Surprise Safari Stars

Going on safari is always a pleasure, no two are ever the same and sometimes the things that stand out are not what you’d expect.  For instance when I visited Garonga and Motswari back in January we had some amazing lion, leopard, cheetah and elephant sightings but the thing that really sticks in my mind is watching a group of about 30 impala crossing a clearing. About half way along this clearing was a fallen tree which a few of the impala ran around but most of them chose to leap over the tree and as far as we could tell it was just for the sheer fun of it.

There was another unexpected star of the show when I visited Lugenda Wilderness Camp in the Niassa National Reserve, a remote corner of Northern Mozambique where few have been before. We were out walking through the bush when Jaime one of our guides began shouting, seemingly to himself, but after about ten minutes he got a reply from a small bird. What followed was a totally surreal Doctor Dolittle moment as Jaime and the bird seemed to be having a conversation  and we all trotted off following this small but noisy bird into the bush.

Nick our other guide explained that the bird was a honey guide and it was leading us to a bee hive and as the name suggests…. Honey! We followed the chattering bird, which seemed to be getting impatient as us wingless  bipeds stumbled through the bush, until it settled on a perch in a tree. Jaime immediately spotted the bee’s nest high up in another nearby tree and he fearlessly scrambled up to investigate and quickly came back down again. After some discussion a plan was formulated and as the tree was dying Nick and Jaime decided to cut it down.

First they started a small fire at the base of the tree then Jaime put some of the burning leaves just below the nest in the hope that the smoke would pacify the bees as he took his axe to the trunk.  After a while the tree came down and Jaime’s arm was deep in a hole that used to be home to a large number of bees who despite the smoke were now very unhappy. I kept my distance while the evicted bees attacked Jaime but he just shrugged off the stings as nothing was going to stop him getting his prize.

Once all the honeycomb had been collected we moved away from the buzzing ball that had now formed around another tree and tasted the deliciously sweet  liquid gold and before we departed Jaime left a chunk of honeycomb for the honey guide bird.

If you’ve got a story about a surprise safari star why not leave a comment telling us about it?

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