“The hippos are sleepy…look at them yawning”. We smile at each other, happy to be so close to these huge animals as they push their heads back and open their mouths wide enough for us to see their white teeth (which are rather large considering the fact that they are herbivores). “They are not sleepy” says our enthusiastic guide, Mengezo, in his clear and neutral way, “…this is a sign of aggression…they are saying, don’t come any closer, see I have big teeth to bite with”.
I’ve learned so much on this trip. For instance, hippos can’t swim, despite their closest relatives being whales and dolphins. When they plunge into the water they are able to hold their breath for 8-10 minutes, but moving about happens as they walk around on the bottom of the river. Elephants on the other hand are excellent swimmers and can move freely between the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia by heading off over the Zambezi river. Another amazing thing, did you know that crocodiles have such slow metabolism that they can survive on 1-3 meals per year and that they have a heartbeat, in their resting periods, of about 1 beat per 4 minutes (this should be the envy of every hathayogi)!
Incredible. Is a very suitable word to describe this trip. So different from anything I have ever done before. We have spent 2 safari weeks in Zimbabwe and also being able to talk and listen to the local people’s thoughts about their president being put in house arrest while we were there (after controlling the country and causing a lot of hardship for 37 years). We made a lot of friends here and we share their concern for the future of this beautiful place.
Practice and study time will move into the next phase shortly with a more intense schedule at Kaivalyadham in India. Being with the breath, sitting together, listening to talks and lectures, writing and reading. Finding out more…is my hope and wish.