Gonarezhou, the place of elephants, lived up to its name. We watched herds of these incredible animals drink and splash and move on. We watched herds meet with herds with the occasional upset on the fringes. We drove over sand with constellations of elephant tracks – with navigational accuracy not unlike the stars.
Camping at one of Chilojo’s exclusive campsites is nature’s finest drive-in movie. We watched the colours change. We watched the elephants come and go. We watched the flames of our campfire knowing that the darkness held height and depth and wild wonders.
We crossed rivers on game drives and lapped up the relative cool under the thatched shelter at our new campsite in Chinguli Campsite. Elephants crossed the river in front of us, with a hint of Chilojo on the horizon. I flipped through my bird book, excited at the prospect of seeing as yet unseen species that had become familiar on paper from years of paging past.
The days were hot and the air quivered in an almost whitewashed haze. Buffalo beat the dust in retreat – whole herds disappearing behind unleafed mopani as if part of some hologram.
We drove from one open, unfenced campsite to the next – some little more than a clearing (read ‘perfect’) – trying to rank our favourites. The endeavour took us through tall forests, where we watched elephants become part of the understory, part of the riverbed, and part of the distance.