Last night we could hear an owl hooting outside our window and so S and I went to track it down. We found a pair of them in the trees right outside the house we were staying in – African Wood Owl – which we had last seen in 2016 in Namibia. Really nice to see especially since we haven’t seen an owl for some time.
A sub-group went for a run this morning around the lodge and golf course and I went to buy some fruit et al for breakfast. The balance slept in until later and then the younger generation went to play Putt Putt before we checked out and left Kruger Park Lodge. On the way over to the Putt Putt S saw a lifer – bronze mannikin – and took me to see them too so that takes my lifer list to 482. Hopefully more to come during this trip.
We then left Hazyview and headed for the game park. For the next 3 nights we are staying at &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge (https://www.andbeyond.com/our-lodges/africa/south-africa/kruger-national-park/ngala-private-game-reserve/andbeyond-ngala-safari-lodge/). It is situated right next to the Kruger Park in the northern section near the Orpen gate. The drive took us about 2.5 hours to get to the lodge itself including about 45 minutes of driving on a dirt track once in the game viewing area.
We arrived at the lodge just before 1pm and once we had been allocated our rooms and settled in we met for lunch. Lunch finished at 2:30pm and then we had 30 minutes free before meeting at 3pm for afternoon tea/coffee and our first game drive. We have two rangers – Nicky & Eric. We decided to split the trucks between young and old and the older group headed off with Nicky. They were trying to find a rhino with a young calf and so dropped off the trackers to try and find them and we went on to see what else we could see. We saw a herd of elephant just finishing drinking at a waterhole and then another vehicle saw a leopard and started following it.
We joined the other two vehicles following the leopard. To do this required a lot of off road tracking through some thick bush at stages. You have to pay attention or you get taken out by the branches! We followed the leopard for some time as it first tried to take out an impala (but didn’t succeed) and then tried opportunistically to take out a hare (and again wasn’t successful). We had some really good views of the leopard even though the light was fading quickly. A great experience for everyone including for the first timer!
Drinks just after sunset in the middle of nowhere and then we headed back into the camp at got back just before 7pm. We had dinner in the boma (selection of meat – lamb, pork ribs and boerewors). But 8:30pm we were all tired and headed off to our bedrooms. A lovely day and a reminder of how blessed we are to experience these things even in Covid times. We don’t take it for granted that we are all healthy and to enjoy the time together.
Until tomorrow …
P, S (for the lifer he found and took me too), H, K, C, J, M, O, S, B, R, J, B (the latter B is the husband of S and gets his place on the blog for critiquing yesterday’s blog)