- Hot showers: 0, but caring less
Hyena-stolen soap: 0
We wake before dawn for a morning game drive. It starts a bit slow, with sightings of dozens of odd-named birds but no mammals whatsoever. The group in the front car, riding along with the guide, gain some appreciation for lilac-breasted rollers and similar. The group in the rear car, without a guide, merely saw many, many birds. "What are they looking at? Must be another bird..."
This morning bird-watching is happily interupted by lions, recognizable without translation. We spend thirty minutes and several rolls of film watching two male lions preen and wash themselves, sitting regally in the grass scant feet from our cars. One lion looked rather hungrily at Fran, a look which gave us all a better appreciation for the power of steel-framed vehicles.
Our afternoon game drive found us once again communing with many wonderful elephants. A large group of fifty or so, including many calves, comes to the river each afternoon for a drink and a bath. The previous day we had spent a happy hour watching them play and share news. This afternoon, however, we drive right across their commute route. At one point, the front Land Cruiser was completely surrounded. Fortunately the elephants remained calm, and we came away with nothing more exciting than some truly incredible photos.
Elephant calves are truly amazing to watch. The very young ones aren't quite sure what to do with their trunks, and they are very playful. It makes one glad that human children are smaller than cows. When the elephant calves chase birds, you worry just a bit about the fate of the birds.
We return to camp by way of another "leopard" spotting. I start to believe that leopards are either extinct or a figment of fever-ridden imaginations. The specimens seen in zoos must have painted-on spots. I've never noticed if they get a bit runny in the rain -- I make a note to check when we return.
The conversations over dinner and around the campfire are becoming ever more cordial and relaxed. An elephant-inspired euphoria spreads over the group. I manage to entirely wash my hair for the first time in camp. What a very good day.