Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Another early morning start, and when we arrived at the main lodge, the rangers and trackers were excited to tell us that overnight the lions has tracked down a buffalo and managed to bring it down about 12 km away from the lodge, not far from the main entrance of Sabi Sands.
Everyone was keen to get going to ensure that we would be able to see the lions with their kill.
Before we left the lodge, Cameron spotted this Foam Nest Frog sitting on a log.
After a photo of the frog, we got into the jeep and made our way towards the lions. Right near the main gate of Sabi Sands, and conveniently right beside the track, the lions lay near the buffalo they brought down the night before.
We also saw
Leopard (Phil's favourite)
This is also the area that was hit by the electrical storm that we viewed from Bongani a few nights earlier. Some of the trees were still smouldering a bit.
There was a huge amount of different birdlife this morning.
Cape Turtle Dove
Fiery Necked Nightjar
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
African Fish Eagle
Emerald Spotted Dove
Black-headed Eastern Oriole
African White-backed Vulture
African Green Pigeon
It was a fantastic morning drive.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
We thank Steve and Aaron for our incredible wildlife encounters, and wealth of knowledge that they passed on to us.
Outside also filling up their car were a couple of policemen. So we thought we would ask them if they knew where the closet cash machine was. The police were fantastic, and said we will take you there, just follow us. So we got in the car, and followed them into town to the closest cash machine. While we were getting cash out, they waited for us, and then got us to follow them to the main road again so we could continue to Sabi Sands. They gave us a wave and we continued on our way! We were thrilled and so grateful for their assistance!
A fairly uneventful drive north to Sabi Sands, and we got a laugh from the hippo signs on the road, as we are more used to kangaroo, koala and wombat signs. I would hate to think of the damage to the car if you hit a hippo on the road.
We settled in to our rooms and then met back at the main lodge to meet Ronny, our "butler" for our visit. Ronny was fantastic, a charming, sincere and funny man who looked after us. He proudly showed us photos of his adorable children, they live in one of the local villages close by. Ronny made the kids his "famous pink" non alcoholic cocktail, which quickly became the kids favourite drink in South Africa!
The main lodge is open, they have some issues with the local monkeys which we experienced the following day, so they have to be careful with food and drink. The monkeys show no fear and are happy to walk right up to the tables to grab a piece of fruit or a drink. The boys thought they were hilarious! (much happier with the monkeys than the baboons!)
After a quick bite to eat for afternoon tea, we met our driver Craig and our tracker, Martin who would look after us for the few days we were at Exeter. Craig wanted us to make it a quick snack, as 4 lions had been spotted not too far away, and he wanted to show us the lions before they took off again. We didn't need too much encouragement, so we skulled the drinks, put on the mosquito repellent and we were on the jeep fairly quickly. We were pretty excited, but also cautious as those 2 lions in the boma at Bongani had given us a real scare when they let out a tiny roar....and we were ok with that as they were behind a fence...this was totally different!
Exeter sits on about 10,000 hectares of land, so lots of room, our tracker, Martin was great, along with being in radio contact with other safari vehicles who were also on the lookout for animals.
So, we found the 4 lions fairly quickly and we followed them for awhile. The kids complained that Nicole was squeezing them so tightly. Those lions were hungry! They were thin and you could see their ribcages. They were following a scent of something, and then were on the move. Nicole hoped the lions wouldn't see the kids as a tasty snack before the main event!
Not easy to take photos, but we got this one, you can see those ribs!
It was a great day and we hoped that perhaps the following morning we would hear if the lions caught up with whatever they were following.
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Up at the usual time, the storm had cooled the air down and it was back to a comfortable temperature again. Armed with enough mosquito repellant to cover a small army (we were on guard when it came to malaria), we head off again with Steve and Aaron.
It was just the 4 of us today, and Steve asks us as we drive off "What do you want to see today?"
"Zebras and Wildebeest, we haven't seen any yet" says Nicole. Aaron looks at Steve and laughs, we are not sure what that means. So Aaron just says "We will see what we can do", and off we drive.
2 days before Cameron had borrowed Steve's mammal and bird guide books, which he read front to back during the day. The guides were fantastic, photos of male and female of each species, footprints, poo samples and heaps of information about each animal.
We were stunned when we were driving and Cameron said, "There's a Klipspringer". We hadn't seen one before, and he spotted it before Steven and Aaron. Steve asked "How did you know that Cameron, that's the first one we have seen?" He replied "I read it in your book"
Thank you to everyone there who made our trip so fantastic, especially Steve and Aaron!