BATS!! Kasanka National Park, Zambia

DSC_0693

Wow, those are really…. BATS!!

DSC_0684

These first two are the “scouts,” flying ahead to make sure the way is safe for the five million bats that will be following over the next 25 minutes.  Five millions bats is a lot of bats.  They say it’s the Largest Mammal Migration in the World.

DSC_0701

And we are here in Zambia to see it!  As campers in Kasanka National Park, we saw the bats twice each day.  Once at around 5pm as they were flying out for the night, and again at around 5am as they returned to their roosts.  We were a raucous group viewing the bats in the evening, 12 kids and 12 adults, half of whom were more interested in playing leapfrog, plucking cattails out of the marsh, and taking pictures of each other with their parent’s cell phones.

DSC_0657

They are pretty cute.  Jake likes the girls.

DSC_0707

The sunset bats were definitely the most beautiful, flying like shadows against the pink clouds.  The rain made for a wet night, but without the clouds I don’t believe it would have been as memorable.

DSC_0696

It definitely wouldn’t have been as memorable for these people, without 12 kids running around oblivious to what was probably a once-in-a-lifetime dream for them…. Sorry, people with awesome cameras!

DSC_0715

In the dark blackness of early morning, around 4am, some of us left our warm sleeping bags to see the bats fly home.  We climbed up a wooden ladder into “the hide,” nicknamed the “BBC Hide,” because it was featured on a BBC special a few years ago.

DSC_0792

You needed a sense of balance for this one.  No fear of heights allowed.

DSC_0791

This gentleman was our escort into the hide.  Note the large gun.  No fear of animals allowed either.  He looks a bit bored, doesn’t he?  (“Why are all these crazy people making me get up at 3am to go see a bunch of bats??”)

DSC_0789

Here they come!

DSC_0765

Millions of bats!!  Scourging the trees!!  The branches are devoured and broken, beneath the tremendous weight of bat!!

DSC_0766

Seriously, it was pretty weird.  The sky was saturated with crazy hungry/tired/I don’t know what creatures, flapping their wings and going in all directions at once.  I understand the meaning now behind “bats!#t crazy.”  These fruit bats come down from Democratic Republic of Congo to feed, and contrary to the stereotype are not actually blind.  But they are crazy!

DSC_0773

While I enjoy playing with my ultra-zoom lens, it was very clear that I have no idea how to take good pictures in the pseudo-dark.  My early shots of the bats coming home didn’t look so good.  I guess I need some classes.

DSC_0741

By 5am, the bats settled, and the sun was coming up over the African trees.  Already hot, and destined to be hotter still.

DSC_0776

Later today, we’ll take a hike through the Bush to see zebras, monkeys, and impala, but now they are sleeping in the tall grass where the leopards and cheetahs won’t find them.

DSC_0770

Back at the campsite we start a fire and make breakfast… fritattas, banana muffins, and Corn Pops.  And Thanksgiving Dinner is next!

DSC_0895

One thought on “BATS!! Kasanka National Park, Zambia

  1. Pingback: Children from the Kasanka Pre-School singing - Clermont Country Internship

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s