Despite the view of this village being a sylvan human-controlled environment, the wild was still out there nearby – wildlife will naturally want to take advantage of such a bountiful, water rich region. We saw one example as we waited to board out boat to leave the village. Another dugout canoe was punted past by a young man, a piece of tarpaulin covering the front left hand side. It was explained to us that a few weeks back, a hippopotamus had taken a chunk out of the wood there while he had been in the middle of the lake collecting his nets.
Our large party settled back into the aluminium boat, but we were too heavy to shove off the mud. Several of us had to get out while the captain got the boat floating, and then we gingerly stepped across from a small headland at the entrance to the harbour and sat down as fast and safely as we could. We carefully navigated around the sides of the village, avoiding a small fleet of boats carrying goods back from the landing site we had visited earlier in the day. It was sad to leave this beautifully adapted little habitation and as we retraced our path along the main channel through an avenue of trees I kept glancing back to see the tarpaulins and grass roofs gradually shrink and disappear in amongst the reeds; as if it had never existed at all.
As we headed back across Chunga Lagoon we could see many fishing operations going on, mostly at this time of the day collecting in nets, and as the afternoon was now progressing and the temperature starting to cool, the birdlife was increasing again.