Another very windy and cold start to the 6.30 ride out, this meant of course that many of the animals where hiding away. We actually saw a part of the Elephant herd together with their 3 week old baby. Daniel was telling us over the warming hot chocolate stop, that he elephants are lead always by the matriarch. She controls where the herd goes, when they stop to eat and where, when they stop to rest at night, where they drink etc. I think that my thought was, that is exactly like real life !

9th October 2016 9

When we got back for breakfast, Joan and I took our time and lazed around with our books until the weather changed quite quickly into a sunny afternoon. We went up to the restaurant for the first time to have lunch, because we had felt that breakfast, lunch and a 3 course dinner was too much every day. So then we wandered around the area for a little while and especially went down to the jetty that sticks out into the lake. You can go fishing here, they supply you with all the gear and like everything else here it is all inclusive, but you are warned that the hippos have been known to come down to this lake. Daniel had told us early on that hippos are the biggest killers in Africa, so not a place to go swimming.

9th October 2016 2

It was still windy so once again the animals were hiding away, you always see plenty of Impalas and Warthogs, but even they are quite wary in the wind and constantly on the look out. One of the other rangers had spotted two Buffalo and via the radio contact we were able to locate them. There is only a small herd of them on this reserve and although we saw them I was not able to get a picture as they where off like greased lightening the moment they saw us.

We got back around 7 pm as we all agreed that there were not too many animals out and about so we both had a quick shower and were escorted down to dinner for 8.30. That is when the fun stated. Because the ride outs had been cut short by the weather most people had opted for the early dinner, so by the time we got to the restaurant we found ourselvces in the extension bit. This is very nice, on a wooden slated floor with a central wood burner for warmth. There were a few more couples in there with us and the young lady on the next table spotted one of the rangers, who are always around, and said I think I hear something under this raised floor area. This lady ranger went peering under the floor with her powerful torch, came rushing back in to us, closed the doors quickly and said, "there is a leopard underneath". At this the leopard came out from under the floor and laid down on the walkway to our lodges, right outside the restaurant door.

Leopard SA. 10th October 2016

This guy clearly had no intension of going any place soon, he just laid his head down to rest. The manegeress on duty contacted all the other rangers who were by now up in the staff village and they were all able to get down to the main area and have a conference about what to do. There were by now eight of us trapped in the bar/restaurant area as they were able to escort the people from lodges 1 to 4 back to there places. One family, in lodge 8, next to our lodge, never made it to dinner at all that night. The decision was taken to let it bide it's own time and hopefully it would wander off, but it was essential that they kept an eye on it to be sure it had gone away. Whilst all this was going on we were supplied with blankets, drinks of any sort and comfy settees to lie on. Eventually we were given the message that he had moved firstly to outside number 7 and then to the front garden area of number 9, our lodge. At about 1.30 am he wandered off, but they were not quite sure where to. Finally one of the directors came down, with a rifle over his shoulder and we were all escorted, single file by him and the rangers down to our rooms. A bit of a late night, some unexpected excitment and no more complaints from us that we had not seen a leopard yet !!!!

 

 

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