Monday, February 11

Haunting Hwange (2) - Masuma Dam

In Haunting Hwange part 1 (read it here) I described our journey into Masuma Dam, Hwange, Zimbabwe, and our first evening spent there.
Masuma Dam - hide and camp seen from "main" road

In all we spent 4 nights at Masuma Dam. The original plan had been for 2 nights but we realised within the first hour what a special place this was. Radio calls between our camp attendants and the office at Sinamatella Camp established that we could spend an extra two nights provided we travelled to Sinamatella to pay the extra bucks.

Our camp

In Hwange, there are camping “facilities” in the 3 main camps and in addition there are three or four picnic / camping sites based at waterholes. Masuma Dam was one of these.

It was located on the “main” thoroughfare between Robins and Sinamatella Camps in the north and west, and Main Camp and the road out to the rest of Zimbabwe in the east. Admittedly we did not spend all day in camp, but during the three days that we were there we only saw 3 other vehicles come by on that road – of which only one was other tourists.
Meves Starling
A beautiful Emperor Moth

The camping ground, hide and dilapidated shower / toilets were kept spotlessly clean by the two attendants, MyBlessing and Thabeni, with extremely few resources and back up from the Park management. They get paid so little that they cannot afford to buy shoes or much in the way of clothing, and one can't even guess how long it has been since they were provided with uniforms.

Nevertheless they were cheerful and hard workers and a poignant reminder for me of just how different the culture and attitude is generally, north of the Limpopo.

On the evening of our arrival, the water pump for the waterhole had started giving trouble, and lacking any basic tools (like a monkey wrench) they were delighted to see us, so that they could borrow the necessary and sort out the pump the next morning.

MyBlessing & Thabeni off to fix the pump

As mentioned in my earlier posting we had wonderful rain on our first night, obviously the first in a long time, and after that it rained / stormed every afternoon we were in Hwange.

Whether it was the rain, or our noisy, human, presence close to the waterhole, we had no more visits from elephant during daylight hours. One large buffalo herd came in on day 2, but apart from the hippo squeezing together in the small remaining puddle we saw no more mammals at Masuma Dam. We heard hyena and the hippo every night, lion once and the elephants came back for a very noisy drink late one night, but the birds and other creatures kept us entertained most days.

Too many hippos in too little water!

Marabou Stork

Saddle-billed Stork

And of course the sunsets over the waterhole were spectacular every night........


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Coral .. wonderful photos and story line - loved the reminder of Hwange ... Zimbabwe is so sad ... dictators are cruel ...

The rains must have been a great blessing .. and so African - teatime rain ...

Cheers Hilary

Coral Wild said...

Hello Hilary
I'm glad you are enjoying the story - more is to come.....
Teatime rain is one reason our summers are so wonderful - hot mornings and a dash of cool in the afternoon:)

Gaelyn said...

How delightful to camp next to the water hole even if the animals were limited.