- 24/7/2006 <--Prev : Next-->
HeeHoo become somewhat strange at this same time every year.
Something happens to him when the days are crisp and cool and the
nights are icy. Some deep primeval force starts to move within the
savage beast when the leaves start to fall off the jacaranda trees
and the town starts to look dry and dusty.
A certain edginess ? Is it something in the air perhaps ?
He scans Getaway magazine and the travel programmes on telly. He
searches avidly for Richard Attenborough and starts to watch Animal
A smattering of khaki starts to creep into his usual elegant blue
white shirt choices. He absent mindedly wears his vellies to work
instead of his severe polished black lace up shoes.
And then suddenly, as if a butterfly emerges from his chrysalis, he
packs his binos, starts to search for cameras, gathers up his bird
books and unceremoniously bundles me into the car heading north.
The HeeHoo migration pattern has begun again.
Two hundred and thirty odd kilometres later, we pull into a bush
at Hwange and it is only after three four hour game drives in the
National Park, and several hours spent at pans and waterholes, that
he appears nearly normal again.
His needs are simple as are the needs of most Zimbabweans at this
time of the year, he needs his annual Winter Hwange Top Up !
Binoculars remain glued to the eyes for hours on end, favourite
floppy hat is virtually tattooed to his head. The magnificent stark
brown and gold winter veld is scoured once, scoured twice, scoured
again for anything that flicks, anything that flits and thing that
He breathes in the magical misty mornings, devours the clear azure
endless skies, is transfixed by the autumn tones of the swaying
grasses, the iridescent yellow and gold leaves which silently and
suddenly appear at the tips of the Red Syringa bushes.
This year we were lucky to be able to book into tented camp on the
edge of Hwange - Zimbabwe's best kept secret "The Hide".
The Hide is a magnificent thatched bush camp overlooking a
where you can lie in bed and watch the animals come down to drink.
Somehow we found ourselves in the Honeymoon Suite which boasted an
old colonial ball and claw bath nestling into the rocks and
completely open to the surrounding bush.
Even I can be tempted to watch game from a bath full of steaming
bubbles, glass of champagne in hand,a fish eagle watching me
balefully from his perch in the tree, and four giraffe and one lone
bull elephant pretending not to giggle at this very strange sight !!
Guests at The Hide included some of the touring Bangladesh Cricket
Board and so HeeHoo was in his element discussing his favourite
ad nauseam and soon great friendships were cemented over several
bottle of good red wine !
Barry and Bridget Wolhuter who run the Hide have managed to create
formidable team around them, from Daffy the game guide to beautiful
Lauren the camp hostess, the food was excellent and the decor most
The silence is immense as I write, except for the idiotic
of a chain of dilly guinea fowl, the snickering of a group of shy
bush buck, and in the distance, that most special of all Hwange
sounds, the deep guttural grunt of hunting lion !!
There is continuous traffic past the front of the open flapped
a fine male kudu with his harem and nursery of last years babies.
A trail of pronking impala, two warthogs are fossiking in the mud,
troop of baboons are keeping a wary eye on the security detail who
claps his hands and they run off a few paces in derisive defiance.
"Knock knock" says Nicholas and miraculously a tray of tea appears
the veranda and in the distance the drums begin to beat to signal
breakfast is being served in the boma ....
e mail - <2THEHIDE@bushmail.net>