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Wildlife nocturnal adrenalin rush!!!

Tracker knocked on our door at 5.15am to wake us for the morning safafri. We were to be at the lodge by 5.45am for tea, coffee & rusks before setting out in the dark. It was so VERY cold today – freezing face & running nose. I had 5 layers on & a blanket wrapped around me & was so cold & had to hide my face from the wind at times.

Drove around for ages looking for the lions – could see their prints & the trackers got off again to walk cross country where we couldn't drive. After much driving yours truly was the first one to spot them & it was a spride of 14 lions!!!! 11 of them were cubs, 3 females & the dominant male was not to be seen. This is the largest pride that has been in Kruger for years as most prides are only 4 - 8 lions.

It was an amazing sight & not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. They were huge, with massive paws & so beautiful. Some of them had blood on them from the kill they had recently done. All had full bellies except one of the females who was still on the look out for prey. Not sure how I felt being around a still hungry lion!!!They walked behind our car & looked at us & just kept going. We kept following them & getting in front of their route so they had to walk past us again. Sooo cool!!! They were standing still at one point & sniffing out a prey further down the hill. Then we spotted the prey ourselves which was a rhino just in front of us. When they realized it was a rhino they lost interest & went in another direction. The rhino would get a little upset at us if they car was running but was OK when it was turned off. It would kick up some dirt & square off to face us. Again vey cool. Got some great close pictures of him as well. He was a massive tank!!

Around the next corner were 3 giraffe – 2 females & a baby of 2 months. The baby was so cute & fascinated with us. It would get all skittish & do a little dance & then look at us again. The mother gives birth standing up & the baby falls 5 feet out to the ground!!!

Back home for a buffet breafast with eggs made to order. Again sitting on the balcony overlooking the Olifant river – such a relaxing & restful setting listening to the wind in the trees & the sound of the river rapids.

We met Eric the tracker for our exporatory walk at 10.30am. We ended up being out for 2 hours & went up the hillside first & learnt about some of the plants & trees. Got more exciting as we started to see animal tracks - yep lions right near our rooms!!!! We headed down to the riverbanks hoping to see hippo & crocodile. We traipsed through thick bamboo forests & along pretty river scenery with big white rocks & the clear water of the river running downstream. We were passing hippo poo & flattened areas where they had laid as well as elephant, baboon, buffalo & lion tracks along the river’s snady banks. We saw a crocodile slide into the river from a sand island upstream & saw big crococodile drag marks quite a long way from the water. Hoping not to run into one of those!!!

It was so exhilarating & then we found 3 hippos in the water. They can stay under water for 15 minutes & they would just pop up have a look at us & then go back down. Was hoping for them to open their mouth & bellow but didn't happen.... just popping his head up to spy!!!

The afternoon safari was another great time with the highlight being coming across the same pride of lions where they had been sleeping all day & watch them in their cute sleepy state. They came very close to us for a look & then were just lazy & playful & lay around on top of each other. The mamma one lay down & then one by one 4 of her 3 year olds came up & gave her a lion kiss of respect & then lay right beside her for a snuggle. Another one would come along & sit on top of one of the siblings to be closer to Mum & then just play wrestle. It was so cute to watch. All the males will be kicked out of the pack in the next 3 months & have to finfd another pride to join or hang out together. Both Mamma & Dadda will kick them out

Next we passed 3 giraffes again just on dark.

Dinner was a curry impala & amarilla pudding. Both were so good. Impala tasted a bit like beef & is known as jungle maccas or fast food for lions. After dinner you have to be escorted back to your room with one of the trackers. We were waiting for the tracker & were then told we couldn't walk back as a bull elephant was between our cabin & the one before. They would take us back along the road & then we could try & walk in from that direction. We were freaking out ( well Leigh & I were... Leigh was doing her stressed out scared laughing & I was telling her to be quiet!!)

We couldn't drop off Mark & Leigh as we could hear the elephant breaking trees near their cabin, so Brad & I were dropped off first. Then the tracker said there was also a lion & a hyena out as well!!! Poor Leigh started freaking & Mark nearly had to drag her home.

Brad sat on the balcony for an hour trying to see the elephant as all you could dear was the sound of breaking trees. I sat in a bath with all the lights out in absolute thick pitch black darkness listening from the bath & looking out the full size window hoping to catch a glimpse of him while admiring Gods handiwork of thousands of bright gleaming stars. It was a sight & moment to behold!!!!

Young male

Young male


Aren't they beautiful

Aren't they beautiful


Eric our tracker

Eric our tracker


Elephant footprint

Elephant footprint


MOre Elephant footprints

MOre Elephant footprints


On the riverwalk

On the riverwalk


Lions passing a car

Lions passing a car


Rhino up close & personal

Rhino up close & personal


Zebra

Zebra


Lunch on the lodge verandah

Lunch on the lodge verandah


Leigh on exploring walk

Leigh on exploring walk


Crocodile drag mark

Crocodile drag mark


Lion Prints

Lion Prints


Brad in his " bad"safari look

Brad in his " bad"safari look


Hippo in the Olifantos river

Hippo in the Olifantos river


Mamma lion

Mamma lion


Mamma lion finishing a yawn

Mamma lion finishing a yawn


Sleep time right beside us

Sleep time right beside us


Rhino

Rhino


Zebra remains

Zebra remains


Mamma yawning

Mamma yawning


Sunset time

Sunset time


Every day the sunset looks different

Every day the sunset looks different


Ranger Sean with the gun & rhino looking at us

Ranger Sean with the gun & rhino looking at us


Sean with Giraffe vertebrae

Sean with Giraffe vertebrae


Giraffe jaw

Giraffe jaw

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in South Africa

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