We have just shared two wonderful days with seventeen unbelievably interesting people from Spain. Led by Anna as their tour leader we ventured out on the first day for an afternoon drive up to Masassanya Dam. With our two vehicles packed and ready to go our safari began.
The drive to Masassanya Dam from Chipinda Pools Camp Site takes one up into the hills to a stunning view of the Runde River meandering far below. What ceases to amaze one is how the vegetaton is ever changing from mopane woodland into red bush willows, mixed woodlands and the abundance of the majestic baobab tree. Some estimated to be as old as 300 years.
On approaching Masassanya Dam View point one is always greeted by the water mammal the hippo. Here in huge numbers one can watch them for hours whilst enjoying the prolific bird life, spotting the numerous crocodiles and seeing the herds of elephants coming down in very large numbers to come and cool off and refresh and replenish themselves before disappearing into the bush only leaving behind their calling cards of the fresh dung makes the day more than complete.
For many this was their first time in Africa let alone on safari. Watching their faces is enough to make this safari complete as you can see that this experience is now a reality and not just something you are watching on TV.
This first day was highlighted with us being able to watch a lone bull elephant on the opposite bank come down to drink, refreshing and quenching his thirst and then giving us a treat of watching him spraying himself with water and washing himself down with the natural sun cream and insect repellent delightful mud. With his time complete we watched him melt away into the Gonarezhou Bush.
Driving back to the camp site at Chipinda Pools we watched the sun bidding the day good bye as we took the steep decline from the view point overlooking the Runde River. These sunsets are spectacular showing off the different colours dancing on the water of the river. Back at the camp site one is greeted to the calling of the Pearl spotted owl and the hippos in the river welcoming us back.
Chilojo cliffs on the banks of Runde river are the biggest highlight of the day. This mini grand canyon of Zimbabwe is a gem that has been hidden from the public by the vastness of the Gonarezhou. Just looking at them reveals the a frozen lapse of millions of years. What a phenomenon!
Silence, just the sound of the bush. What a way to finish our first day. Yet another safari to follow, a full day, a day waiting to be explored.