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Saturday 21st July - Ethiopia - Konso
This mornings excursion into Nechisar National Park made us all feel that we really were in Africa the Africa of movies, storybooks and nature documentaries.

We started off by driving down a rough track to the side of Lake Chamo, passing by families of baboons (a different variety from those in the Simien mountains olive babbons we think?). From there we took a boat out onto the lake. Our boat driver couldnt speak English, but he knew where to go to see animals, so we were happy. As the boat went out we saw herons and pelicans and then we rounded a corner and saw a bank of rocks which, on closer inspection, turned out to be a group of hippos (cant remember the collective noun for hippos!). The hippos were resting up against each other in the water, each lying with their head on the back of one of their buddies. Occasionally they flapped an ear to shoo away a fly, but other than that they remained very still and relaxed, just watching us drift past. We were thrilled to see them so close. We couldnt see their whole bodies as only their massive backs and heads were above the water.

We continued on in the boat to an area of the lake shore known as the crocodile market because large numbers of crocodiles frequently gather there. As we drew closer to the shore we could see about 15 crocodiles, some in the water and others sun-bathing on the sand. They were big creatures with large girths and long tails. The sunbathers lay with their big jaws open as if caught in a perpetual yawn. Just along from the crocs another group of hippos chilled out on a sandbank. A couple of the hippos stood up as we came along and one did a rather inelegant dive into the water.

Our wildlife viewing complete for the time-being, the boat made its way back to the jetty for us to rejoin our car. We hadnt expected to see so much in the 1.5 hour trip and we were also surprised at how close we got to the animals. It was thrilling to see them in their natural environment.

We went back into Arba Minch to drop off the boat driver and have some lunch. Ordering food in Ethiopia can be interesting. A menu with a dozen options is often just the first step in a little game between you and the waiter guess what 3 things on the menu are actually available. The game is complicated by the waiter being determined to say Yes when No would be the more accurate response. For example:
Me: Do you have the grilled fish?
Waiter: Yes, yes grilled fish.
Me: Can we have 2 grilled fish then please.
Waiter: No, no fish.
Me: Oh you dont have fish today.
Waiter: Yes, yes, fish.
And so on.
Of-course I am being cheeky writing this, because I am in their country reading a menu written in my language and expecting the waiter to talk to me in my language.

After lunch we filled the car with fuel and drove off. The road was a lot quieter today. From Awasa to Arba Minch there were lots of people and animals on the road but today there werent so many. The road conditions also deteriorated a bit the road today was rough, but not too bad and we made good time, getting to Konso in about an hour and a half.

In the evening we took out Naomis braids because they were looking very wispy. Well leave Keziahs in for a few more days theyre meant to last a week, but Naomi has fine hair. To make up for the trials of getting them out, Jane let the girls play with her lipsticks they had lots of fun decorating themselves and their dollies.

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2CAPES2KIDS - Long Distance Charity Expedition from Cape Wrath to Cape of Good Hope