Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Friday afternoon we left about 3 p.m. with Taylors and went to Imire Safari Ranch about 1 ½ hours from Harare (close to Marondera). We arrived, got our rooms (hut-type cottage with a thatched roof), and then went on an evening ride and saw the rhinos and elephants where they are kept at night (to protect them from poachers). We rode in seats in the back of a pick-up as there were only a few of us at that point – but it was quite cool and we wrapped up in blankets. We stopped to see the sunset and were given a little snack and drink and then returned back to the cottages. They had a nice fire going to warm us up. More people had arrived and we were served supper of chicken, rice and vegetables.
Our nice cabin

Getting ready to leave for our rather cold safari. It was windy.

Off we go!!!

The Taylors got up early and went for an elephant ride – (we wimped out on that plus we didn’t want to pay $20 each for it). We slept in, had a warm shower and spent a little more time enjoying the nice fire in the dining room area. They served us a nice breakfast of eggs, baked beans, potato fritters, fried tomatoes and toast. We were then off for our safari – this time in a wagon (see pictures) because there were quite a few of us. We rode around seeing animals for about 2 ½ hours and then we were served a buffet lunch, which was really good. We ate sadza for the first time with some impala stew, rice, cooked cabbage, and some salads. When we were about done eating the handlers rode the elephants over and we watched them for a while. I was hoping they would go into the water but they didn’t. They sure are big animals! They estimate that the largest elephant weighs about 4 ½ tons. We carried on again and saw Enzoe (Zoey), the elephant that thinks she is a water buffalo. She was orphaned and they had no other elephants at the time so they put her with the buffalo and because she grew the biggest she thinks she is the boss and takes care of the herd. She doesn’t like the males and when they start to get aggressive, toward the females, she becomes protective. She has killed 14 of them (they use the meat to feed to the lions!). Apparently when they get close enough she just whacks them with her trunk which is super powerful (10,000 muscles in the trunk), and knocks them down. He then stabs them with a tusk and rolls on them. That pretty much does the job. (I hope I am getting the story all right). Once, one of the bulls went after a man who works with them and hurt him quite badly. He had to crawl for help and Zoey, the elephant, walked along side him the whole way to protect him from the bull (this man is the first one who ever cared for Zoe when they first found him orphaned). Zoey killed the bull shortly thereafter. National Geographic has been there twice to do a documentary about Zoey and her herd of water buffalo.

Elephant Family

He wants a branch - they eat leaves and the bark.

They have an armed guard with the rhinos and elephants all the time because of poachers. They lost their rhinos (breeding stock) to poachers a couple of years ago and luckily had some young ones still and they are having to wait another two years for them to be old enough to start breeding. They kill them for the horns and ivory tusks. This farm is more of a conservation area for the animals than anything. They keep them in at night but they are out all day roaming around a vast area. There are a lot of impala and sable and other animals as well.

Warthogs have to kneed to eat

Rhinos have 24 hr. guards due to poaching

We met a young couple with a baby – he works at the American Embassy. They were really nice and we are going to have them over for supper one night. He reminded me of Wade. They are here for two years and come from Boston. The four nurses were at the ranch for a get-away. 3 of them are here in Zimbabwe for 5 weeks as part of their training – they were from North Dakota, So. Dakota, and Toronto. The fourth has been here for 5 years. They sure need them here. They were with a church organization. Nice girls. There were also a couple of family groups there. We all ate together in the dining room and visited some.

We headed home at 3:30 and got back before dark. It was a nice break but 10 minutes after we walked in our flat the power went out for the evening – a regular occurrence, it seems. We had hot water for our bath this a.m. but no cold!! We just added some borehole water from our bucket we always keep on hand.

Today we went to church at Highlands ward so that we could go with Merci and Malaika, her daughter. It was nice to have them there and they enjoyed it and met a few other people. We will see Merci tomorrow and give her another discussion. Elder Bullock is having an afternoon nap as he didn’t sleep much last night (due to a kidney stone which we think passed!!). I checked out the flowers in the yard while he’s been sleeping and picked a bouquet to enjoy in the flat.

Bouquet of flowers from our yard

They say the weather won’t get any cooler than it has been and should start warming up soon. We are getting a little more wind - apparently August and September are the windy months. The past couple of days have been cloudy. It looked to us like it would rain any minute but when we ask the gate guard if it was going to rain, he said, “No, just clouds” and he was right. Today is a nice sunny day with a slight breeze and probably about 70 – 75 degrees I think. It was only 56 degrees in our bedroom this morning when we got up though – we are enjoying our new flannel sheets!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this post! Your safari stories were VERY interesting. It looked SO Fun! Sounds like winter over there is settling in on you. Glad you have warm sheets.