Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An Adventure of a Lifetime, Part 2

I last left you as we were getting ready to board our Land Rovers to head to our lodge, Lion Sands, in the Kruger National Park.

We were all so exited at our first wildlife sighting. Much more exciting viewings were to happen.

In order to get to our lodge, we had to go over this bridge, The Sober Bridge. Joe, our ranger and driver, told us it was so named because you need to be sober to drive over it.

Off to  our right, look what we spotted in the water--a hippopotamus!

Excitement was mounting as we approached the lodge where we were to stay for two nights.

This is the main building. Our "hut" was to the right.

This was our "hut". We were told that after dark we should call the office and ask for an escort from our room to the main facility because of the animals (sometimes leopards!) that roam the area.

And see what was right outside of our window! We were warned to make sure our windows were closed when we left because the monkeys like to come into the rooms and thoroughly enjoy themselves.

After settling in, we went on our first game drive with Ranger Joe and Lucas, our tracker. Lucas' seat is actually attached to the front of the Land Rover. Lucas is one of four Master Trackers in the whole world.  Weren't we lucky to end up with him? 

Here are some of the highlights of our first couple of game drives.

We quickly learned that monkeys can be a nuisance at lunch on the deck at the lodge.

We had to threaten the monkeys with a slingshot (don't worry, we weren't allowed to shoot anything, it was just a threat) in order to try to keep the them from grabbing food off the tables. Generally all you need to do was to show the slingshot to the monkeys, and off they would run. If the sight of a slingshot didn't work, the staff had an air gun handy (it shot only air), and that certainly served its purpose.

Here's Tom with the slingshot.

I wish I had taken a video of the monkeys making off with dinner rolls from our table.

Late afternoon we headed off again in search of more animals.

I couldn't get over the size of the termite mounds!

We certainly weren't  roughing it. During the late afternoon/early evening drives, Joe would stop at a scenic safe spot, and we would climb out of the Land Rovers for drinks and appetizers. These events were called "sundowners".

Later we took an off-road excursion when Lucas learned there was a leopard nearby on the other side of the river.

Lucas heard that there were lions nearby, so we set off to try to find them, but first he had to help Joe get our vehicle back on the road.

Whew! We made it there in time to see this...

We did four drives at our first lodge before heading off to another lodge, Sabi Sabi, for more drives and more adventures. be continued.


Vera said...

Wow Ellen - what an amazing trip you and Tom had! Your pictures are so wonderful. I love seeing all the different animals. Can't wait for your future posts!!

marly said...

Wow. Except for those little monkey brats, what a fabulous adventure.

Ma, Herself said...

Oh Ellen, what a joy it was to see the pics, I am awe struck by the closeness to the animals! I am so glad that you are having such an amazing trip...and what an experience!
Stay safe and enjoy enjoy enjoy!

Terri said...

WOW! You got some amazing pictures! My favorites are the big cats! Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

Vickie said...

This is fascinating.I shared this post with our 16 year old daughter.

woolwoman said...

Tom sure looked the part of the great hunter, bet the kids got a kick out of him with that slingshot. beautiful photos of the South coast. I'm surprised you did that gondola ride - I sure wouldn't have. Amazing shots of the animals. Looks all too close to me but I'm sure zoom lenses were used. Can't wait to see more. Mel

Robin said...

Omgosh. You always do such a fabulous job sharing your adventures. Such fabulous photos. The way you capture and write about it all is wonderful. Eagerly awaiting the next part of your journey!

Margaret said...

How amazing is this trip you took! Wow! You must have felt like you were on a nature show. I love seeing everything, and seeing where you stayed, and how you roughed it. lolol! I'm looking forward to seeing more!

Marilyn said...

What an amazing trip.
The pics are breathtaking.

Melody said...

Thanks for sharing your amazing trip with us! How cool to see the wild animals up close. I bet your husband was thrilled at the chance to photograph them.

Annette-California said...

Oh my goodness! My heart was racing looking at every photo. WOW WOW WOW! I loved every photo. All the animals in every photo is amazing. And those favorite, sure I'm saying that sitting at my computer safe & sound. LOL!!! I am so happy for Ellen that you got to go.
love Annette