Kings Pool – Elephant, Lions
It is only a short flight from Vumbura to Kings Pool but the nearest landing-strip was under repair due to flooding and it was necessary to use one further away. Rather than a long drive the luxury of a helicopter transfer direct to Kings Pool was then provided. This gives an excellent view of the landscape and I could look directly down between my feet on to herds of elephants. The Kings Pool lodge situated on an oxbow lake gives an even more luxurious impression than Vumbura but with a more rustical style of architecture. The private pool is smaller but there is a gazebo overlooking the water with a bed that is ideal for a siesta. At the end of my stay after saying goodbye to the manageress and some of the staff I had the privilege of being the last person to be transferred by helicopter as the landing-strip repair was then complete. My departure was slightly delayed because the pilot had some difficulty opening a fuel drum, but we arrived just in time for a somewhat larger (19 seater) plane to Kasane airport.
The Kings Pool camp is close to the Linyanti river and marshes which form a well-watered wildlife paradise offering some new opportunities for game watching. I had already seen many elephants but for the first time one was seen in deep water crossing the river which forms the border with Namibia. One mother was surprised crossing the track with her small calf and reacted accordingly, but I afterwards had a chance to photograph the calf from a distance. At an early age they do not seem to be in control of their trunk at it swings wildly in all directions. Later a single-tusked adult gave a demonstration of tree branch destruction. They sometimes damage their own tusks when trying to remove the bark from trees.
I was lucky the first evening to see a pride of lions at sunset moving along the track following a heard of impala. With them there were two quite small cubs which had to run to keep up with the rest. Two much larger cubs scrutinized us intently from their perch on a termite mound before following the others. They were only a few meters away and I wondered what they were thinking.