Day 3 - I love this place!
Trip Start Oct 31, 2011
137Trip End Mar 16, 2012
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Rise and shine it is 5:00 am, and although I cannot here the old rooster crowing, there are plenty of birds to alert us to the impending sunrise, which happens in the blink of an eye, one minute it is dark and the next the sun is up and all is bright.
The first animal we came across, was one of the big five, a white rhino, he was a large bull, by himself. We tried to follow him, but he kept moving away further into dense wood, they have a rule here that if the animal seems bothered by us, we leave, we do not persist.
We then came across a giraffe, he was an old bull, you can tell he was old, because he was very dark, and they get darker with age
From a distance we saw a blaze of zebras, zebras are often found around giraffes, it is like a safety net for them, giraffes being so tall can see far away and if they scatter it alerts the zebras, who always have their heads down eating the grass.
I simply cannot believe how exciting it can be to wake up at 5:00am, and follow animal dung and tracks in anticipation of seeing one of these majestic animals of South Africa. We have been so lucky, our rangers are also amazed at all we have seen in our short time here, we have seen 4 of the big 5 not to mention all the other animals. When you sign up for this it is luck of the draw, you could spend a lot of time here and not see any of the big 5 or even the other beautiful animals of South Africa, so how fortunate for us, and on top of it, most of the animals we came across were relaxed and not bothered by our presence allowing us to get up closer than I ever thought imaginable
It was time for morning coffee and muffin, so we stopped near a dam, to have a cup of caffeine, as we are sitting there sipping our wake up juice, an elephant comes sauntering over the bank for a drink of water, this was amazing and of few moments later, to our astonishment, a whole herd showed up, the same herd we saw on our first night, there were at least 20 elephants that we could count.. It was fantastic to watch, because we were out of the vehicle and across the water, our ranger guided us around on foot so we could get a closer and better look. We sat and watched them drink water, and the young ones were playing while the mothers were eating. The young ones were lying down, rolling down the hill, climbing on top of each other; it was quite a sight to witness. Did you know that elephants after 35 years of age, which is when they reach their full size never lie down, their sheer weight could kill them?
What a morning, and again all this before 9:00am, then it was back to the lodge for breakfast, followed by another informative bush walk. Now, we get to rest until 2:30 when we have lunch, and head out for our 4:00pm game drive. Today, while we were having lunch, there were a group of monkeys out by the dam.
Out in the bush for our 4:00pm game drive, this time Caswell has joined our group, he is one of the trackers, and has just got back to the lodge from his time off, this made things a little easier for our ranger, who thus far, had been doing it all on his own.
The first of the big 5 that we came across this evening was our favorite herd of elephants, we drove right into the bush to follow them and get a close look, and one of the young bulls was letting us know he was not very happy. At birth, a baby elephant can weigh up to 120 kilograms, and they Baby are totally dependent on their mother's milk for the first 6 months of their life. Elephants only sleep for about 4 hours a day, they have the ability to sleep as soon as they close their eyes, so they usually only sleep about 10 minutes at a time.
We left the elephants and saw a wart hog running along in the bush; we then made our way towards the dam right in front of our lodge to get an up close look at a white rhino that was drinking from the dam. He was a large bull, who is often seen there as the lodge is part of his territory, because they see him so often, they have named him Legend. A white rhino can live to 45 years old; this one is about 30 years old now
Tonight there was a full moon, it was beautiful, again we could see Mars right beside it, we stopped to take pictures and enjoy the beauty, as we were driving along, we by chance spotted two leopards, it was a mother and her cub, and the cub was big already, as big as the mother. This was quite exciting, we ended up doing some interesting off roading to try and get a closer look, now by this time it was dark already, and it was quite unnerving when we would lose site of them, as clearly they were still around.
We decided to end our evening back at the site where we saw the lions last night, as they were still there. I suppose when you are mating every 30 to 40 minutes, you are too tired to go roaming around, so you just hang out in one spot until the 4 to 5 days is over. Once again it was beautiful, and lucky us, we got to watch them do their thing one more time. I still cannot believe how close we get to these animals!
On our way back to the lodge, we saw an African Wildcat which is apparently not often seen, we also stopped and had a look at some constellations, it is incredible how clear the sky is, and tonight I saw Orion and the Southern Cross as clear as can be. Wow, Africa is incredible!