Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mhondoro Game Lodge, Welgevonden. Game drive sightings.


Photo:
Time to head out on an early morning game drive.
Sleeping in, for me, is NOT an option when at a game lodge...
The only time that I do not get on a vehicle,
is if it is raining...I don't want to see wet Impala.

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The game drive vehicle is on of the cleanest I have ever been in
and the arrival/departure "platform" makes it easy to get into
or out of the Landcruiser.

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A female Waterbuck and her off-spring.
The open area in front of the lodge seemed to attract Waterbuck
in large numbers...as well as a variety of other plains game.

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This bush offered the only colour in a currently dusty and drab landscape.
And what does this Cheetah do?
He decides to use it for scent marking.

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Our ranger Evan and Steve from Kololo
off looking for lion on an early drive.
Were they successful?
On this occasion, they returned without a sighting.
Myself and the two Danish guests on the vehicle were focussed
on the the guides...so focussed in fact that we failed to notice...


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This bull White Rhino that had stepped into the road behind us!

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This is what he thought of us being in his "domain"...

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Aside from the fact that he was enormous, he was also very relaxed.
We had found him on an earlier game drive and were able to
sit quietly while he got this close to us.

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"YOU OWE ME MONEY"!
I learned a new fact on this trip...
Don't try to identify a buffalo by the size of its scrotum!
We found this fellow on an evening drive as well as again
during our early morning excursion.
Suffice to say that there was a distinct variance in size of said appendage.
Our ranger Evan and I quickly came to the conclusion
that ear condition or horn size is by far a more accurate way.

Photo:
Africa's largest antelope, the Eland.
Literally able to jump fences in a single bound.

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A beautiful zebra in the fading afternoon light

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The identification of this female African Stone Chat
fooled me for a moment.

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A Natal Spur-Fowl...
Checking us out with attitude.

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A first for me...
A Denham's Bustard.

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A Cape Glossy Starling

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The lodge has the cleanest vehicles...

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Experienced rangers are be able to take guests on trail walks.

If you have never participated in this activity,
it will give you a totally different perspective of the bush and its inhabitants.

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We did a wonderful, if somewhat strenuous walk
 looking for elephants...

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Did we find them?
No...but we found a LOT of this

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This is a Rock Hyrax, commonly known as a Dassie.
What is its closest living relative?
Does the Latin name, Procavia capensis, hold a clue?
Maybe not.

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This is the answer...
The African Elephant, is the closest living relative to the Dassie.
Believe it or not!

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Gather close children and I will tell you story of the Ranger and the Lion.
Once upon a time there was a Game Ranger called Evan.
He was a very good ranger, in fact he was one of the best in the land.
He was so good that if he set his mind to it, he could find almost ANY 
animals that his guests desired (He did admit that he struggled with Pangolin)
On this particular game drive Evan was looking for a Lion,
who we all know is the King of the Jungle
and a very clever cat...
Evan went off to search high and low, leaving his guests in the vehicle...
Suddenly there was a roaring so loud that the three guests were shaken to the core.
But they were not afraid, as Evan came dashing back to make certain they were safe.
Although we had heard the Lion, we still could not see him,
so off  Evan went yet again, this time in the direction of the vocalization.
Time went by and eventually Evan was spotted "sauntering" up the road...
with the lion behind him!
"The lion is behind you" a chorus of voices shouted to him from the vehicle.
Evan thought that the guests were playing a prank...
"LOOK BEHIND YOU"...
and at this point Evan did look, only to see that the Lion had indeed 
"followed" him onto the road.
The story has a happy ending.
Evan returned safely to the vehicle and the lion
padded up the road and came to lie less than 20m from our vehicle.
And that children is what is called a successful game drive.

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There is nothing more special that getting THIS close
to the "King of the Jungle"...
A wonderful way to end off an evening game drive.

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Time for sundowners and some wonderful home made snacks.
I can HIGHLY recommend the crisps!


Photo:
http://www.mhondoro.com

 Friendly and efficient staff who have a passion for their customers.
Based on my experiences over the past few months
and in five different cities, I highly recommend them.
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to "Travel & Things"

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