Last night in Africa
The morning drive on July 5 gave sight to a beautiful rhino. We have found such respect for this animal over the years, and feel incredibly sad that to this day it is being hunted for its horn. On average 1.5 rhinos are killed a day, and it’s a constant game of cat and mouse to try to secure them from poachers. What seems to be most effective is to move them to hard to reach areas, which are far away from Kruger. With Mozambique so close to Kruger, these animals are high on the danger list and several are gone already. It’s a complex problem and there are high sums of money driving the risk the poachers take.
Most of what we saw on the morning and afternoon drive were things we had already been lucky to encounter, but we did come across a pack of five lions including an eight-months old cub. They were very lazy and were enjoying dozing off in the sun. We let them sleep before their yawns became contagious.
Some of the downtime was used to teach our ranger about the word “dish”. It was very successful and we worry about the next group he is taking out, as he is likely to say “there’s some dish over there” or “good dish” when leaving a great viewing spot. We know… it would take a lot of time to explain and it’s a terrible inside joke started by John.
During the afternoon drive the kids went to the local school and did art projects, but later joined everyone else for sundowner in their own vehicle. John had brought a bit of lighting equipment from California and shot family portraits in the sunset. Maybe the Christmas card photo is already secured…? If the pictures don’t turn out alright, it’s certainly not because of the setting.
We tried to forget that it was our last night together – and at this beautiful location. Some also tried to forget that we had not seen the elusive leopard despite setting out to find one, often crossing long distances. It therefore almost felt ironic that a leopard was spotted close to camp in the early evening. We all drove straight home hoping to get a glimpse. All got to see it and could not believe how big of a fellow he was. At the time we saw it, the sky was pitch black, but Mr. leopard didn’t seem to mind that the tracker used a flashlight to light up the grassy area where it was resting. It was great to see leopard for more than the one second some of the group got to see in Zimbabwe.
Dinner took place outside and we enjoyed having the rangers join us. It happens at some lodges, and it’s nice to relax with them and talk about something other than wildlife and nature. During dinner Sarah, Olivia and Chris got up to thank Adrian and Penny for their incredible generosity - obviously on behalf of all of us. The staff surprised them with birthday cakes - one each - accompanied by the local singing and dancing around the open fire pit. As usual the dancers in the family couldn’t resist joining and tried to follow both steps and words.