Today continued the trend of near perfection at our lodge- every opportunity for surprise, perfection, and flawlessness continues to be smashed out of the park.
We boarded the jeep for our final day with the family we’d been paired with and headed out right on time. We were introduced to the term ‘ferrari safari’ today as we’d often speed away in one direction or another when Kevin got a call about a specific sight that was worth seeing.
The morning was a very strong ride- we started off running into a large pod of hippos playing in the water. There were about 4-5 large hippos along with 2 baby hippos frolicking in the water which we enjoyed watching for quite a long time. We then moved on to track the pack of wild dogs and were hoping that they’d hunt down an animal. After getting to see the dogs, we were the third car to arrive (only three are allowed at once) but didn’t make it very long as the land-owner and his family pulled up and we were forced to leave.
We were making our way to look for some lions when we stumbled upon a large family of giraffe and watched them graze for a while. Next thing we knew, Kevin was off driving again and then all of a sudden we pulled off of the road and the lodge had set up a breakfast for us in the bush (another lovely surprise). They had the full breakfast spread (and a portable 2-unit bathroom) set up with four tables for everyone to enjoy. As we were the first jeep to arrive, it was really funny seeing the faces of the surprises as the other guests arrived.
We made our way back to the lodge and Debbie and I bought a few souvenirs from our trip with some items from the lodge. We changed into bathing suits and did some reading across the various sights of the property, both dozing off every once in a while and passing our 4-5 hour break in between rides.
We met back up with the group for lunch in the afternoon and in the middle of the meal, we looked up and noticed a herd of 20 elephants just on the out-skirts of the property. I may or may not have gotten a little talking to for getting too close to try to take a picture (note: i was 50 yards away) but there was no harm/no foul.
When we got in the car for the afternoon drive, we spent the first 30 minutes driving through this herd. There were at least 8 female elephants and their tiny baby elephants and a few males straddling behind them. They eat for nearly 20 hours a day and it was comical to watch them move from tree to tree to water source spraying themselves with mud/water in between snack sessions. We also learned that the baby elephants are actually the loudest and when they want to nurse from the mom, they scream and make noises (actually, the noise from the t-rex in Jurassic park is a baby elephant…)- you can imagine our surprise when we heard this noise, freaked out that we were in the danger zone, and Kevin explained what it was.
We then moved on for what was a tree-filled afternoon. First we found ourselves with the leopard up in the tree with its kill from earlier in the day- it’s amazing how these jungle cats can scale vertical trees as well as just sleep up there forever.
We ended the drive with watching the 3 baby lions from yesterday and their baby-sitter, a one-year old male, on the side of the road. Highlight of the day was when an elephant walked by behind us (5-10 yards) the lions all perked up and the three little cubs tried to hide. The first one dashed up a tree next to where it was sleeping, the second tried to follow suit but fell off trying to climb (they’re not leopards), and the third found a different tree and ended up 10-15 feet in the air. After the elephants went by, both tree-bound lions had quite the challenge getting down and they were about as graceful as a sumo wrestler trying to get resettled.
We returned and cleaned up and got ready for our second to last dinner. We’d seen the prior two spots- an outdoor buffet followed by our private table-side dinner and for the third night had a lovely seated / ordered meal by the main gate. We enjoyed telling stories of the past few days with our fellow jeep mates and discussed what we’d do without them tomorrow.
We said our goodbyes to our new friends and were excited to learn that tomorrow we’d likely have our own private jeep for both the morning and the afternoon session.
3 days down, 2 to go in this paradise…