Woke up early and got prepared for the morning’s activity, game walk! Breakfast would be served after we returned from the walk. The morning was chilly and so we wore quite a few layers of clothing. The guide did a briefing on the dos and don’ts of game walk, which was a different set of rules compared to the game drive, on how to stand and how to react. He also carried a rifle just in case. Soon we were on our way trekking into the wild.
Shortly after leaving the entrance, we saw some footprints and the guide goes on to explain that they look like hyena footprints, what were the footprints of the various animals, how to determine if the footprints were fresh or not, etc. Interesting info…
We continued and saw a few impalas, too common for us to even bother with shooting them (with a camera of course). Then we reached a pile of coffeebean size poop. The guide picked them up goes on to explain that the poop belonged to impalas and how these were like business cards to attract the female species for mating. Interesting info again.
As we moved along, we were introduced to giant termite hills, abandoned ones and also on chewed bones left over from a fallen prey and hyena’s bone chewing habits and how their poop turned out to be white. Still searching for the big 5 until comms came in to inform us of a rhino sighting. Then we were on the move, quickly to the location stake out the rhino!
After some really quick pace walking, it became really hot and we had to take off the multiple layers of warm clothings that we wore, something to learn again for walks which were really different from drives. We came to another tall abandoned termite hill and waited there in anticipation for the rhino’s arrival. It was estimated that the rhino would be crossing our line of sight from the various info that the guide gathered from the comms. Time ticked away and after waiting for some 10mins or so, a greyish silhouette appeared amongst the trees in the far. We were told to keep absolutely quiet and to avoid sudden movement in order not to alarm the rhino, for fear of it charging at us. The wind was in our favour – rhino could also pick up our scent if the wind was blowing towards the rhino instead. There were also birds that eat off pests on the rhino’s hide and these feathered friends would give a good indication if there was presence of potential danger by flying off and indirectly alarming the rhino. At some point in time, the rhino actually stood still to listen for us as the birds initially flew off. They returned to rest on him after a while and he started to move off again.
As the rhino moved, we also started to move to another location. We had to take a longer route in order not to pass the path of the rhino but it was not too difficult. As he started to move into the open, we could see how massive yet beautiful this animal was. Unfortunately illegal poaching for their horns was forcing them to become endangered. Good thing that there weren’t such activities in the national park. Soon it was time to return to camp for breakfast and some rest. 2 of the 5s, if this continued, we would eventually see all the 5, I thought.
After breakfast, our fellow traveller friend told us that we could actually see a waterhole from the safari. He then brought us around the camp, which we did not know that was so much bigger than our own tents, to a deck that was overlooking the waterhole. Immediately we saw an animal which we initially thought was a buffalo! Quickly we rushed back to our tents to get our equipment and camera. Wildebeest. Oh well.
This deck was actually property of the reserve owners and there were a few other buildings there that belonged to the owner. The family was not in during that period of time but the owner would come back to the reserve for a getaway if they would like to.
We walked around the compound for a little more and saw a family of velvet monkeys infiltrated the compound and running around and feeding. Hopefully they wouldn’t come to our tents!
We returned to our tents and was informed by the guide that previously when the camp was empty, a leopard came into the camp and got one of the monkeys. There were furs left on the ground which the leopard would remove before feasting on their catch. Scary thought. What’s left of the morning was spent lazing in the tent where I caught a nap before it was time for lunch and day game drive!
We wore appropriately after the first game drive the day before. With much enthusiasm and optimism, we left. Usual sightings of the herbivores as usual, and then we saw something different – a group of zebras. Spent a few minutes watching them eat and also some info on the zebras, we continued.
More driving around and suddenly we saw an elephant on the track in front of us. As our vehicle slowly approached, more and more elephants were revealed amongst the trees – a family herd of elephants!
Spent a good amount of time shooting the elephants before we move on. Soon it was time for the sunset break at the same location the day before.
Drove around and saw the Dagga boys that we passed on the first day of arrival. We have seen 4 of the big by now.
Night arrive together with the cold. Same arrangements, drove around but different sightings. We saw alot of activities tonight, zebras, rhinos, elephants and even silhouette of giraffes moving. Wonderful sight but not for the camera to capture.
Dinner tonight was BBQ kebab. We only had to do the eating, superb service!
A little conversation around the camp fire and we retired for the night. Checked with the guide on the hot water and when she checked, she found that the water supply was not turned on! The servants must have forgotten to turn them on before. At least we had hot water for the night! Packed our luggages as we were to move to the camp outside the reserve for our Kruger Park drive the next day and then it was lights off.