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  • Day31

    Game Drive Day 1

    January 30, 2016 in South Africa

    North Uthungulu, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    Saturday, January 30, 2016

    The five o'clock wake up call was as bad as expected, but it was worth it. What a morning we've had. You clamber into an open top jeep with your guide (Dylan in our case ) and Mt T the tracker, who sits on the front of the jeep. I realise he knows what he's looking for, but boy what he can see is amazing. Dylan wanted to head south, as he had heard that a cheetah family was about and wanted to check it out. So it is more of the sand tracks, up and down and as you travel further south the landscape changes and opens out. The soil is redder and it becomes more savannah like. There is a severe drought all over South Africa at the moment, so the water holes are down or in some cases completely dry, which is a concern. However we did come upon a large one which had hippo, black rhino, crocodiles, a pied kingfisher and a pair of fish Eagles, so a good start! There were giraffe a plenty. They are so elegant and with eyelashes to die for. Then it was off to track the cheetah family, which we eventually ran to ground. A mother and three cubs aged about 8 months. They were stunning and made my day.
    By 10am we were back and had had breakfast and felt it was time for bed! Your time is then your own, apart from lunch -more food! I sat quietly outside on the deck catching up with the blog, whilst Peter dealt with the hire car. There were little birds drinking and having a bath on the ledge of the plunge pool. I was entranced. Up came some large male Nyala to drink from the trough at the bottom of the pool. They fixed me with a look and then carried on. I was entranced all over again. A family of monkeys appeared to play on the side deck and at the back of the house were more Nyala and a family of Warthogs, including 6 babies. I just didn't know where to look. Did I need to get up at 5am I asked myself?
    The afternoon game drive starts around 4.30 and we saw a martial and a snake eagle, a beautiful little iridescent Pygmy kingfisher, zebra, more giraffe and a pride of lions dozing in the shade. What a sight they were. Dylan drove so close and they didn't bat an eyelid, well they did actually, but not with any mall intent. Our final treat was elephant, three of them, plus an African white faced owl on the way back after dark. Sundowners were taken as the sun sets and we were back at the lodge around 8pm. What a day!
    One thing to remember if you are a woman of mature years on a game drive. It is impossible to look anything other than the wild witch from the west. You are rattling along in a open top jeep, the wind whistling through your hair, so bad hair day for a start. You are shiny from liberal applications of sun cream and if you put your hat on you appear as a squashed wild witch of the west! Finally, all over beige or mud colours does nothing for us. It may prevent you from being eaten, but is that of any consolation I ask myself?
    On our return this evening, our hostess had a surprise for us. She had set up a romantic dinner for two on each deck- great! I suppose we must forgive her, she is young. So there we were Peter, I and the family of warthogs snoring in the bushes, plus the nipping insects of course. We walloped down a couple of courses, passed on desert and headed for bed, bearing in mind the 5am alarm call. What on earth can tomorrow bring?!
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