they are after.
On day 7, DH brought home an old Dugga Boy - they aged him to be at least 13 yrs old, which is old for a Cape Buffalo and he was scarred and nearly bald and beautiful.
His bosses (the 2 thick pieces that meet in the middle) are gorgeous - they are old and worn, and have incredible character. There are bigger bulls out there, but this was the one for us and everyone was excited to see that the tips of his horns were ivory colored.
The scouts, and Muza had to walk to the truck and cut a path for about a mile in order for the truck to reach the recovery site.
I'm sure glad there was a road that close and that we didn't have to haul him miles down from a mountain top!
The rest of these are from Matombo Camp.
Here is our outdoor sink. I could use one of these for the crew!
Here is the dining room:
Roy and Rich were our personal bartenders:
Our table was beautifully set each night:
On one of the rare times we were in camp during the day for a few minutes, dropping off the buffalo at the skinning shed, we ran down to the kitchen. I wanted to meet the chef and thank him for the fabulous food. And this is his entire kitchen!
Here's the other side
Every delectable dish was cooked in this!
including fresh bread every day.
DH laughed that night and teased me by saying, "And here you've been complaining about wanting a bigger stove!" Why, yes. Yes, I have and now that argument has been shut down and is no longer valid. LOL.
I also think I'm going to have to step up my game in the kitchen. Our plates looked like this every night:
We had Hors d'oeuvres (and yes, I had to look that up!) each evening by the fire before supper and then an appetizer such as a cheese and tomato bruchetta, followed by the main dish, (sorry for the awful photo - I just snapped these with my phone and the lighting is awful)
and always a beautiful, delicious dessert like a milk tart or chocolate mousse. It was a huge treat to have meals prepared for us 3 times a day and we loved it all with the one exception: a French Cheese appetizer that squeaked when you bit into it. It was interesting.
I should have taken more photos of the food. :)
We continued to be spoiled with a daily laundry service. They washed our clothes in river water they heated in a huge cauldron and hung them on the clothesline to dry before ironing with an old iron heated on the stove. DH and I only took 2 changes of clothes. He said that's all we needed and it was. Each night, when we headed to bed, our laundry was neatly folded and waiting for us. And I know y'all are going to ask about showers. LOL. Our tents had a perfectly good bathroom, complete with a shower. Each night, one of the camp staff would stoke our hot water heater behind the tent:
with firewood and hot showers were enjoyed.
And yes, we had indoor plumbing. :)
There was no electricity but they ran the generator for an hour or so in the morning and then again for a few hours in the evening. I was often furiously writing in my journal when the generator was turned off and fast asleep half a second later.
One night I awoke to what I was sure was a leopard growling and sidling along the outside of the tent on the other side of our beds. It gave me chills and thrilled me at the same time. The next morning I mentioned it to DH but he hadn't heard it. Sure enough, 2 leopards had come into camp that night and gotten into a tussle at the skinning shed. So, although I know y'all want pictures, I was not that brave. We saw a leopard one afternoon slinking across a rock, but he disappeared before anyone could blink. Roy said it was very unusual to see them during the day.
We did see some interesting birds. This is an African Wood Hoopoe. Funny little, busy birds that were fun to watch as they scurried about in the last bits of sunshine:
And this is a Yellow Saddle-billed Stork we saw in a river bed. She moved in such a regal, stately manner as if she had all the time in the world
Poor Roy probably thought he had been saddled with a couple of young school children. We were fascinated with everything we saw and eagerly drank in the stories and information he shared.
I'll leave you with this photo and the accompanying tale.
Many moons ago, the Praying Mantis was the King of the Jungle. The hippo was a land dwelling animal and he ate absolutely everything in his path. As he grew bigger and bigger, the heat began to take its toll and he longed to take refuge in the cool river. He approached the Praying Mantis to ask permission to spend time in the river, but his request was denied, saying, "No. You will eat all the fish in the river." But the hippo denied this. The Praying Mantis finally relented with one stipulation. The Hippo must return to land each night rub his backside against a bush and spray his dung across it in order for the Praying Mantis to be assured that it was free of fish bones. And this is why hippos spend an inordinate amount of time in the water, yet they do not eat fish. :)
Perhaps I should leave you with a cuter photo. How about this little fella. These Vervet monkeys are pests, but they are fun to watch: