Thirty four years ago today, on a Saturday, I married my best friend! Wow, where has the time gone? There are 3 couples honeymooning with our safari group–we used to be that young once.
I want to give a little description of the Elephant Plains Game Lodge where we are staying. It is located on the central western border of Kruger National Park in the Sabi Sands private game reserve. It consists of individual rooms and individual apartment type rooms called rondavels which have thatched roofs. We have the Lion cabin. It is huge, about 1000 square feet and has a king sized bed surrounded by mosquito netting, a toilet room, 2 individual showers-one is inside the other is outside.
I am still contemplating taking an outdoor
shower. It has three walls, and the exposed side has a lot of brush and trees around it, so it is fairly private. It is a very nice place to stay.
This morning we got up at 0520 to start our
0600 morning safari. As we waited to load the
Land Rover a water buck walked by. The first
stop was where the wildebeest kill was-there
was a young male lion working on the remains
of the head, four hyenas desperately trying to
get some bones, and two vultures waiting
After watching the lion for awhile Louis headed down one of the 200 roads as Michael watched for game. There are several Land Rovers out at the same time and the drivers all communicate with one another to inform when they see something of interest. Another driver found a family of leopards with a fresh kill. It was a careful drive off road to get to them, but what a wonderful experience! A mother with two cubs-a male and a female and a freshly killed impala. When they weren’t eating, they were playing and wrestling with one another. It was a sight to see.
We saw one hippo out of water, but he had his back to us and wasn’t about to turn around. There is always a plethora of impala wherever we go, along with a few warthogs. Since they are prey animals, they are too nervous to hold still for very long.
After the morning safari, breakfast is served, then there is an optional bush walk at 1000. We went with Louis and one other ranger, both of whom pack loaded rifles. They tell us the purpose is not to see big game, but rather to see birds and tracks and to learn about plant life. We saw a bunch of impala, but not much more.
After returning to our room, I read and took a nap, and Jim downloaded pictures. Lunch is served at 1400, then the afternoon safari commences at 1530.
We drove for a long time before seeing any big animals this afternoon. Louis went up a dry riverbed in search of rhino tracks, getting stuck in the deep loose sand several times, but to no avail. The first sighting was a herd of elephants with three females and three young ones. They crossed the road in front of us to a watering hole and we watched them drink for awhile.
After they were done they crossed back over in front of us. The smallest elephant was a little male, who was already practicing his aggression skills-he would look straight on at us, flap his ears out, paw the ground, and act as if he was going to charge. He was adorable! A little further down the road we saw a solitary bull elephant.
After the elephants, we drove and drove, and it seemed as if we weren’t going to see anything else before the sun set. As we were going down a road, Michael told Louis to turn into the bush-amazingly he saw rhino tracks. We went through the bush, up a hill, and found a female with one young. Unlike lions, leopards, and elephants, the rhinos are leery of the Land Rovers, so they slowly moved away as we approached them. Louis followed them for awhile while Michael guided him through the bush and around holes and fallen trees. It is neat to watch the two of them work together-almost as neat as watching the mother rhino and her baby.
As darkness approached we continued to drive around and saw four more rhinos. After the sun set we saw lions, hippos, jackals, giraffes, wildebeest, and a bush buck.
Many of the trees have huge thorns, which we have to watch out for as we drive down the roads and through the bush.
ANIMAL COUNT: elephants-6 + 1, lions-1 + 4, buffalo-0, leopards-3, rhinos-6, giraffes-4, hippos-5, impala-numerous, wart hogs-several, jackals-2, wildebeest-1, water buck-1,