Monday, March 13, 2017

Samara Private Game Reserve, a return visit,(Part 3)

Samara Private Game Reserve is unlike most of the Gauteng based reserves that I visit regularly.
Vast open plains and an achingly beautiful sky forms part of the overall experience.
Here a group of international guests enjoy a drink as the sun starts to set.

Getting from the valley to the top of the hill is NOT for the faint-hearted.
That being said, our ranger, Jan, was an expert at getting us up...
and down again without any problems.
Come and ride along...
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After that steep climb,
Ranger Jan cracked out the coffee....and the Amarula!
Most International tourists do not know what that particular beverage might be,
but by the time they leave they do...
and they will probably purchase a bottle (or two) at duty-free.

My wife, trying out her recently acquired tracking skills?
Not really, she was just taking a closer look at the vegetation,
which is very different from what we are used to in Gauteng and the Northern provinces

And speaking of vegetation,
you have to admit that the vistas here at Samara are something really special.
Look carefully and you might just see the herd of Red Hartebeest 
that are making their way to their overnight grazing

And finally...
After 3 days of searching we get to find the latest addition to Samara,
a young male Cheetah named Shadow.
It took a while for me to get him looking straight at me.
Not matter where I positioned myself, he was always peering off into the distance...
in the opposite direction.
We were trying to find the cubs that Chilli had recently given birth to,
but we searched in vain.
To read more about the project that is being conducted on the property:

Lots of puddles have formed, caused by the recent welcome rain.
And, lo and behold, we discovered a turtle in one of them.
Where do these reptiles come from?
 No one seems to know, 
but they do have a knack of finding a water source.

A large battle was found here during the Anglo-Boer Wars.
This is the original farmhouse that stands on the farm adjacent to Samara.

Not a sight that you normally see in the Northern game reserves of South Africa.
A large herd of Black Wildebeeste.

Another species only found in the Eastern Cape.
Mountain Zebra.
One of two species that are found in South Africa,
this one seems to be making a comment.

True love?
Everyone needs to share a sunset...

Here is the gnu's...
Or in this case, the Gnu.

Something not seen often.
A Secretary Bird on a nest.

A herd of Gemsbok thunder across the plain in the fading light.

Another family group making their way home.
These Red Hartebeeste are a species that is as plentiful as Impala are in the Northern reserves.

The largest antelope on the African continent,
The Eland.
Despite their size, males, like this one, which can weigh in from 400-1000kg,
  can leap regular fences with ease.
An interesting fact:
 They can be domesticated,
and their milk can be used for human consumption.

My wife watching the sunset,
with a sundowner...

Guests are able to go for "unaccompanied" walks as there are not predators on the property.
Although there are Cheetah and Black-backed Jackals,
neither species has ever been known to attack humans.
On one such walk with my wife, I discovered this...
A millipede in a colour variation that I have not seen before.
The usual colouring for this insect is a dark brown/black.
Perhaps this was the limited "Ferrari" edition?

These young Vervet Monkeys looked on as we strolled past.
I am not certain who was watching who,
or which species was the most curious...
them or my wife and me.

Showing what a Landcruiser can do...
Ranger Jan takes my wife through a stream.

There is beauty wherever you look...
One cannot be bored on a game drive.
If it is not the sky or the fauna,
then it is the flora that will capture your attention.
Photo:
This is the review that my wife wrote on Trip advisor:
"Samara is very special. We stayed in the beautiful old farmhouse (Karoo Lodge) that has 4 spacious bedrooms and a wrap around veranda. Beautiful mountain views and scenery that is hauntingly beautiful. The vegetation is different from the other game reserves (such as Kruger Park, Madikwe etc). The game viewing is not typical of safaris, sometimes guests will need to drive all the way up to the top of the surrounding mountains to see herds of mountain zebra, gemsbok, wildebeest and so forth. Cheetah tracking was fun and its the luck of the draw that you come across these beautiful creatures. We found one on our 3rd day , thank to the perseverance of our ranger Jan.
Cheetah were last seen over 125 years ago and by reintroducing them, they seem to have flourished.
Samara is not recommended for those who want to see the BIG 5 , rather this is for seasoned safari travellers who have been there and done it, and just want a different experience. 
I just loved Samara.The staff are truly incredible warm and friendly . 
The food is simple and delicious, and it is truly a balm for the tired soul.
It is a 3 hour drive from Port Elizabeth and at least 3 nights is advised.
 I look forward to returning to see what else has been achieved. The land was bought 20 years ago and 11 farms taken down , and all the foreign vegetation and fences were removed.
The land was allowed to rest for 10 years for the natural vegetation to grow back . A definite must do for those who love nature and to see what can be given back to the land and the community" .
To find out more about what this property has to offer,
visit their website:
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