Four Paces from Death (part 3)

by david on November 28, 2012

On the way to pick up Ranger David, the smoke from the fires set by poachers became more apparent than it had been last night.  By the time we got to the Ranger Station, we could easily smell it.  Because the rangers were busy with fires and poachers, it took us longer than usual to complete the paperwork required for my government permits.  It was approaching mid-morning when we left the station.  With most of the morning gone, Phil wanted to take a cross-country route to a water hole to see if we could pick up some tracks.  After a short drive, we parked the land cruiser and headed into the veld.  We never made it to the waterhole.  Twenty minutes into our walk towards the water hole, the wind changed.  Phil and David picked up on it first and said that we’d have to go.  When I asked why, Phil explained that, with the wind changing, the fire would change directions as well, and it was now headed towards us.  We made the walk back in fifteen minutes.  Our quick return turned out to be very fortuitous as when we passed back by our parking spot latter in the day it had been completely consumed by the fire.  I have been personally introduced to many of the dangers in Africa but fire was a new one.  I know fire is a necessary part of nature and it renews the landscape after it passes.  That knowledge however did not provide any comfort as the fire was really starting to screw with my hunt and I did not like that one bit.  After a quick war council we decided to head to Phil’s favorite observation spot a good distance away for an early lunch and to try and spot some buffalo.  The observation spot was some miles up river from camp and on top of a narrow finger of cliff that jutted out into the dry bed of the Sengwa River.  The view was outstanding and the lunch was good.  The only thing missing were the buffalo. 

Previous post:

Next post: