We were out the door at 5:36AM, had a quick cup of tea and jumped in the jeep for our morning drive…today we have a private drive, no one else joined us! We were driving around for a bit before we were radioed from the other jeep ranger (who also worked at the Impodimo Lodge) who said he spotted a lion going deep into the bush.
We drove over and met them, went off the road and into the trees but the lion they had seen walked too far into the bush…it was too thick to get the jeeps in and they weren’t even sure exactly where the lion went, so the rangers left us in our jeep and the other group in their jeep and they all jumped out on foot with their guns, disappearing behind the trees/bushes. We were sitting out in the reserve by ourselves…ummmm what if something were to try and eat us out there? Somewhere close by we heard growling…we think it was an elephant (yes they growl).
About 15 minutes later, the rangers came back and said they knew where the lions were…they started the jeeps back up and slowly moved into the thick bushes warning us to be careful as the thorns scraped the side of the car. As we got closer…we heard bones crackling…it was a different pride and had some baby lions feeding on a baby kudu which was just about gone as we arrived.
After watching them devour what was left of the bones, we drove back out and immediately saw a giraffe…even though we’ve now seen a few of them, it is still exciting to see them roaming around by themselves munching on trees. We also saw a female wildebeest, and by the way…the wildebeest is in the top three fastest animals in the world!
As we continued to drive…our ranger heard on the radio from another jeep that they spotted a leopard! We of course drove straight over to where they were, and when we pulled up saw two jeeps from other lodges sitting on the side of the road staring into the bush. They saw her go in but no longer had a visual… Our ranger drove right past the other two and continued into the thick bushes…trying to be quiet but looking for any signs of her. Then we saw it…again she was so beautiful with her spotted coat walking as her strong muscles moves gracefully with her. She was hunting something in the tall grass. We got some great video and a perfect picture of her as she turned her head to look at us.
So far this drive has been action packed and we were so excited to have gotten to see a leopard for a second time. After watching her for a bit, we drove out of that area in order to let other people get a glimpse. As we drove around looking for our next sighting, we saw another giraffe with the background of the tall mountain behind him…it was picture-perfect. We also got to see 4 more black rhino including a baby chewing on grass…in fact, when any of the other rhinos got too close to the baby, they let them know with their huffing and puffing!
We stopped for our morning coffee in the middle of the reserve with our two rangers and noshed on some muffins. After our coffee break, we ended our morning drive with another pride of lions feasting on their meal. We recognized the pride…it was the lioness with her two baby cubs and the young male lion who is surely hiding from the alpha male so as not to get kicked out of the group quite yet. We got great video and pictures especially of the male lion as he sat resting. The baby cubs eating by their mother’s side with blood all over their mouthes was crazy to be watching so close! It was kind of cool how we are starting to recognize the different lion prides in the area.
After the lions, we drove back to the lodge and enjoyed our brunch pool-side.
Published by Brandey Kabat
What I like: Dark chocolate, yoga, fresh squeezed juice, laughing, hiking, wine, travel, food, lush products, being warm, having long hair, the ritual of drinking something hot first thing in the morning…
What I don’t like: When people smell their fingers, pushing elevator buttons, confrontational situations, not being able to fall asleep quickly at bedtime…
Most random job ever: Plastic surgery consultant
As for my love life: I met my husband mid way through my junior year in college, as soon as I laid my eyes on him I was attracted to him. In fact, I made the first move which was a bit out of character but there was something about him…probably the fact that he was smokin’ hot!!
Where from and where to: I grew up in NY, went to college at The Ohio State University and then headed to CA after graduation. My boyfriend (Giff) and I had a map, a borrowed van and used stuff from his mom’s basement aka a vacuum, silverware, old Christmas ornaments etc., and about $1000 each. We thought it would be a good idea to head straight to CA since neither of us had been. Being we didn’t know anyone there nor did we have a job or job interviews set up or a place to live…I would say we did it the hard way! However with a bit of help from Giff’s mom who flew out to put us up in a hotel, bought me a suit for interviewing and co-signed a lease to get us a place to live we eventually found jobs and an apartment and have been in CA for 10 years.
