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  • Day10

    Makakatana lodge

    March 18, 2019 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    We stayed three nights here. It was billed as a wetland area park so we were looking forward to seeing some good wetland birds etc. Overall it’s been a bit disappointing. On the good side of the ledger, we did have our own personal guide for the whole of our stay, so we had an entire truck to ourselves. The guide was named Hans and had just finished his training and this was his first real paying job. He is 23 yrs old and because he looks like a young Leonardo Di Caprio, Anne could forgive him anything! The rest of the lodge staff we also quite young, but despite being helpful and friendly, they were poorly organised, which made for an uneven level of service. The accommodations are comfortable but basic. All the basic requirements of a lodge are here but somehow it just doesn’t click together. The lodge is in a state owned wild life park, There are no predators here and the animals are fairly sparse. Possibly this is due to part of the area being given over to forestry which gives the animals a good place to hang out away from the public gaze. We were also unfortunate in that the wetland part of the park is an estuary which used to be salt water but has become blocked from the sea, so is now turning into fresh water. At the time of our visit due to heavy rains inland, the lake has risen by over one and a half metres and the water was very muddy. This has driven the water birds away and allowed the hippos to hide in the reeds while still being in the water. It was also egg laying time for the crocs so they were all away on dry land laying their eggs!

    Despite these challenges we did spend a pleasant couple of days chugging around the lake with a sprightly eighty year old who seems to know each hippo by name and could tell us which ones has just given birth etc. We also visited the private beach which was very pleasant but was very open and not a place for any swimming or snorkelling. It was also accessed via a very steep soft sand slope about 50 ft high. Going down was ok - you just had to slide down, but coming back was quite a struggle to climb - the only way to do it was on your hands and knees (not the most elegant look!) but the end result was a lovely picnic lunch served by our lovely “Leonardo”, sitting in the shade with a gin and tonic.

    During our game drives, we did see quite a few animals - antelope of different types were fairly common as were zebras.. There were a few giraffe, a solitary elephant and a variety of birds. As there are no predators in the park, the animals eventually die of old age.
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