Shingwedzi and Sirheni
While we were staying at Tsendze, we would use the weekends to take long day drives to Shingwedzi. The subtle changes to the landscape give way to deep rich, red soil and riverine trees and bush. From my first visit there, something inside of me breathes a whispered, internal “Leopard” as we drive those roads. And, on one early morning drive, leopard indeed – up a leafless tree with an impala kill.
It turns out there is something else my restless, internal game driver voice should have been saying: “Bat Hawk”. Apparently, the area is a great place to spot these elusive birds – and my game drives have been more focused on the boughs of trees than what lies beneath them ever since. One day…
There are fewer game drive loops in the immediate vicinity of the camp compared to other camps, but I have a far wilder feeling up here. Into the mopane gauntlet we go, meeting the disdainful gaze of many a dakha boy – gnarled boss and mud-encrusted hide almost a hologram against the butterfly-shaped leaves and mottled trunks of this hardy plant.
Over the bridge and along the river, we got glimpses into the (mostly) dry riverbed through occasional gaps in the trees. There, melting into the sand, two male lions dozed away the heat of the afternoon in a patch of shade. It took eagle eyes to spot them and lion-loving patience to watch them through binoculars for any tail twitch. As the crowd grew around our gap in the bush, they rolled, rose, and watched us through dozy eyes.