Day 16 Londolozi – South Africa Day 2
We were woken up at the butt crack…a lizard just ran past me in our room…of dawn, 5:30am. Robby knocked us up with a fresh pot of coffee and some small breakfast biscuits. We left for our morning game drive at 6am. It was still dark out, the sun had yet to rise. It was quite chilly first thing in the morning. It did not start to warm up until we were back and having breakfast. It is wintertime here, they apparently had snow in JNB last week. It was all anyone could talk about. We watched the sun rise from the drive. It was glorious. I know this place isn’t a zoo, the animals are not in captivity, and they are free to come and go from the Londolozi and Sabi Sands area. There is something about it that still feels like a work. I know it is tremendously dangerous, but it doesn’t feel like that. The land rovers are always here following and watching. The animals know there is no threat from the noisy diesel powered machines that roam the landscape. That is why the guides can drive right up onto a couple lionesses and five cubs sleeping and nobody flinches. Something about that just doesn’t feel right. But because of this conditioning we are lucky enough to be able to watch the animals in their natural environment. The humans do not get involved at all. So far we have seen animals while they are being lazy or napping, but able to see them nonetheless. Jules is great. He is able to tell us about every animal. Not just the animal in general but specific animals. Since they see and follow the same animals from time to time, they actually name and track the families. They know that a certain lion is the son of another lion, that used to live north of here, but is now in Sabi Sands, it went to grammar school with the gay baboon and Tim the albino zebra…you get the picture. We saw hippos mating in a pond this morning. The weirdest part of that was after the pair were identified as mating, a third hippo popped out from below the surface of the water next to the mating couple. I’m not judging anyone, just saying.
We were lucky enough to ride both last night and this morning with the most pleasant couple, Jay and Nicki. They live in JNB now but are originally from the states, Chicago and Milwaukee. They moved to South Africa back in the 90’s after falling in love with it here. She has a safari tour operating company, www.exclusivelyafrica.com, and he is a maritime lawyer, defending pirates and whatnot. Having them with us for our first safaris was one of the most fortuitist things to ever happen for us. They know so much and were very chatty and helpful in several ways. The were indispensible for information, etiquette, and enjoying the overall experience. Talk about a small world, Nicki’s sister lives right around the corner from Bradford on the same lake is Cheesetown. That is ridiculous. It is enough to believe this world is not real and some type of program or game that is being played by an overall game master…Truman Show town. The only sad part is that I had to beat Jay at my first ever dung spitting contest. He has had years of practice and I came along and destroyed him. Apparently I am the new world champion of dung spitting…yes, dung spitting, it is exactly what it sounds like. We have been told that the absolute best time to go on safari in Africa is the end of August. Imagine our luck. Who would have thunk it. Thanks American legal system!
We took a walk to the gift shop they have here at Londolozi. When we opened our front door there were two bushbucks nibbling away at our front garden. Then during the walk we saw a cluster of vervet monkeys monkeying around. One that was on the highest branch of the tree almost shat upon Wifey.
This afternoon’s game drive was absolutely stellar. There is currently no one else staying here in our camp so we had a private drive today, just the two of us with Julius and Eckson. Talk about being lucky and living in luxury. It is amazing how drastically the temperature changed here today. Cold this morning, long sleeve and pants, and then super hot, Africa hot, this afternoon. And this is their wintertime. First thing we stumbled upon was a lady giraffe. I know this because they have smaller horns and still have tufts of hair on the top. The hair is still there because they don’t do any horn fighting. Next we scouted out some crocodiles and watched them sun bathe for a bit. We saw so many elephants today, too many to count. Mostly mommy elephants with their babies. Elephants only have one baby at a time like humans. Then another pond where we saw a bunch of hippos clustered together. It looked like the beginning of a hippopotamus rugby game scrum. After we giggled at the hippos for a while we saw what I believe was our first rhinoceros. I recently learned that the horn on their heads is not a bone but actually tightly wound hair. However I forgot that fact when tested by Jules and looked like an idiot according to Wifey. The ornamentals are apparently poaching the rhinos because they think that the horn hair is an aphrodisiac. Bunch of weirdos. The rhino started running. Running rhinos are hysterical. They are so giant that it looks fake. It looks like two men in a rhino suit that can’t get coordinated trying to run away from a ghost in a cartoon. Seeing most of these animals do anything looks faked to me. It is both so natural and unnatural at the same time. Natural for them, yet nothing like anything I have ever seen before. So it all looks fake, like people in suits or the robot animals at Showtime Pizza. We had the best time today. I think my newest calling in life is to be a wildlife photographer. I know it is a long shot but with enough practice I think I could get good.
We came home tonight after the evening drive to a surprise from Londolozi. When we got into the room there was a beautiful note explaining we would be having a private dinner tonight outside on our deck. Then the letter was surrounded in rose petals that fell to the floor and started a trail of rose petals through our entire room and into the bath. In there was a hot drawn bubble bath all ready for us. Absolutely the most amazing treatment we have ever experienced anywhere else on the planet. It caused my wanner to get buckbushed.
A select few pictures here.