Yesterday we said goodbye to Tambonette. I was sad to disembark and say farewell to Nhamu and Aleck (who makes the best bacon ever), but I wasn’t disappointed to be heading back to the Wild Heritage lodge. Once there, we weren’t greeted by our own personal elephant or zebra, but there were buffalo lounging around on the flood plane. I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I should have been. Apparently, you don’t see these often, and it wasn’t until later that I realized these were the buffalo with the big curly horns that make them look like cranky English barristers.
The non Americanized Zimbabweans were shrieking that the water in the kidney-shaped pool was too cold and insisted the bathwater-like jacuzzi was perfection. This is the single area where I was able to prove myself on the trip. It was cold, but it wasn’t freezing. Z and I have waded in the ocean off Washington coast, so we know cold. We splashed around in the water, listening to the hippos do their weird snort-gargling in the distance. There was an ominous-looking pool brush floating around the bottom of the pool that gave me a bit of a fright, but on the whole, it was a body of water that didn’t cause hyperventilation.
As we left Wild Heritage, I started to work myself into a pout because it was the only day out of the five in which I hadn’t seen an elephant. Before I could get my lips properly pout-shaped, an elephant moved at the side of the road. We quickly saw three others, flapping their ears and chewing whatever the elephant version of cud is. Further down the road, my newly trained elephant-spotting skills were put to the test and I saw a few more elephants high on a hill. They were waving goodbye with their trunks.
And now, I can say it, I miss Kariba. It was hot and made me cry. I’ve probably got scars from mosquito bites that I’ll carry the rest of my life. My sister-in-law could have been trampled by an elephant. I nearly shat myself when Mistresses was interrupted by something that went crunch in the night.
But it was something special. I’d say it was a trip of a lifetime, but I’m married to Z, so whose to say?