A river runs through it (a three day canoe trip)
Trip Start Apr 19, 2009
35Trip End Dec 20, 2009
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PADDDDDDLE!!!!! FASTER!!! FASTER!!!!!!!!!
What? Paddle? What is happening? Where is my peace and tranquillity? Sensing that this is no time to debate we jump into action. I start to see the problem. The quietly grazing, three ton hippo bull on the river bank just above us that had been such a fantastic photo opportunity seconds before, has suddenly had a mood change. A bad mood change! He starts charging towards the water. I should add that the river bank is about 2 meters high here (providing us with our false sense of security)
I said PADDLE, he is chasing us….FASTER!!! CB, our guide, is in front steering his canoe away from the approaching bull at top speed….he looks very pale for a guy this black. I start to worry. I hear a mighty splash….
We paddle, we paddle some more, thank God I did PowerPump back home. I try to push the Mighty Zambezi water away…My heart is hammering in my throat. Marvin, this is the time to flex those manly man muscles of yours. We paddle, we paddle faster….finally we are in deep water and allow ourselves a breath of air. Just as sudden as the danger had arrived, peace and tranquillity returns….the birds sing, the waterbuck frolic and a croc slides into the water from the bank.
Just before sunset we arrive at our sandy island to put up camp. The 35km of paddling have done their bit to ignite a massive appetite and we nip at our white wine whilst waiting for the great dinner that is being prepared by CB. I sit back and look at the fantastic colours flowing over the river in front of us as the night awakens. How nice to be able to relax so completely, to have somebody else decide and cook the menu, have someone else in charge of the route and just follow the lead for once….After dinner we sit around the campfire whist CB tells of his experiences on the river. We ask how dangerous the encounter with the hippo that day had been. CB looks up:
'Ach that was not so bad
Silence falls on our group as the campfire crackles. The next day we stick to CB’s canoe like ducklings following their mum, keeping all our limbs neatly tucked inside. Not taking any chances.
But this is all part of the adventure and we loved every second. If you want a more tame experience go paddle on the Zürisee….because this was pure, raw, exciting Africa! There is something very awe-inspiring in being so close and in the same medium as the animals you are looking at. The silence and proximity you get in a canoe differs starkly from the game-viewing experience in a car. Really amazing …plus we got to keep all our body parts. Bonus! ("If you loose it, you loose it!")
So after two full and adventurous weeks we dropped off Marius and Elke at the airport and are back to being the Manic Trip. Thanks guys for sharing part of our journey, it was fantastic having you with us!