In which we return to our African Odyssey, taking up the story on our first full day at Gomo Gomo, Timbavati, South Africa (just west of Kruger National Park)
Woken at 05:30 by our guide. Not the first time we'ld woken, either - hippos keep very unsociable hours, and aren't exactly built for stealth, and seem to be constantly snorting and puffing. This is at the same time, an annoying and wonderful sound to hear through canvas walls. The compensation for the early start is the cool beauty of the dawn, the flooding of the bush with a warm gold radiance.
Coffee helps sleepy eyes to open, and the bush keeps them that way: just a few yards from camp, we met with a large male lion, padding quietly along the track towards us our (completely open) jeep. Other sights of the morning included a small herd of elephants, a lone hyena slouching along the track, and a lion pride with 3 young cubs (the progeny of the big male we'ld met earlier). More coffee in the bush, then back to camp for breakfast overlooking the river, watching a brilliantly coloured Kingfisher hunting (grasshoppers). Despite having had a busy night breathing around our tent, the hippos still have plenty of go, and they can be seen - barely -makely stately progress up and down the river.