Our story: After moving out to CA and living together for about 3 years we got engaged. He popped the question while down on one knee on the beach at sunset after we finished our picnic he had packed of bread, cheese, shrimp cocktail and wine. He even had the ring in a box that had a light shining down on it when opened so as it was getting dark, this amazing man was asking me to be his wife as he handed me a huge rock…Yes! Yes! Yes!
In 2005 we were married (I am biased but our wedding was absolutely amazing). By the end of 2005 we were new home owners. 2006-2009- we were both happily married, attached to our 3 cats and were focused on building our careers.
Giff and I got pregnant mid year 2009 with our first baby but what should have been one of the highlights of our life was soon distracted by the news I received at the doctor’s office.
The lump in my breast that had been dismissed the year before as nothing was now being diagnosed by a different doctor as breast cancer. Thankfully Giff is a persistent person and when we went in for our ultrasound (to hear our baby’s heartbeat) he brought up the request for testing to be done on the lump rather than dismissing it based on feeling it.
The going gets rough: Things began to move so quickly at that point, it was hard to breathe. I was 30, pregnant with my first child and going into surgery to remove breast cancer. I was about to go through what would be the worst year of my life. The plan had been discussed, we were going with the most aggressive regimen possible- double mastectomy, port surgically placed in my chest, chemotherapy, drug therapy and radiation. We also had to terminate the pregnancy. This cancer was estrogen positive and the hormones were actually feeding the cancer. That little angel whom was the cause of our going into the doctor saved my life.
Giff was my rock through every step…interviewing a team of the best doctors, memorizing which medicines I needed to take and when, driving me to chemotherapy and sitting next to me while I was so scared, telling me I was beautiful when I was bald, and so many other things…words cannot express. When you say your vows, in sickness and in health…you would never guess sickness of this magnitude at this age would be in the near future. In addition to this hardship, Giff’s dad died of a complicated prostate cancer the day we came home from my surgery. I could not hold my husband as he mourned for his dad because of the pain I was in from the mastectomy. How did Giff handle all of this pain at one time? How was he so strong for me? He is amazing. Giff’s dad was one of those people whom you naturally wanted to be around…his smile was contagious, his love for life was invigorating and he listened so intently when you talked in a conversation with him. He made you feel special. We think about him often and will miss him so much.
My family and friends were also by my side…my mom flying out from NY several times to help us with cooking and cleaning and holding my hand. It must be one of the most awful things in the world to watch your baby girl be diagnosed with breast cancer. My girlfriends also flew out to take care of me and help with anything they could. Other friends living closer would come by just to sit and talk or watch movies. There were so many cards, letters, flowers, cookies, and other gifts that came from all over the country. It’s amazing to have such great people in my life. In addition to my amazing circle of friends and family, there were the strangers with whom crossed our path. Whether it was a letter in the mail from a breast cancer survivor, the anesthesiologist who called Giff during my surgery crying happy tears that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, or our fertility doctor who promised to watch over our frozen embryos as if they were her own. There were so many small gestures that made such a big impact on our lives.
Looking at the bright side: Thankfully this was caught in stage 1, had it been caught a year prior by the first doctor I had gone into about the lump, it may have been caught at stage 0. Please learn from my lesson…insist the lump be tested – a lump cannot be diagnosed by touch. They were able to cut all the cancer out and after I finish the entire regimen including a pill I take over the next 5 years, they said there is a 95% chance the cancer will never come back.
Our exciting future: We’ve decided to re-prioritize, we are taking 400 days starting February 7th of 2011 to travel the world! We will travel to new places, eat new foods, taste new wines and meet new people. We will focus on healing ourselves both physically and mentally. This will be one of the best years of our lives.
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