A MOLTEN lava-coloured dawn was prelude to a breathless morning as Lake Kariba’s silhouette-tinged water mirrored fleeting shapes of boats, riverine vegetation, a multifarious array of architecture, saddle-billed storks and kingfishers which shattered each illusion with an acrobatic splash.
At every plunge, the water turned silver and gold, rippling to the shores, with a wash and swash on sump of sand between a steep bank and gurgling shallows.
A huge Nile crocodile stealthily marshalled the shoreline, attacking its prey with sporadic sluggishness, driven by life’s ancient rhythm to survive.
Having arrived there the night before, I came to realise why Nyanyana Lodge remains a place where those who wish to enjoy Kariba should visit.
The night before we were snorted to sleep by mooing hippos and serenaded to dawn by the fish eagle. From the veranda of Nyanyana Lodge, I tottered barefoot over pebbles to slosh the shivery water but, alas, a huge monster of a crocodile plunged into the water, obviously disturbed by my uninvited presence.
My eyes scanned the shoreline and a chattering crowd of ox peckers alerted me to a bloat of sunbathing hippos.
I remembered exactly how ox peckers are somewhat two-faced; when they warn their hosts of intruders, they also betray their position.
While I was still pondering about the ox peckers’ two contrasting positions, a huge hippo yawned, exposing huge teeth and a reddish internal. Almost at the same time, a tro0p of monkeys squabbled noisily from a tree, swinging nonchalantly from one branch to another. Their proclivity for agility as amazing as ever.
On the water, three crocodiles stealthily moved northwards, like dead pieces of logs, only to be betrayed by their sentry-post eyes that remained above the surface.
The National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority owns the lodges, which lie on the southernmost bank of Kariba adjacent to the Crocodile Farm.
The lodges are self-catering under a family type scenario and are tastefully decorated with mopane wood and matching ceilings.
The outside is painted green, the trademark of national parks, the vanguard of Zimbabwe’s wild flora and fauna.
Booking and reservations are done centrally in Harare.
The lodges are built at a vantage point, where one can easily see the activities on the lake from the sitting room or through a window.
The breeze that wafts between the dam and the land is refreshing. What strikes one as they drive to Nyanyana Lodges is one particular stretch of stunted mopane trees on an elephant corridor.
The mopane trees have been reduced to stunted bush shrubbery, with a browse line as neatly trimmed as a new haircut.
It is at this stretch where one normally sees the huge mounds of grey flesh, feeding lackadaisically. This time around I saw a bull kudu, with its iron-like corkscrew horns blending with the mopane bushes. It was so near and never seemed disturbed and I wished I was a hunter but wilderness etiquette forbids me from shooting anything but photographs.