It’s currently Sunday around noon – the internet service at this lodge is awful so I don’t know when I will get to post this. It seemed to be better at the other lodge, which we move to tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll have luck then.
We left Hermanus on Saturday at 6am to head back to the Cape Town airport. We had an hour and half drive along a windy mountain road, in the dark, and in the fog. That was a bit hair-raising! We made it safely to the airport where we boarded our Mango Airlines flight (kind of the Spirit Airlines of South Africa!) to Durban. Durban is on the east coast of the country and has weather much like ours in Florida – tropical, hot and humid, with a lot of rain in the summer. This being winter, the temperatures are milder but it is going to warm up mid-week – it’s supposed to get into the 90’s.
The reserve we are at is mostly American, and almost everyone bought the trip on a charity auction like us. That’s mostly what they do here. They have 4 of the “Big 5” (lions, leopards, rhino, buffalo and elephant)– the only one missing are lions. Their reserve isn’t big enough for a pride of lions – since they are social animals, they always travel together and there is not enough space for them or enough for them to hunt. There are 2 separate lodges – we are staying 2 nights at the Heritage Lodge and 4 nights at the Game Lodge. You get a guide that stays with you throughout the week. Aside from the 4 of us, we have a family from Boston with us on our drives.
The first game drive of the trip was Sunday morning at 8am (which is a late one – most go out at 6!). They last around 2 hours each. The first glimpse of the animals in their habitat (and not at Disney or Lion Country Safari!) is amazing – they are used to the vehicles so they pretty much just ignore us and let us get up close. On the first drive we saw warthogs (Pumba!!), impala, zebra, nyala, rhinos and giraffes. We saw 5 white rhinos, 2 of which were a mom and her baby (1 year old). We got up very close to the mom and baby and just sat there for about 20 minutes watching them interact. The baby had a lot of energy and the mom not so much (so no different than humans really!) The baby was eating and then drank from the mom and kept nudging at her like he was saying come on mom let’s go do something. It was so cute. Mom was just constantly dozing off.
After watching the rhinos for a while we ran into about 6-8 giraffes – we stopped and watched them for a bit and they just stared straight back at us – it was funny!
We have another drive this afternoon at 3:00 – hoping we’ll see the cheetah (she has a cub!)