For those in the know, Chitake Sprigs stirs emotions and visions relating to a bygone era where truly wild and remote regions were the norm. An era when wildlife was as nervous of people as they were about their unrelenting predators.
For me this was an era I wish I had had the privilege of experiencing, and I know that visiting Chitake would probably be my best opportunity of experiencing this in a world where our natural world and protected areas are under an increasing amount of pressure from expanding populations.
Arriving at the Mana Main airstrip a 2 hour drive to the south of the floodplain saw us arriving at our tented camp setup on the banks of the spring system. Taking a stroll out into the river bed (one of the attractions of the area is that you spend almost all of your time out on foot), it was immediately evident that despite the unseasonal late rains, a large variety of animals were visiting the region.
The most evident of all track and sign was that of Elephant and Baboon.
There is an interesting interaction between species that takes place in regions where surface water is restricted and this was immediately evident at Chitake Springs. I took the liberty of putting together a short video clip showcasing the Chitake Spring system and the interaction between Elephants, Baboons and other species.
It was a real privilege to sit in the shade on the edge of the riverbed right infront of camp and observe the comings and goings of the Elephant, Baboon and Guineafowl.
The action continued throughout the day and well into the night with more Elephant and the occasional group of Buffalo arriving to quench their thirst.
Having timed our safari to coincide with the full moon, the ability to sit quietly without any additional light source was an absolute treat.
That being said, the slightest bit of light from a headlamp transformed the scene, at least for the camera’s sensor…
Over the next three nights we explored the Chitake Spring system in its entirety.
Chitake is not a place where you head out in search of the action but its more of a case of positioning yourself where you think the action will be. This meant lots of tracking and interpretation of track and sign to decide where to position ourselves along the spring system. Tucking ourselves away into shaded corners and thickets we would often sit quietly and observe the scene infront of us.
Evenings were spent, as they should be, around a fire sharing stories and forging new friendships whilst keeping an eye and ear out for any wildlife moving through and around the temporary camp.
Despite the unseasonal rains Chitake Springs delivered in a way that only the true wilderness enthusiast will appreciate.
Hopefully this short video will give you an idea of what to expect on a visit to this very special destination.
This was just the first part of a 3 stage adventure though.
We left Chitake Springs and made our way back north where we would spend the night at a remote pan with nothing but a blanket of stars and fire to keep us company. The feeling of being immersed in an completely wild and untamed wilderness region was about to be taken to the next level.
More on that in the next post…
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