After signing forms that absolved Ulusaba of any liability, in case we get eaten or trampled by the wildlife, we were into the safari vehicle and on our way.
After about a 10 minute ride through the bush we pulled up at the gates of the Safari Lodge and were greeted by James who gave us a tour of the lodge and showed us to our room. Even though we had booked one of the Elephant rooms we found ourselves being shown to the larger River room.
The River rooms are close to the main lodge and consist of a large room with a huge bed and mosquito net canopy, a couple of comfy chairs, and a small desk, oh and a complementary mini bar. There’s a big on-suite bathroom with freestanding tub, big shower and twin sinks in a rustic handmade cabinet.
Lunch was being served so we had just a few minutes to put some of our gear away, throw on the shorts and a t-shirt and head to the outdoor dining area.
A couple of things to remember about Ulusaba; 1. The bar is always open and the drinks are free, 2. The food is superb and it just keeps coming, 3. You have to get up at 5am to go safari!
So after a couple of glasses of wine, a superb roast beef sandwich with kick ass horseradish sauce, we were told that the evening safari would be leaving at 4:30pm and we should meet at 4:15. After the excitement of the day, the wine, the food all I wanted to do was get some sleep, but safari is what we have come for so at 4:30pm sitting proud in the jeep we left the lodge.
We had another couple with us, Steve and Julia, who really wanted to see the African Wild Dogs, so that was our primary mission. The wild dogs are quite rare and apparently there are only approximately 3,000 - 5,000 left in the wild.
As we headed out we passed a couple of young male elephants, some vultures, a Waterbuck ...
... and a hippo all alone in a water hole.
With all of the rangers communicating via wireless it didn't take us long to find the wild dogs and there was a pack of about 8 including females and some young pups.
As the dogs headed back into the bush Johan took us on an incredible off road experience following the pack as they roamed for food. At one stage we lost them for about ten minutes but finally caught up with them. However they had stopped roaming and were settling in for the night.
We left them and headed off for a spot where we could enjoy a "Sundowner" and watch our first sunset in the bush.
Finally it was back to the lodge just in time for pre-dinner drinks followed by a wonderful dinner at a long table with all of the lodges visitors.
I'm told that the phone will ring at 5am, and that we are to meet near the bar by 5:30 for coffee and a snack prior to leaving on our morning safari. So more about the lodge and are encounters in the veldt tomorrow.