Today is our very last safari drive in South Africa! It has been such an amazing experience and quite frankly one you really need to do for yourself.
After seeing an elephant, and both a spotted and brown hyena this morning…we wanted to get our lion fix for the day so drove deep into the bush where the mother and two cubs had been feasting. Sure enough, they were still there and this time, the young male lion was eating from the carcass and the young female lion we had seen at the lake was also there. The cubs were adorable as always and the two lionesses were relaxing while the male ripped the flesh from the dead kudu.
There were other jeeps that had people wanting to see the lions so we left and continued driving…we saw a couple rhino’s. One of them was particularly happy today…We had never seen a rhino’s penis before…ummmmm, it was very large!! After taking some pictures since we know you want to see the happy rhino too, we drove to a new area which also had a nice lake and mountainous background…there were two more rhino’s munching away at the grass.
We continued to drive over to a very flat open field area and saw various herds of grazing animals all over the place…wildebeast, impalas, Springbok and zebra. We slowed down for a bit enjoying the scene and then continued our drive under the warm sun. We saw another Giraffe and he had birds on him, the ranger explained how it is a mutually beneficial relationship. The birds eat the parasites off the giraffe’s skin/hair which is obviously good for the giraffe to not have so many parasites weakening him. Interesting huh?
We stopped for a coffee, realizing it was our last coffee break on a safari in Africa. It has been such a treat to be out in the bush watching the wild animals roam around their territories. After our coffee break, we watched a couple of male impalas fighting, heads down and horns locked. The ranger explained the males fight for dominance in the herd, the males that establish the dominance…control the territory. They push out the bachelor males and do everything they can to keep the females from leaving.
On the drive back to the lodge, we saw two turtles, a bunch of grasshoppers and more impalas. We arrived back at our place where we ate breakfast and got our things packed. Our flight wasn’t until early evening so we were able to relax at the lodge during the day before the jeep brought us to the landing strip. When we arrived, the small private plane we have flown in on was waiting for us on that dirt road in the middle of the bush. We thanked our ranger, got our bags loaded and sat in the very front seat of the plane…right behind the pilots. There was no curtain or door dividing the pilots from us…we could see all their buttons and levers. The plane took off as we stared down at the bush we had just explored over the last five days.
We flew only a few minutes to the other side of the reserve to pick up the rest of the passengers and then we were off to the airport watching the Madikwe Reserve stay behind as we moved forward. The plane ride was bumpy as it was on the way here, and a totally different experience to ride on a little propeller plane compared to the big commercial planes. It was like we were really floating on the air, which I guess is what we were doing!
We arrived back at the airport and waited around for our flight out of South Africa…tonight we will fly to Amsterdam for a 24 hour layover before arriving in Argentina!! South Africa was one of our favorite countries to visit so far…they have the beautiful wine country, the gorgeous Cape Town area and of course the safari experience. After spending time at two different lodges in the Madikwe Reserve, we decided Rhulani Lodge was the best one…the food was better, there were no kids at the lodge and we liked the ranger…it was more of an intimate experience as oppose to the Impodimo Lodge. Although we had fun at their lodge too and the experience of having the elephants come right up to the pool was so cool. We did a lot of safari drives to make sure we saw everything, but we think 3-4 days is a good amount of time.
The days were long and the mornings were early over the past 5 days so we should sleep well on the red-eye tonight!