As before, I wake up before our wake up call:) excited to get going again! The early morning drives are fantastic and just make me feel ALIVE! We headed off, not sure where we were going or what we were going to see (they like to keep the animals as a surprise!) We headed past Rock Lodge and ended up driving past the airport, everyone in the rover eagerly scanning the trees in anticipation of what we would find. Then we spotted one!!! A GORGEOUS Zebra walking slowly out the trees toward us! YAY!! I LOVE Zebra 😀 I suppose they are my favourite because I am so obsessed with horses… 😉
Then more started walking out, one of the mares was pregnant as you can see from her big belly! The stallion came out first to check for safety, and then the mares. They made their way across to the airstrip, not bothered at all by us, and just carried on walking down the airstrip. Dazzling:)
Information came through and we set off for our next little adventure! We arrived in a clearing a few minutes later and immediately spotted a pack of Hyenas. Geez these things scare me! I don’t know what it is but they’re just kinda evil looking (perhaps I am just bias from watching the Lion King!). The one started walking toward us and this time I DID jump onto Richards lap! Hahaha. Taking no chances with these freaky looking little guys:P
We had a request to see Leopard from one of the guests in our rover so we set off again to find a Leopard! Richard and I have already seen two and feel so blessed to have now seen 3!
We are driving along, rounded a corner heading toward the river, when you couldn’t help but spot the ENORMOUS Giraffe walking our way. These animals are unbelievably tall. It looks so difficult for them to navigate this rough terrain with those super long legs! I have a new respect for Giraffe 🙂
The leopard was found hiding in a little cove of trees, heaven knows who spotted her! She was faaast asleep and didn’t bat an eyelid as we drove around the bush to see her. Johnny said she had killed something last night and so she was full and lazy:)
What a stunning animal. Wow. Her coat just looks velvety soft and everyone in the ranger wanted to get out and stroke this big cat. Of course we didn’t 😛 she was an older leopard than the one we spotted yesterday but just as gorgeous.
I just have to mention…. The rangers here are incredible!!! They aren’t like the rangers in other reserves who usually have rules to stick to the roads, these guys don’t care and go boenderbashing wherever they feel like it, literally just driving straight over trees, through rivers, up and down massive sand dunes. Its crazy, and soooooooo much fun!!!! It also allows you to get truly up close and personal with the animals. Its mind-blowing how close you are to these huge elephants, lions & leopards. They could take any one of us out if they chose to in 5 seconds!
We end up with a flat tyre for our efforts of finding the Leopard, and head off to a beautiful spot to have a hot chocolate break and change the tyre. I’m amazed it took this long to get a flat;) but they change it in record time and we’re off again.
We spot a yellow billed hornbill on a tree who jumps across and leads us to his friend who is eating some dung I think. Johnny starts singing Hakuna Matata as the bird is from the Lion King, I join in, ITS MY FAVOURITE SLOGAN! and Rich starts teasing me about my Lion King cd and how loud I play it in my car;)
We saw some vultures circling a bunch of trees so Johnny & Dan jumped out to take a closer look.. ummmm. Are you just going to LEAVE US HERE ALONE again???? Yes. Hahahaha.
Soon we heard the approach of another rover, hoping they’d see us around the corner before they drove straight into us! I guess we should have pulled over to the side;) Its William, a super friendly ranger from one of the neighbouring camps. He sees us in time, pulls up next to us and we all have a good laugh that Johnny & Dan actually just needed the toilet.
Before Johnny gets back, William decides to play a trick on him as payback for when Johnny put elephant dung on his driver’s seat one day. He drives a few metres and spots some lion dung, picks it up with an acacia branch and delivers it neatly onto Johnny’s driver’s seat! Nice!! Johnny & Dan spot him through the trees, the look on Johnny’s face was priceless as they seem to have an idea of what William is up to and come rushing back to the vehicle! I shout out “only prey run” which is one of the rules of the vehicle, but they’re not concerned right now about that. Hahaha.
We head off again and find some warthogs on the side of the road. Also funny looking guys who remind me of the lion king! We make our way back to camp for breakfast, and follow breakfast with another walk to the watering hole via the bridges. Love it 😀 Rich and I decide a swing bridge is the way forward for Breede, I could walk across that bridge ten times a day and not get tired of it – such a kid;)
At the watering hole we see dozens of hippo’s, some with babies. We even see turtles chilling on the hippo’s backs! My camera battery goes flat so we head back to the room so Rich can work and have a snooze before lunch.
After lunch we are taken to Rock Lodge for ‘high tea’. It is stunning up there with 360 degree views across the whole of the reserve. We all agree though that Safari Lodge is better, despite the spectacular view, as you are right there in the thick of it, walking out your room to see Nyala next to the pathway and hearing lions roaring metres from your room.
We are keen to see some more animals so leave Rock Lodge to find some Rhino as our new guests haven’t seen any yet. We spot a couple who are just as impressive as the first bunch! There is a big male who is pursuing two females. They seem to be trying to get away from him and soon disappear in the bushes so we leave. Less than 10 minutes later we spot the pack of Hyena we saw earlier. Still just as scary as the one just stands there staring at us 😉 he seemed to know we were meat and kept sniffing the air. Maybe I am just paranoid 🙂
The next surprise is a treat – my own personal request – elephants crossing water and hopefully with some baby elephant in tow. I cannot put this experience into words, there is a huge herd of elephant crossing the river, with stacks of little babies with different moms! As we drive along the river bank there is just a never ending abundance of elephant, often popping up behind a bush or around a corner just when you think you’ve seen all of them. We also saw one scratching his bum on a tree! hahaha
We stop for Puza Saturday – near the area where we spotted the hyena so I’m finding it pretty difficult to relax and keep darting my eyes around just to be sure there’s none approaching! We always stop in different places to stretch our legs, have some drinks and some snacks.
Then we’re off again to see if we can catch the lions as they head out for their night-time hunting. We find some but the big guy is still sleeping and is in no hurry to get up. He knows we’re there and opens his eyes every once in a while, stretching & yawning, but no signs of getting up for a hunt.
We need to make way for other rangers & their guests so we need to leave & decide to head off to the astronomy building where there is a telescope. This experience is also mind blowing as we are shown clusters & other things of stars, ending off with a viewing of Saturn. It was so crazy we were all blown away to be able to see Saturn and its rings. Never in my life.
Back to the lodge again for drinks at the bar and the most delicious food I have ever tasted. The head chef is 22 years old and his skills in the kitchen are unmatched. The food he delivers is just out of this world. Yay we still have another day here! And then Victoria Falls!!!!
More pictures can be found in the Facebook album.