5* GAME RESERVE HEAVEN !!

Just a quick note to all those parents following Ricky , Sasha and Madison .. they are now on a new blog address .. www.rovolunteers.com/africa-mozambique-coast-blog so please follow them and let them know your watching :p .

For the rest of you who want to follow Laura and Hannah on their Track and Trail adventure … here goes …

So yesterday Hannah arrived safely at Richards Bay airport and was met by myself Ben who will be the Team Leader for the next week  . We got back to Durban and met up with the other volunteers who will mainly be heading to Mozambique for the week but also Laura who is also British and will be joining us at the game reserve .

We had a lovely chilled evening getting to know each other and during dinner ventured outside of our accommodation where we were met by 3 Hippos just wandering around someone’s garden !! This place really is special . After dinner we took a late night game drive around the town where we got to see a Crocodile chilling in the water and had some great sightings of Bush Babies , soo cute .

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But it was time to have an early night and begin our adventure which started this morning . It was a fairly early start having a spot of breakfast with the other volunteers before we had to say our goodbyes and go our own ways , so we wished them luck and prepared to leave in one of the safari vehicles for the short drive to Thanda Game Reserve where we will residing for the next week .

Normally we would have been staying at one of the training camps on the reserve but T.L Ben had a phone call from our guide saying that we had been given an upgrade to the Tented Camp just for the sake of convenience as a few of the guests there wanted to join us on some of our walks .. so we couldn’t wait to see what was awaiting us …

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Upon arrival at the South Gate we were met by one of the guides who took us on a short game drive up to our accommodation in the hills of the reserve .. On our way there we saw some male and female Nyala ( antelopes ) , a Rock Python , Crested Guinea Fowl and a few other smaller animals . Our bags were carried in for us and we knew then and there we were in for something special . Entering the main entrance …

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OMG !!! Turns out we have been upgraded to one of the 5* parts of the reserve !! We cannot begin to explain this beautiful place to you .. as we departed the vehicle we were met with some fresh warm citrus towels to wipe our faces and freshen up , cocktails on arrival , guided tour and then we were taken to our rooms !!

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WOW !!! Immaculately decorated , very spacious tents with crisp white linen , mini bars , huge bathrooms with walk in showers , and everything and more you could expect from a 5* lodge .. how could we get this lucky ??!! And the views … oh my word .. the views are incredible , this week is going to be amazing and one we will never forget !

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After settling in we met back up at the main reception area to meet our guide for the week Pieter who gave us a quick briefing before we tucked into a delicious buffet of salads , meats , quiches , sandwich wraps , cupcakes and cake … this is absolute heaven !!

It was reaching about 2:30 so we gathered our things and prepared for our first afternoon orientation walk around the reserve .. we are soo ready for this even T.L Ben who unfortunately broke his little toe yesterday morning hehe .

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As we entered the main reserve area outside the small fence line of the tented camp Pieter pulled us to one side and gave us our first proper briefing explain the does and don’ts of walking through the bush , what to do if we are confronted by one of the Big 5 animals ( Lion , Leopard , Rhino , Elephants and Buffalo ) and taught us a few of the hand signals he will be using to communicate with us during our walks to eliminate noise which may deter animals .

It was then time to officially begin our first walk , it was soo exhilarating being able to walk freely through the bush even with the danger aspect knowing that anything could be hiding in the thickets of the bush or around the next corner so we kept our eyes and ears peeled .

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(LEOPARD )

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( LION )

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( WHITE RHINO )

Along the way we learnt a lot about the tracks of the animals .. and even found Lion , Leopard and White Rhino tracks so we know these have been in the vicinity of this area lately … ooo let’s hope :p.

He also taught us how to distinguish different types of faeces so we could tell what has been around and to determine how old the faeces were so we knew if there was any point in following the tracks or if something was very close to us depending on the freshness .

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It turned out to be a fairly quiet afternoon sighting wise but it has taught us how to behave and act for the rest of the week . We also got to talk about different plants and trees and how the local Zulu’s have different uses for them which was very interesting , some of them seem to be a bit far fetched but who are we to say it works or not as it has been in their culture for hundreds of years .

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But then as we are nearing home Laura spots 2 Elephants on the other side of the hill heading straight towards our camp so Pieter gets on the radio and finds out that Lions are also right next to our camp !! Through the binoculars we can see one of the vehicles watching them and then we see the lions run right past the vehicle and towards the front of our camp !

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We were losing light so we decided to walk briskly to try and get to camp before the sunset and see if we can catch up with them . As we entered the camp and walked down the bottom viewing veranda we see a LION running through the bush just 15 metres away from us .. it was in our camp !! As we reached the veranda ELEPHANTS right in front of us .. maybe 10 metres away so we kept quiet and watched them for a short while . We really are immersed in wildlife here and it was right on our doorstep .. you could even say inside our house !! Breathtaking .. absolutely breathtaking to witness these magnificent creatures up close and personal .

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WHAT AN AMAZING FIRST AFTERNOON !! Dinner time was fast approaching so we headed back to our rooms to freshen up .. the met at 7pm to tuck into yet another delicious buffet before chilling around the Boma ( camp fire ) to watch the stars .. we wish you could see these night skies !!

It’s been a long but unforgettable first day so we will bid you goodnight and please keep following us .. if today was anything to go by .. you could all be in for some very special treats !!

LALA KAHLE ( Sleep Well in Zulu )

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