Dinner with elephants

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park, Matabeleland in Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and very happy to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months back in 2019.

I landed at Victoria Falls Airport and the drive from Vic Falls to the Camp at Hwange National Park is about 2 hours. On the way, we spotted already some elephants next to the road, which is quite common in Vic Falls area. The camp is called Iganyana tented Camp and is situated just outside the National Park but since the boundary is unfenced, game can really wander everywhere.

The tents of the camp are great, tucked away in the teak bush. Main camp looks out over the wide, open grass plain that is a main highway for wildlife to freely roam around. Since there is no fence you must be cautious to not run into any wildlife, especially at night. Hence, during the dark hours you have to be escorted whenever you want to walk between your room and the main camp area as this is Big 4 area.

The first afternoon was reserved to say hello to the horses at Iganyana and at main camp right at the entry of the National Park. On the way to main camp we spotted a big herd of buffaloes and a few hippos at a waterhole. The light was stunning, surely showing off its best!

I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same

Suzanne Evans

There is a fireplace just in front of the main camp at Iganyana, it’s close to a waterhole that serves plenty of wildlife during the dry months. The first evening, held something special for me: candlelight dinner with the elephants. That’s definitely something very magical, devine! The moment with the elephants that drank just across the little wooden barrier was so special, I couldn’t even believe to be so close to these big, wild cows. They came with their babies, which were really funny and cute, one was still figuring out how to use its trunk.

During dinner we also heard a lion roaring at close distance and were lucky enough to be able to go on a night drive. We were looking for the lions but instead found the herds of elephants again, impala, springhare and even a pair of bat eared foxes. The latter are very seldom so this was really a treat! However, the lions moved on and we couldn’t spot them that night. Still hoping to find them during the next days though!

The next morning started with an easy morning ride around camp to get to know the area. We spotted impala, a huge herd of sable antelopes, also rather rare to spot them but it does seem as if the herd tends to hang around in this vlei. We also spotted some Marabou stork, first time that I saw those big birds in the wild that made it into the ugly 5. No lions to be seen even though I did hear them throughout the night, they were busy calling through the dark air.

My lunch time got interrupted by the herd of sables that came down the bushes to enjoy a drink at the waterhole. These antelopes are really beautiful and gorgeous to look at!

During the afternoon, a lovely ride was waiting for me. It started at the main camp at border of Hwange National Park, where we mounted the horses and took off towards our base camp at Iganyana, about 12km away. So nice being back and seeing the horses and the stable where I had been 2 years ago with Ride Zimbabwe. We spotted a steenbok running away from us, besides it was a calm, easy ride during the golden hour.

The elephants came again during the evening time to enjoy the waterhole. It’s just such a magical moment to see them calmly drinking a few feet away from me.

My newest lessons learned at Iganyana tented Camp:

  1. Candle light dinner with visitors – if you are lucky, the elephants will join you for dinner;
  2. Wild basil – is used to cure the flu & 
  3. Always be on the lookout – if you are in camp, have one eye on the waterhole to not miss some action going on!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

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