Mana Pools Entry Gate
Trip Start Apr 30, 2010
97Trip End Sep 06, 2010
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Not the best day on record. We woke at pigs tail (pigs tail=twirly=too early, geddit?), and got down to the site for the walking safari. This was pretty good, and we got more than comfortably close to some buffalo and hippo, as well as spotting a big Eland. We heard a lion but couldn't get close (interesting fact of the day: baboons are apparently very good at spotting lion, so if they are around, chances are the lion is elsewhere). So far so good.
Back at base camp however, a chap ironically called Lovemore (who we had donated a beer to the day before) tried to charge us $200 for the campsite we had enjoyed for a meagre 10 hours the night before. We beat him down to the previously quoted $100, but it still left a bad taste in the mouth. We then spent the heat of the day fishing (unsuccessfully) by the banks of the Zambezi and playing Mancala, at which Orla is the supreme champ. For the record, it was around then that my tummy started making odd noises and a chill crept into my bones.
We were planning to spend the night in Chiitake Springs, close the entrance to the park, where over 30 lions hang out on a regular basis. As coinfirmation, on the way there we ran into a pride (well, four anyway) sitting in the road having a rest. We got pretty close to them before they decided to lope off into the thick bush.
Then we drove to Chitake, or at least where Chitake was supposed to be on the GPS. No joy- nall we found was a good game viewing spot with a "strictly no camping" sign. At this crucial juncture, I started to spew uncontrollably. Felt terrible- feverish chills, the runs, couldn’t keep water down, etc...
I was all up for pitching camp then and there, but those who were still thinking rationally decided to drive back to the front gate and give Chitake a miss. We got there about dusk- as there is no campsite at the gate the chap there tried to get rid of us, but relented after I got out of the car and vomited by the side of the road.
I only remember snatches of that night. We were all up in the rooftop tent again, with me burning up. Given the time to get out of my sleeping bag, down the ladder and to the side of the road was greater than the warning time my guts were giving me, things got very messy indeed. The only bright side was that Orla had started to develop the chills so was able to keep warm by snuggling up to my fever-ridden body.