Armed Walking Safari in Lion territory


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Published: June 21st 2017
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Geo: -23.9561, 31.4416

Walking Safari

We left the gate at 5:50. We had waited for
some people who were no shows and so there were only fourof us plus the
two guides. We headed down the first dirt road to the right and then
cut over on one of those roads that we are not allowed to enter. We
then connected back with the road to Crocodile Bridge and pulled over to
the side.

They gave quite a long introduction about rules of the
walk. The most important things we learned was to walk single file so
we would look like some very immense creature not to be bothered with.
He also told us not to lag behind and if we needed to stop for
something, slap your thigh, whistle, but not call out unless you saw a
predator charging us. They wanted to us be quiet when we were walking
and they would stop every once in a while for us to ask questions. We
were welcome to take pictures of general game but if we saw any of the
big five we were to wait until they told us it was OK to take pictures
and not any of the speed ---10 shots at time. They also said if they
told us to get behind bush, drop to ground etc. to do so because that
meant it was a life threatening situation but do not worry, they had
their guns and they knew how to use them and had used them. Seemed a
little over the top on that part
of their spiel, but ok, we are ready to go.

Set
off single file and the first thing we encounter is lion tracks. The
guide showed us how he could tell there was more than one, which way
they were going and that the tracks were recent. OK, does this mean we
are going to see them?

Then for something a little calmer, a
baboon spider hole. It was very interesting because he took a twig and
stuck it down the hole and the spider came up to the edge of the hole
and checked us out. They are quite large and look something like a
tarantula.

We then got to look at some rhino tracks which we soon
found everywhere. We were in an area that was a group of rhino's
territory, it seems. We saw tracks, places where they had been sleeping
and even the wallow where they would go for their mud baths.

Porcupine
tracks were noted because you could see where their quills dragged
across the ground. There was a quill on the ground but we had been
asked to leave everything as we found it and to take only fleas and
ticks. Ha, ha, but we did check for ticks when we returned and found
some a day later and they were very very tiny and hard to spot.

More
lion tracks, and learned about the healing nature of the sickle bush.
It looks very similar to the acacia tree with thorns and leaves that
seem to be the same but are not. The leaves and bark are used to treat
pains and bites and a variety of other ailments.

Saw lots of
different animal tracks including the zebra and wildebeest and saw some
wildebeest off in the distance. More lion tracks and some buffalo
weaver nests about which we got another talk about how they position
their nest to take advantage of the solar heating.

Saw the rhino
rubbing post that were worn smooth and they also talked to us about the
marking of the territory and how the other rhino act when they are in
another's territory. Other animals also can use the midden but never
poop on top of the midden owner.

We then were told to be quiet
and then very close, about 50 feet away were three rhino looking at us
just like we were looking at them. We watched them for awhile, took
some pictures and then quietly moved on.

The next bit of
excitement came when the guides seemed to be on alert, talking to each
other, one would walk off, whistle and we would move on and then one of
the guides was down in a kneeling position, with his gun cocked. They
were on the alert for lions but I guess, I am glad we did not have a
close encounter with one!

We did stop and have a bite to eat, cheese, biltong, crackers, and digestives with a variety of
juices.
Then on we went. We were able to ask questions here and there about
wildlife in general and so the entire walk was quite interesting. We
also got to watch several different groups of warthogs moving about.

While
we were walking we also heard an angry elephant in the distance and was
glad that was not something we had to dodge. We came across a pile of
dung and Robert asked what it was and the guide took a stick and broke
it open. There was evidence of hair and he said it possible could be
cheetah dung because it was up on a rock. He also told us that the dung
of insect and meat eaters could contain very dangerous bacteria and you
should never touch it with your hand.

Back to the truck and back
to the camp. It was a very enjoyable morning and glad we had done
it.On the way back to the camp, we came across a group of giraffe, one
adult with several young. The guides said the older one was like a
babysitter.

That afternoon we did a drive and went to the
waterhole on the road to hippo pools down near Crocodile bridge. We had
giraffe, warthog, impala all drinking at the waterhole. It was very
beautiful to watch. We were stopped by a group of elephants taking
their sweet time crossing the road to get to the other side but finally
cleared the jam.

We were heading down to our favorite bridge,
Lubylubye, to check for any wildlife. There were none on the bridge but
did get to see six lions on the rocks by the water.

Jerry,
Naxdli, Angela and Bob arrived at Lower Sabie. We left them to get the
roof top tent open and their bed made while we headed over to the deck
to secure a table. They had decided to light one of the "mood"
fireplaces that were out on the deck and so we got a table right by it
because knew Naxdxi for sure would appreciate it. Ordered some
quesadillas and then the group arrived and we had a nice time out on the
deck laughing, telling stories, getting to know Angela and Bob, the two
that were traveling with them. Angela teaches with Naxdli and Bob is a
friend of Jerry's Finally headed to the tent to get some sleep before
the next adventure. They were heading to Berg n dahl the next morning
and Skukuza after that. We all agreed to meet for breakfast the next
morning.


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