Friday, October 11, 2013

Solitude on the Swahili Coast

I needed a break. Solitude is surprisingly hard to find on the Swahili coast. There aren't any rivers, ponds or flats you can fish without encountering a whole lot of people just trying to live their lives.
In search of some solitude, I drove 5 hours west to Mikumi National Park to get away. It was a substitute for a weekend fishing trip.

Once there, I drove about 40km through the wilderness to a watering hole I knew should still hold some at this time, late in the dry season. I was not disappointed.

I sat there until it grew dark on Saturday and let everything just come to me. I watched animals that approached from downwind catch my scent and give me a wide berth. I was able to observe the constant state of alertness that savannah mammals exhibit while I lounged in the front seat of my landcruiser with binoculars and a camera.

At one point, 3 elephants came at me from downwind, and crossed path with 6 lions lounging under a shady acacia tree. A young male worked up enough courage and charged them, ears flaring and trumpet blaring. He chased them for a good 300 meters, and joined his family with a definite strut.

I slept in the truck that night and stared at the stars through my moonroof as the roar of a lion, announcing a kill or his presence, reverberated across the landscape and into my open windows.

The next morning I made it to the watering hole by 6am, just in time to witness some lion and buffalo drama.

It's a surreal experience to be sitting in your car, alone in the wilderness, surrounded by animals you only really think you'll see on something narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Here is some footage of what I shot that weekend. Enjoy.


Nate said...

Very cool. It's pretty amazing that you can simply take a drive and witness what only exist in most people's dreams.

Those lions probably thought better of messing too much with the Dagga Boys.

mike doughty said...

real nice! i spent 10 days in kenya and got to witness some of the same critters