I feel like a millionaire travelling in our little plane to Ulusaba. There are 7 passengers and 2 pilots *quite yummy pilots I might add*
As we take off Richard and I exchange glances… starting to have some doubts about this plane.. it feels a little shaky I won’t lie… like if a big gust of wind came we might go crashing back to the ground. haha:) Soon enough though the plane got control of the skies and we had a smooth flight to Ulusaba. We arrived and were greeted by our guide/ranger, Johnny & our tracker, Daniel.
They are both very friendly and welcoming and give us an introduction to Ulusaba, then drive us through to the lodge.
WOW! This place is amazing… the pictures wont do it justice even though I am grateful every second for my dad’s camera which captures the shots perfectly! When we were walking to see our room, we spotted some Impala just across the way by the small watering hole in front of the lodge. We are staying in the Elephant Room. It is really luxurious and they provide you with everything you could ever need! Some of the other rooms have a fabulous little plunge pool overlooking the bush *stunning!*
We took some time to relax before heading out for lunch (or at least I did while Rich worked!). While we were having lunch, I spotted the most beautiful bird, and was delighted when the camera caught his colours perfectly! Totally not like my own which just seems to generate fuzzy pictures!
After lunch we took a walk to the watering hole that is ten minutes away but via these awesome bridges. The bridges swing a bit and when there is more than one of you on at a time, it can be tricky to walk straight & keep your balance if you don’t hold on the side. hahaha. They are SO MUCH FUN!!! I feel like a kid here;)
We spotted some hippos from the lodge by the watering hole which has a bar counter and some comfy couches. Our game drive was set to leave in 10 minutes so we didn’t stay long, but we will definitely come back! What a fabulous position for game viewing!!!
Our first game drive is at 3:30pm! Meet our Ranger & Tracker : Johnny & Dan. What awesome guys, I am so glad we got assigned to them:) We crossed a river and saw some Leopard footprints…. Directly after the river we saw our first game drive spotting: LIONS:)
Isn’t he just gorgeous? How mesmerising are those eyes?
It is mindblowing how close this lion came to me, definitely a memory I will treasure forever! He walked around the other range rover, and then down through the cars – literally less than 2 metres away from me. He looked straight into my eyes as he walked past and my heart definitely stopped for a few seconds. With the smallest of leaps he would have been on my lap!!! Incredible.
After the lions left in search of Buffalo, we saw some more Impala, and a gorgeous Giraffe! There were talks about white Rhino being in the area, but the ranger had lost track of them – so Simon’s (another ranger) tracker and Daniel went in stealth mode on foot to search for the Rhinos… a little dangerous in dusk when your eyes can start playing tricks on you 😉 Their mission was unsuccessful so we stopped for sundowners to admire the stunning african sunset.
We caught up with the lions again as we headed back to Safari Lodge and hoped to witness a kill, but they were just leading us on as they just strolled slowly along the road in front of us. In the darkness – I dont know how he did it – but Daniel spotted this little guy in a tree. For the life of me I can’t remember what he is, but he was adorable:)
Back at the lodge we had time to refresh before dinner which was the most delicious 5 course meal I have ever had. Everyone in the lodge sits together at meal times which is really awesome and so different from what I have experienced before. We were all swopping previous travel stories, animal sightings, and travel plans for the future ~ making incredible connections with strangers from all over the world, sharing this special moment in time in this little piece of heaven. There is a group of 6 from Belgium, a couple from Austria and a couple from USA.
Everyone retired early to bed at about 11pm for the 5:30 wake up call. Early morning game drive!
At nightime you are required to have a guard walk you back to your room as the lodge is unfenced. This part reminds me of that movie Ghosts in the Darkness – any moment you’re expecting a lion to leap out of the bushes and take someone down;) hahaha
Our room is warm & inviting, with our bed turned down and a heated blanket warming the bed for us! *such a treat* and we went to sleep listening to the sounds of lions no more than 50 metres from our room! There is a mosquito net around your bed so you dont get bugged at night time (although there dont seem to be any mosquitos around this time of year)
I am so incredibly grateful right now for the opportunity to be here. I think as South Africans you can get so immune to the excitement of seeing these majestic animals, “oh yea, another lion picture”, but it is something else entirely to be here and be in the open land rovers surrounded by these wild animals who allow you into their space. There is something so incredibly breath-taking about being close enough to see a Lion breathing, watch him cleaning himself like your average domestic cat, and make eye contact with these wild animals who dont seem to mind at all that there are a few people chilling in a car less than 5 metres away from them. It is so important to treasure and protect these incredible animals for future generations to experience.
No words can express how I am feeling right now, surrounded by nature in this paradise in the bush.