Monday morning started out cool and overcast as we headed out for the morning game drive. Even though it’s really difficult to pull it together when the knock comes at 5:00 a.m., somehow by the time we’re in the truck, we’re wide awake and ready for the day’s adventure.
Just outside of camp, as dawn broke, we came upon a group of wildebeests. These menacing looking animals were just out in the open right beside the road.
Continuing along, our intrepid tracker Milton spotted a hyena in the grass, a pretty rare animal to come upon. He was sniffing around the remnants of a kill from the night before but the dregs had already been picked over by the vultures, as was evidenced by the white, downy feathers scattered about, and one lone bone fragment, about 6 inches long.
We turned onto another dirt road past this beautiful pond and in the far distance we spotted a group of hippos, just hanging out in the water. Can you see them?
The rangers communicate with each other via radio, notifying each other of sightings and locations, all the while sharing a friendly rivalry. We received a radio call that the Sparta pride, the large group of 11 lions, was not far away. We arrived to find the cubs frolicking in the grass with their moms watching, and the male about 100 yards away. After watching this group for a few days, you come to recognize who is who by their markings and their behaviour. Too cool!
Eventually Dad joined his mates and kids. Look how close we are to these beauties!
We finally moved along and heading east we came upon several zebra and watched them for awhile, Melvin explaining their mating habits and behaviour.
Continuing along we spotted these elephants, who on an average day can cover up to 20 kilometres.
Can you tell what this is?
A termite mound!
Not all the animals are big or imposing. This delicate ecosystem also has lots of interesting little creatures too.
After our morning game drives we return to camp for a hearty breakfast on the suspended deck, followed by some relaxing down time. We’ve been hanging out back in our fantastic accommodations, reviewing our pictures, or reading. Before we know it lunch time rolls around, then a nap, teatime and by 4:15 we’re back in the vehicle for the evening drive. The days seem to blend together and time seems to slow down.
I might add that at Londolozi, you can be “connected” in your room, but not in the main lodge area. This makes for a nice change from what we’ve all become used to. What a simple pleasure to have no phones on dinner tables, no texting during lunch and a return to real conversation and uninterrupted human interaction.
Monday night’s drive saw us crossing to the other side of the river for a different perspective. The vastness of the concession never ceases to amaze and the topography can change quickly from area to area.
We came upon a nyla standoff. These big, hulking creatures are quite odd looking. We watched as three males asserted their dominance by parading around in a circle, never taking heir eyes off one another, but at the most glacial speed you’ve ever seen. It was like watching a carousel in ultra slow motion.
Continuing along we saw a shy rhino in the distance but as we moved towards him, he kept changing direction to avoid us.
Milton and Melvin decided to track leopard prints on foot, leaving us in the vehicle for what seemed like forever. At first this is disconcerting, but after awhile, you get used to it and relax. Melvin returned while Milton kept looking as we spotted a beautiful lioness in the distance standing very high up on a rocky outcropping surveying the plane. Melvin told us this area is where the lionesses den with their cubs and later we saw her through the binoculars with a cub in her mouth.
Milton returned to say he had located the elusive leopard sleeping on top of a small hill, overlooking a herd of impala not to far away, obviously waiting for night to fall so he could hunt.
Eventually we headed back over the river towards camp and using a large night spot light to lead the way, scanning back and forth, back and forth across the terrain, Milton spotted this little chameleon. How he sees this stuff in a nanosecond is simply amazing!
Our river crossing yielded sightings of multiple crocs, lying in wait, their mouths open, hoping for a fish to flow by.
Arriving back at the camp, under a starlit sky, our truck is always met by a staff member with a flashlight who escorts us back to our room to freshen up before dinner and then picks us up to take us back, as it’s not safe to walk alone at night.
Look what awaited us when we got back to our room tonight!
After our luxurious bubblebath and champagne, we floated to the boma for another lovely dinner followed by a short performance by the Londolozi Women’s Choir who demonstrated their local song, dance and drumming – a real treat.
Another glorious day had come to an end. Tomorrow would be the last day in this magical place. Off to bed.