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Published: September 25th 2006
So we began the game drive that promised us, Lions, Leopards, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephants. I think these are the big five but feel free to correct me. We began the drive in a civil way, seeing some really amazing wildlife, lots of antelope, kudu, warthog, bushbuck type animals but then our guide had some feedback through his earpiece which alerted him to a spotting of one of the big 5.
Suddenly we were not on the dirt track any more, but driving through thick scrub and mowing down small trees while trying to avoid having our eyes gouged out by very prickly bushes. But then we began to see them. Buffalo. Wow, a huge heard of them and they are huge. I don't know why I find them funny they really aren't, maybe the way their horns look like an old fashioned wig but there is something awe inspiring about their size and the baby ones are just the best. They are so used to the vehicle they treat it as another non-threatening animal and get on. I just can't get enough of watching them go peacefully about their way, eating, moving, occasionally giving us a funny look.
After our buffalo encounter came the elephants. These were always going to be my favourite but seeing them in this environment was just incredible. We found the heard which included a 4day old baby which was the tiniest, hairiest thing compared to the others and oh my god, so cute!!!!! They ranged in age and we drove up in amongst them. It was actually a bit scary considering the damage they could do. The smaller much younger elephants were more inquisitive about us, they came right up to the vehicle and gave it a good checking out but then decided they should follow the older elephants. The truly scary but amazing bit of this experience was the bull elephant which emerged from behind the trees. I really thought we should have got going then but no, we sat there!!!! He was at least the size of a house with the hugest tusks I've ever seen. After nearly wetting myself as he came right over, he turned to follow his heard it and it became clear that he was very calm and measured.
At this point my camera decided to mock me and run out of battery completely. I was
most annoyed as next, the funniest thing happened when another jeep with people in emerged the other side of the herd. One of the bigger lady elephants decided she wasn't happy with this other vehicle and began flapping her huge ears and trumpeting at it breaking into a short run and heading straight for the car. I have never seen a jeep reverse so fast. I'm just very pleased I wasn't in it, or had the job of cleaning the seats up after.
Our game drive continued and as it did Sarah was getting more and more anxious to see Zebra. We were about to see some before we spotted the elephants but they took priority so we missed them then. As it got dark it looked like we wouldn't get to see them but then we had tomorrow’s drive to see them as well. I thought this might be a good time to go home as it was dark and getting very cold but no, we were continuing in the dark to look for animals, mainly Lions. Suddenly our guide got the red light via his earpiece and we raced off at a very fast rate. We could
see a vehicle in the distance with it's lights on and then and there we got our first glimpse of the Lions. They moved very gracefully. I couldn't believe we were seeing them in the wild like this. Again they were so used to the vehicle they just ignored us. It was such a kick to see them playing, dozing and just being lions really. We couldn't see the head of the pride which would have been amazing but we were coming back in the morning so not too worried about not seeing all the animals on this trip. As we left the lions our guide said that they seemed to be moving in the direction of the zebra, at which point Sarah's face dropped, bless.
We ended our night tour by watching some hippos in the water (just their eyes actually which looked quite funny) and a crock. When we got back, freezing cold and covered in big blankets due to the freezing drive back, we were met by our hosts with hot towels and gluvine. I love this place!!!!..........
We woke the following morning, nice and warm in the bed with the electric blanket on but
absolutely bloody freezing out of it. Again we put on all the clothes we had bought with us and headed to the pick up point for a morning game drive. We were given two blankets this time as it was seriously brass monkeys. I wrapped myself up with just my face showing, much to the amusement of every one else. I hate being cold.
The first thing we came across was the lions and this time with the head of the pride. As we approached him he was being fondly looked after by a lady lion who couldn't keep her eyes off him. He was a proud fella, really laidback. Then another female Lion joined them and a bit of a scuffle broke out with a bit of roaring but nothing too hard core. He was just so chilled, in fact they all were. The reason for this became apparent pretty soon. They had just made a big kill and had all eaten. That is when I looked down to my left and saw a zebra hoof!! I immediately looked at Sarah but thankfully she was taking a photo of the pride.
The lions were the highlight of
the day for sure and we didn't get to see a Leopard which we were searching for for quite a while. I have to say this experience is just amazing. I am so pleased to have seen what I've seen and I honestly don't think I could happily see an animal in a zoo ever again.
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