I must be getting use to this 5am wakeup call because this morning I was out of bed, quick splash of water to the face and dressed ready to go by 5:15am. Our group met at the bar and off we went in search of the Cheetah we had seen, with it's kill, last night.
Within about 20 minutes Johan had located the Cheetah, this time with a full belly, resting on the top of a large anthill in a low grass paddock. From the size of his belly it was obvious that he'd eaten all of the kill.
This mornings drive, in terms of viewing, was full of wonderful experiences, over a 2.5 hour period here's what we sighted, along with the Cheetah;
- Buffalo (Herd of approx 400 animals)
- Lion Pride
- Crocodile (it was a long way away, too far for my lens)
- Hippo (also a long way away and they were all under water looking like a line of stepping stones in the water)
What a morning, kudos to Johan and Anios, so worth getting up at 5am for. Oh and in case we got lost there was a friendly sign telling us which way to go
There is a great barbeque or brei, as they call it in South Africa, area with a large log fire in the centre at the lodge. Not that we need a fire here as it's been in the high 30's for the last few day, hot but dry. Well a number of us thought it would be a good idea to have a barbeque one night and started lobbying for it, some using my upcoming 60th birthday as the motivating reason behind it. Well Llane, one of the Ulusaba General Managers, came up to me while I was trying to catch up on my blogs and she said that there was to be no more discussion on it and that it was being taken care of, hmmm I wonder what they are cooking up, I hope I get the barbeque!
As we headed off for lunch a lone Giraffe came down to the waterhole on the opposite side of the river from the lodge and I managed to get a shot of him, with legs splayed wide, so he could bend down far enough to get a drink.
It seems that no time has passed until we are out climbing back into the safari vehicles ready to head on out again. Once more we weren't disappointed and in order of viewing this is what we saw;
- South African Python
As we came across the Cheetah we could see that he was stalking some Impala that were grazing about 20 metres from him. Johan started maneuvering the safari vehicle to a better location so we could watch the Cheetah if the went for the kill. Trying to get the best position he pulled up alongside one of the many anthills in the area and to our utter surprise there was a 4.5 meter South African Python sunning itself on the anthill. We watched in amazement as the huge python slowly moved its way up the anthill and disappeared through a hole in the top of the anthill. Apparently the interior of the anthill is a constant 27˚ C and it provides an ideal home for the snakes.
- Elephant Herd ( approximately 40 elephants including several baby ones)
We didn't get to see the kill, as something spooked the Impala and they took off, we followed them for a while but it was getting dark so Johan suggested we head to the Sand River for some sundowners (the African term for a beer or champagne at sundown). After all the dusty dry roads, dried riverbeds it's incredibly refreshing to come across some water. All of the trees are suddenly green and full and there is bird life everywhere. We even got to see fireflies along the riverbank once the sun had set.
- Flap-Neck Chameleons (we saw 2 but it was dark and hard to photograph)
So after the most incredible day, where we had seen so much it was back to the lodge for dinner and then a well deserved good nights sleep.