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  • Day8

    Sabi Sands - Day 2

    November 27, 2015 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 72 °F

    We were woken up at 5am after an impressive lightening show and sporatic rain showers that lasted throughout the night (and that Nico slept right through). The storm brought temperatures that were dramatically different than the day before. Prepared for another hot day, I wore shorts and a light sweater. However, the clouds never parted and the temperature stayed around 60F.

    The morning started off a little slow with no sightings right off the bat. Our driver must have gotten a call because he quickly threw it into reverse so he could make an earlier turn. He expertly navigated the unmarked roads at 50 km/h and then started to slow as we approached one of the Big 5. Two male lions were lazily enjoying the cool weather. One of them had a tooth hanging out of his mouth; he was most likely kicked in the mouth by a zebra a month ago. Our guide said he was probably doing well without it because the other lion was the dominant one that could hunt for both.

    After watching the lions for a while, we took off to find another member of the Big 5. It wasn't long before we were gazing up a tree at a lounging leopard. He had his front and back legs dangling from the branch as he occasionally shifted his head left and right. We stayed for quite some time and it paid off because we got to see him jump down from the tree and start roaming the bush. There was also a giraffe waiting for us in the middle of the path.

    It was a successful morning! And we were welcomed back to the camp with a hearty breakfast. Shortly after eating, we went on a very informative bush walk to learn about the smaller animals like termites and their useful contribution of eating dead twigs/branches, how wasps create egg pods on trees, and how baboons dig in the dirt to find scorpions for a meal full of protein. We also learned a lot about animal poop and how to identify the originators.

    On the afternoon drive, we were joined by newcomers - two friendly Brits. The lady Brit was a bit anxious for her first drive and to increase her anxiety, almost immediately, we encountered a hyena. While the rest of us snapped pictures, she got closer to her gent and asked our driver to proceed.

    We ventured into the Eastern part of the reserve and came across the next animals fairly quickly. We spotted a Hippo in a watering hole. A solo male elephant was the next of the Big 5 that we crossed off our list. He was quite a bit larger than his cousins we previously met in Thailand. Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves in the middle of a big herd of buffalo (50+) comingling with some rhinos. 5/5. We celebrated with the customary G&Ts. On our way back following sunset, we saw the Hippo out of the watering hole which is very rare.

    In the evening, we enjoyed more delicious food and plenty of wine.
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