Kafue & Mayukuyuku Camp
Kafue Travel Blog› entry 11 of 16 › view all entries
Urse & Bea, and Julie, joined us in Lusaka to accompany us to Mayukuyuku â€“ a camp in Mafue that lies at a bend in the river that is swarming with hippos. I had a great time talking with Julie in the Handy Landy, after a months journey of only guys in the car. We chatted the whole three hours from Lusaka.
Game drives are best in the early morning and around dusk, so the two days at Mayukuyuku were largely spent sitting by the water watching the hippos. My word, hippos are hilarious! They get sleepy around half three to half four, and yawn a lot â€“ which is fun to watch. Then they get chatty in the next hours and bark a funny half laughing pig, half flatulent call across the waters to each other.
Our introduction from the guide was comforting that first night. He told us a story about an elephant trampling, and how the lions and leopards often come through the camp at night â€“ and they really donâ€™t like each other. Also, the hippos come inland each night and tromp past, about twenty yards from the closest tent. They walk up to 20 kilometers inland, twirling diarrhea in all directions with their helicopter-esque tail so that they can find their way back to the water.
His stories made trekking to the bathroom at night a bit nerve wrecking â€“ which was sad considering it was so awesome! The bathroom had straw walls without a roof, surrounding proper plumbing and hot water via a wood burning hot water heater. I showered while staring at the stars â€“ it was wonderful!
Everyone but Fred, Laura, and I went on a night drive the second evening, so we decided to have our own adventure. We wanted to watch the hippos come out of the water to begin their journey, so we chose a spot out of the way of the giant paths and sat to watch the sunset and the starry sky take over.
The next day on the night drive â€“ which was to be a long drive of 5 hours but was cut short due to surrounding and overwhelming lightning storms â€“ we encountered another adventure. We were randomly mock-charged by an elephant. Not comforting was the clumsiness of the escort who carried the rifle, and the difficulty of the driver to start the vehicle, as we sat in the open-air benches in the back of the pickup. The truck finally started just as the elephant was slowing and turning his head, a mere ten feet away â€“ if even. The guide Patrick was visibly shaken, "Bad, elephants are bad. You cannot hide in a ditch, canâ€™t climb a tree, or run. Even shooting. I would rather face a lion or a leopard than an elephant." Great.
We saw plenty of antelope, water buffalo, zebra, monkeys, kudu, warthogs, elephants, mongoose, vulture, and hartebeests. We also saw an incredibly majestic roan, another type of antelope â€“ which was just gorgeous and regal. No big cats, but thatâ€™s okay. It was amazing to see everything living together, the egrets following the elephants to snatch up the stirred grasshoppers; the funny straight-tailed fleeing warthogs weaved with everyone. Humans live so segregated from other species, it was beautiful to see so many different species interacting and living symbiotically.