Originally this post was going to be titled “Spitting Cobra”. Now it is titled Black Mamba as you will come to understand in a moment. 
A few days ago George and I were coming back to camp on the road after an excellent morning with the baboons. In the past week we have had a few elephant encounters. Each time he is very quiet and his instructions are made with hand movements about which direction I should move in. When we find baboons he is animated, points his finger, and says “there they are”. So on Thursday when we were approaching camp he put his arm out and said wait, wait, wait, as he slowly backed p. First I thought “elephants”, then I realized he was speaking so I thought “baboons” but I had never heard him say this before. I backed up with him, watched his movements. After a few seconds he said “very dangerous snake, it was about to strike”. What? I have been saying to myself recently how lucky I am that I haven’t seen one snake the entire rainy season. I don’t like snakes. Needless to say I didn’t see this one either. My eyes were concentrated on the road just in front of my feet searching for baboon tracks. George then explained that as we were walking a spitting cobra had begun to move out onto the road, was surprised by our quick approach, had lifted its body up and turned toward us and stuck out its tongue. He claimed ready to strike. Spitting cobras can spit very accurately into their victim’s eyes. I believe making one blind. They also have a venomous bite. Needless to say we made a detour back to camp. 
Today I encountered another snake, alone, and at my camp; actually inside my dining hut. We have been having some mice problems so I had been packing things away better and organizing things. I am glad to say that is now under control.  Under the bookshelf I had cardboard box full of lab chemicals. I pulled out the box and was transferring everything to a vermin proof plastic tub. I then pulled the box out a little farther and I saw a snake. It was grayish black, not too thick, or too long. I had obviously woken it up as it was moving slowly. I left the nsaka went to my tent for a while, the kitchen nsaka for a while, then stood outside the nsaka where I saw the snake trying to decide what to do. I felt squeamish but not afraid. I even considered going back in to see if it was still there. After all it wasn’t large like the black mamba I saw a few years ago. 
Thinking clearly, I went and got George my scout instead. He came along with the camp attendant Friday (yes Friday). George grabbed a stick on his way. They both asked if it was big and I said “not really’. They entered the nsaka. At first it seemed that it had left but then they saw it. George gave it a whack. I asked, meters away by the kitchen, what it was. George said “black mamba”. What? A black mamba? I sit next to this box every day working on my computer, typing mails, entering data and eating.  
George safely removed it. Unfortunately I thought the rainy season was when we would see the most snakes but it appears that now, at the end of the rains, they are more visible. Not so lucky for us as in some places the grass is now a meter above our heads. 

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