Well here it is folks , our penultimate day on this amazing reserve and we still have soo much left to see and soo much of the reserve left to explore ! we don’t think a week is going to be enough time so we have decided to stay longer and will maybe see you all later in the year if that’s ok with you ??!! ah who cares , we are staying anyway lol … we love this place !!
Suppose we should tell you about our day hey .. well …. It began as a normal day , early breakfast but well rested after another great nights sleep before leaving the camp at around 6:30 . The plan today was to head out towards the West side of camp again where some of the predatory animals were spotted yesterday but managed to evade us .. we were not going to let this happen again !!
We had heard whispers that while the Lions were out hunting yesterday they had left the younger ones at a specific spot and would pick them up again later but apparently one of the younger Lions had become separated and was wandering around on his own looking for the others .. could this be our chance ?! Then on the track in front of us .. fresh tracks from one of the larger male Lions from sometime this morning heading further west and over the hills .. needless to say we began to follow them .
Crossing our path along the way we saw a lone Giraffe , some female Kudu and a herd of Impala on the ridge directly in front of us , we also met up with the Rhino monitors along the way whose job is to keep track of all the Rhinos because of all the poaching activity over the last few years around Southern Africa . They informed us that the Rhinos were still around the area so we had to keep an eye out for them .
Just as we were looping around and up the first hill we saw other fresh Lion tracks heading in the same direction as the other set of tracks , obviously both Lions were trying to locate the younger one . But as we got out into the open just up ahead and from out of nowhere .. a White Rhino !! As we stood and watched for a while we couldn’t believe it .. just to our right .. 4 more of them !!
They were probably about 40 metres ahead of us but the wind direction wasn’t helping our cause and pushed our scent straight to them and as soon as they had caught wind of it they scampered down into the valley and up the other side . It was still early so we decided to loop around and down wind of them to try and get a better view . a Zebra also came out of nowhere and ran right past us not seeming to care and as we reached the bottom of the valley we could smell something sweet , almost like popcorn … it was were a Leopard had marked his territory .. OMG PLEASE LET US SEE A Leopard lol
Coming up from the bottom of the hill we managed to get a fantastic view of them just parking off on the ridge , they could see us but seemed more chilled now and just let us watch while they grazed .. AMAZING !! We honestly could have stood there all day and watched them but the day wasn’t getting any younger and we still had plenty of tracking left to do . We could see Ben and Nick scheming over the radio but had no idea what they were up to .. !!
Continuing to follow the tracks we seemed to be heading in a certain direction with a purpose .. hmmm ??! Up and down the valleys and hills we crossed with the tracks getting fresher and fresher until we reached an opening and they couldn’t hold it in any longer and informed us that we had to be careful and keep our eyes open because the Lions had been seen here like 1hr ago and could still be close !!!!! Even the Baboons were calling meaning something must be around here !!
As we marched up one of the tracks popping our heads just over the ridge there he was .. a magnificent Male Lion just laid there in the grass about 30 metres away !! WOW .. he looked soo majestic with his flowing mane but wasn’t a happy chappy .. crossing the brow of the hill he could see us in full now and began to grumble then moved off further into the bush not wanting to be bothered . Nonetheless we slowly crept forward and could now see 2 Lionesses laid down in the grass just in front of us !! One gave us a bit of a standoff and slight mock charge before settling down again just letting us know she knew we were there .
Slowly creeping forward again to get a better view they moved back from the road slightly and laid back down .. they couldn’t have been more than 20 metres away from us now !! We cannot put into words how breathtaking and life changing this experience was , knowing we were stood literally metres away from these potentially man eating animals and yet not fearing anything just enjoying every single moment we got to spend with them … this whole trip has definitely been made worth it by these few defining minutes !!
Although yet again we could have stayed with them all day there was plenty left we could still see and explore so we let them be and carried on our way . Just up the road we saw some male and female Kudu who got a fright and headed towards the Lions – hopefully they’ll thank us later for sending them lunch haha .
Making our way up onto some of the higher ridges we settled down amidst a few of the scarce trees for some shade while we rested for lunch with our ‘ Tree God ‘ Eric and rodeo master guide Nick taking to the trees to rest .. it all seemed a bit too much for Nick who got a few winks in during lunch time haha .
Everyday this week the days have got hotter and hotter and today was definitely no exception . the sun was killing us today but we marched on regardless wanting to make the most of what was left of the day . Heading back down towards the main road just up from our camp we caught a glimpse of 3 Giraffe who seemed happy to be just chilling by the roadside also partaking in a spot of lunch . Then from along the road we met up with some of the guys who would be doing some controlled burning of the reserve to try and eradicate a lot of the chromelina ( alien plant species ) which we told you about yesterday .. and this would be done by helicopter .. so they were just mapping out the area which needed to be burned .
The skies above us had been pretty quiet today but we did manage to see an African Harrier Hawk .. it is always just a little too difficult to get some decent picture because they fly soo high and move soo fast that we can’t react quick enough with our cameras lol . On our last track before heading back to the lodge we spotted some Leopard tracks and Nick told us that the hill we were on was a favourite haunt of one of the Leopards so we thought we would see if our luck was really in and went to follow them . We also saw some Stink Ants who had constructed a small nest but we had to leave them be because apparently if you agitate them they let off this horrendous smell .. much like Will has these last few days hahah
Although we kept finding plenty of tracks it was fruitless trying to find this Leopard as they are soo well camouflaged even if we walked right past him we probably wouldn’t see him .. time was pushing on anyway and we had met our goal for the day in finding the Lions so we made one last final push for home and to rest our tired feet and sweaty bodies . Ben and Nick even joked about carrying on once we had reached camp but we were having none of it and left them to it lol . Then we had to say goodbye to Nick who has been absolutely incredible these last few days and has given us some great laughs and some great sightings .. NICK .. we thank you and you’ll always be remembered !!
POOL TIME for the boys again who took the opportunity to cool off and take some stupid pics jumping into the pool while the girls Deborah and Rui just relaxed in their room reading a book . Tonight is our night to head into the Boma in camp ( fire pit ) and chill by an open fire and have a lekker braai ( barbeque ) for dinner which we cannot wait for !! Then the other vol group have invited us out for a few drinks at the local pub .. woohoo !! What a great way to round off what so far has been an absolutely perfect day here in Africa !!