A tale of two swamps – Early riser

It had been a long day of travelling, and after the overnight flight the night before, I was ready for some rest but as often when I start trips I awoke early just as the first hints of daylight were revealing themselves through a gap in the curtains.  I pushed those curtains back and watched the sun rise over the lake, as rapidly as it always does in Africa.  It was still an hour before breakfast so I decided to take a walk around the environs of the hotel.  Most of the hotel rooms were in one of two blocks on the lakeshore, protected from choppy waves by a low wall.  There were also some trees to protect the shore, but their roots currently stood in water – being the end of the short rainy season the lake was relatively full.  This meant there was only a narrow beach of beautifully soft white sand.  It could almost be seaside.  The wind the night before had whipped up sizeable waves – the fetch on the lake was not good enough not to produce full size rollers but they had crests and broke noisily on the sandy beach.

I wandered through the hotel compound; it had been almost dark when I had arrived the previous night so now I picked up on more features on my morning walk, including a large naive styled antelope sculpture made of plaster next to the dining room.  I headed out past a snoozing guard in the car park, out the front gate and along the dusty track that ran parallel to the lake shore.  There were a number of small workshops and storerooms dotted along the track, mostly related to fisheries and woodworking, and I did not realise till after breakfast that the Fisheries Department had their offices along this road.  Ian introduced the key officers to me when we walked down the road again, and we talked about the day’s trip.

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