BATLESS RHINO ESCAPADES

Well it is now our penultimate day here at Thanda Game Reserve and after strong howling winds last night and a bit of a disturbed sleep we rise to yet another beautiful day in the camp albeit a bit chilly first thing . Normal routine applies once again today .. a quick breakfast of yoghurt , muesli and some sliced fruit and then prep ourselves for yet another day of hiking .

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Ben has told us of a Bat Cave that is ontop of one of the hills closer to the Inthibane side of the reserve which where we should have been staying , so the plan is to go and find it . It was going to be a hell of a trek getting there so we set of around 7am hoping to reach there about in about 3 hours or so .

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It was easier and quicker to leave out of the bottom of camp this morning so that’s just what we did , as we began to climb the second of many hills in our way we spot Black Rhino tracks from sometime this morning around 2am so being the intrepid adventurers we are we began to follow to see if we could get a better sighting than yesterday … we just hadn’t expected what came next ….. !!

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We must have only been following the tracks for about 15-25 minutes or so and then it appeared that the Rhino had been resting for a while and then carried on .. knowing the Rhino would have rested for at least 3-4 hours we had just made that time up on him before following the next set of tracks .. this meant he wasn’t far ahead !!

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Around the next few corners we can hear him in the thicket of the bush .. I say him but we came to realise it was a Cow and her young Calf so Pieter asks us to stand still while he goes on ahead to check it out . We could hear more rustling and agitation so Pieter asked us to pick out a tree just incase and walk backwards a bit to keep a safe distance .

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At that point it didn’t look like she would head our way so he asked us to all climb the tree at least 2m off the floor and he would try and call her and see if she would come and investigate .. some pretty hair raising stuff we tell you !! But after many calls it seemed she had gone off the other way and Black Rhinos are notoriously aggressive so we decided to leave her alone and continue on our way .

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Next stop .. Bat Cave hill ! On our journey we randomly hit a border fence and realised it must be from the Main Camp to keep everyone inside safe as it is a 5* camp . As we came down the next hill and onto the main road we picked up the Lion tracks from this morning so begin to follow them , as you do lol . However there was a game vehicle just down the road and we couldn’t interfere so we came back and sat down to one side in the bush and waited to see what they were doing first .

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Unfortunately the Lions had already moved on and they were just trying to track them also so we carried on . The morning took us continually up and down hills and through thickets , sickle bushes and Chromalina bushes , apparently this in an invasive alien plant species that was brought over in the horse feed many years ago and is a real danger to plant species here .

When it’s leaves drop it releases a toxin which then seeps into the ground making it impossible for any other plant life to grow in the vicinity and there are huge efforts around these types of reserves to eradicate it mainly using controlled bush burning which also helps promote new growth .

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Finally up ahead we can see the base of the hill but it was definitely time to take a breather and take on some fluids and some food . We all found ourselves a nice tree , sat ourselves down and took the weight off our feet in the shade . Laura wasn’t feeling to good as her stomach was playing her up a little so we decided to spend a little extra time here , have lunch and a bit of a snooze to see if that helped .

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While we were all having a bit of a doze Ben kept watch as we have heard Ellies might be in the area and you never know what else might rear it’s head and sneak up on us … !! He did however see a couple of Zebra that tried to hide from us in the bush and a gorgeous Little Bee-Eater bird just chilling on a branch .. looking for bees we imagine .. duuuh !

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Laura decided to give walking another crack to try and make the most of the day .. go girl ! Passing along the top of the ridge at Inthibane we catch a glimpse of the camp where we should have been staying which looked really nice but definitely couldn’t compare to where we are now hehe !!

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Further along the ridge with the day getting hotter and Laura still not feeling 1oo % the decision was made the head back to camp as Hannah was also getting a little tired and who can blame us after all the walking this week !! So we sat and waited for our lift back which was like a rollercoaster ride haha going over all the bumps in the road but we did see a Striped Kingfisher and a few more Zebra with Impalas just o the other side of the ridge .

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Reaching camp we thanked Pieter for another great day and headed back to our tenets to freshen up . To cool off Ben and Hannah braved the very brisk pool and had a refreshing dip while being joined by some female Nyalas lol .

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We ended off the day either by relaxing in our tents and having a nice relaxing warm shower or heading down to the viewing deck to chill on the sofas or chaise long and watch the wildlife go by on the reserve . And tonight is a huge camp Boma Braai which is like a massive barbeque around a camp fire with the rest of the guests so that should be something to look forward to !

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