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Published: April 28th 2018
Thursday morning we left Bulembu with tears in our eyes and a bit of our heart staying behind. Cathie said it best when we got there that she felt small there like when she stands in front of the ocean. There is something there in those mountains that is captivating. God had blessed them with this location and blessed us by calling us there.
We hit the road just before 8 because the border doesn’t open until then and Bulembu is right on the border. We had to get out of the van and go through the control office to get our exit stamps, drive through a short no mans land (we decided we should claim it for Canada since at that point all the people in it were Canadian), then get out of our van again at the South African border to get an entry stamp.
Janette had come the day before and we needed to drop her in Nelspruit to meet up with her Mozambique team again. But we were on mission to get to the safari lodge so turned it into just a drop off. Quick prayer to bless her trip back and her months to come. I hope we filled her bucket with Canadian love as we’ve been filled from African love.
The drive was interesting to see the different houses, the road side markets and people walking all along the side of the road.
Found our way to the game reserve area. Once we were through the gates we started spotting animals. There were a lot of elephants, giraffes, impalas, and zebras just along the side of the road. The van was a buzz with excitement! We arrived at Senalala Luxury Camp and were greeted by the staff waiting for us to arrive. They took our luggage from the van and took us to our rooms. Wow!! Talk about spoiled! Everything is thought of and provided. Chocolates in the room, take away water bottles, unlimited beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) in the fridge, and a verandah with couches facing the watering hole to watch for animals. From blessed to spoiled in a matter of a few hours.
We had lunch right away and a giraffe appeared to drink out of the watering hole. What a start! We headed out late afternoon for our first drive. We had 2 jeeps and headed in different directions. We saw a lot of vultures, impalas, some hippos heads in the water, several yellow billed hornbill (aka Zazu for Lion King fans) and a lazy hyena that drive. A quiet evening back at the lodge taking in the fullness of the African night.
Up early in the morning to get on the drive before the sun rose. Set out in different directions again. Our Jeep saw lots of impalas, a couple Kudu, and birds until the other Jeep radioed us about a herd of water buffalo and we headed that way. As we were sitting watching the water buffalo walk around, a hyena just wandered up behind the Jeep and meandered passed us. We also managed to see a wart hog, giraffes and zebras. We also saw a grounded red billed hornbill which is an endangered bird but the other Jeep saw a rhino! A lazy day back at camp watching elephants at the watering hole until it was time to go out for the evening drive. Started in a good note with a group of about 5 giraffes! After watching a elephant in the dry river bed for a while, we heard of a group of rhinos and headed over there. We passed a breeding herd of elephants along the way but chose to still pursue the rhinos. We were rewarded with 3! Two adults and a baby. Reflective night at camp where Brendan gave us some insight into transitioning back into real life after a mission.
Our flight leaves at 130 and it is a 4 hour drive from camp but we squeezed in a quick drive before we left and thank goodness we did! We were about an hour in and had only spotted an elephant in the distance plus a few impalas and a couple steinboks. Suddenly Ian spotted a leopard lazying on a termite hill. What a beautiful creature! We radioed the other Jeep and they booked it over but didn’t manage to see him. They had however been in a herd of elephants!
Into the van with breakfast to go and headed to the airport!
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