*** Since returning from Safari the internet in the lodge is no longer working. We are hoping this will be resolved soon and will update the blog as frequently as possible ***
We decided it was about time for a blog update from the (ir)responsible adults on the trip… so here goes.
It was another early start to the day, with a 6:30 wake-up call, ready for a 7am breakfast before jumping straight on the coach for another full day of safari-ing!
Our first 3 hour 30 minute drive began at 8am and after yesterdays jam-packed drive (with an abundance of Lions, Elephants and much more) we were a little concerned when we had a comparatively slow start. In the 2ish hours before the tea break we saw a small number of Giraffes, Hippo and a sounder of Warthogs. Fortunately after a top-up of Hot Chocolate, Coffee & Muffins things started to pick up at a dramatic pace! First of all we went in search of the Buffalo, one of the big five that many struggle to find within the park as they only have 250 Buffalo in the 350km area of Pilanesberg Park. After a short time we found a small herd grazing in the distance, a family who had followed our direction to find them told us that they had been visiting the park for 20 years and had never before seen them. It was the start of a very lucky streak. Feeling very lucky and excited we continued on our path and suddenly we came across two Cheetah’s sheltering from the sun under a nearby tree. We had absolutely struck gold with this find, and the guide was amazed at our luck, as there are only 10 Cheetah in the park and four of those are cubs. Our luck continued and we saw an abundance of Wildebeast, Zebra, Impala, and even managed to see Elephants drinking at the watering hole. After an action packed morning we headed back towards the hotel for lunch and relax time. On the last few minutes of the drive one group spotted a Leopard in the distance, as we approached it crossed the road and continued on its way, without a second glance in our direction. At this point the drivers were starting to question whether we were using magic! Another rare sighting in this park, with a population of only 50 in total.
We started the afternoon drive wondering whether we would be lucky enough to see all of the big 5 in one day – surely not! Though with only Rhino and Lion to go anything is possible. Our afternoon session started with a large group of Giraffe watching us with keen interest as they munched on the leaves of the trees. After more Antelope and Warthog we had a mid-Safari break, and stopped at a hide in a water hole where we watched a family of Rhino drinking with the setting sun behind them. A large male approached and after a growl from the mother to protect her youngest calf the adult male then charged at the elder calf, moving at speed and with dust flying it was an incredible sight to behold and also to hear. 4 out of 5 done!!
When we were back on the road it wasn’t long before we were blessed with the final one of the set. A pride of Lion basking in the late afternoon sun. What a privilege to have seen such a range of endangered, beautiful and humbling creatures all in the same day. It brings perspective to life and how insignificant we are in the world.
After a closer look at the family of Rhino who had ventured to the side of the road, we headed back towards the hotel for our dinner. Whilst we were eating our dinner two Lions walked past the hotel water hole and hide, unfortunately we just missed them, but still feel very lucky and humbled by all that we have been fortunate to have seen today.
Thanks to everyone who has sent us messages over the trip so far, it is lovely to have a taste of home and a reminder of the love and support we have. Keep following the blog.