Nothing beats a sherry or a glass of wine at the camp fire after spotting game. As an avid ailurophile, I am sorely disappointed not to have seen any of the cat family. No cats beats having seen that caged serval at one of the inns on the road though. It was playing with a rock in its lonely enclosure, and quite keen to interact with anyone that showed an interest in it.
Anyways. The outride was very interesting. We picked some wild basil and crushed the leaves and light yellow flowers between forefinger and thumb— a heavenly smell; apparently the herb is good for bush cooking, and also an antiseptic. I presume it was African basil. Another small tree delivered hollow pipe wood, which was used to make pipes in olden days. I cannot find the specific wood, maybe a type of briar? (Ha! from Keith Coates Palgrave’s Trees of Southern Africa:
Vitex rehmannii, the Pipe-stem tree:
An infusion of the leaves is prepared as an enema to relieve stomach-ache. The wood is yellowish-grey, medium hard, …. resistant to termites. The young twigs often have hollow stems which are suitable for the stems of tobacco pipes.)
We also discussed the abundant Tambuti trees, with their toxic-to-humans wood smoke, and jumping bean seeds.
We stopped to observe some busy dung beetles beetling about in a fresh pile of rhino poo (the big splat indicates a short large intestine). One bigger one was bullying a smaller emerald green scarab, stealing its dung ball. We squealed as a two meter black mamba exited from the tall grass next to the road, sidewinding a rapid S across the dry dust, and disappearing in the brush on the other side, leaving us suitably energized.
At sundowners- an ice cold steel mug of white wine- we discovered a stow-away: a juvenile hopper. We carefully placed him on a branch of the shephard’s tree ( witgat boom), where he lurked coyly behind a twig every time I tried to photograph him.
The sunsets were spectacular. The only bitter note was a small beacon placed next to the road, two rocks placed in a telling way, indicating the switch for the electric fence, obviously put there by poachers intent on switching it off to execute their nefarious trade. It is a complex and difficult thing.