For the last three days we have been "on safari" in the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserves. We had a fantastic time.
On Sunday we drove from Richards Bay to the Nyalazi Gate between the two Game Reserves. We spent much of the day driving around the iMfolozi reserve and saw much more game than we expected. Best was seeing an elephant and several giraffe up close, and seeing a pair of cheetahs at a distance.
|They're not joking|
|Entrance signage in full|
|View over the all-but dry Black Umfolozi River|
|Trapdoor spider at home|
For most of our stay we drove ourself around the Hluhluwe reserve, covering most of the roads over the three days. Some of the hilly dirt roads were a challenge in our little hire car but she rose to the challenge gamely!
We saw an array of antelope including impala, nyala, bush buck, water buck, duiker and wildebeest.
The park has plenty of water buffalo. Some of the herds we saw had well over 50 animals.
We saw a number of zebra. Most seemed to be in family groups of 3 or 4.
We saw several groups of giraffe. Most seemed to be in groups of three. Beautiful animals.
In the camp we saw vervet monkeys. In the bush we saw several large troops of baboons.
We saw both warthogs and bush pigs too.
The reserves are famous for their rhinoceros. Every white rhinoceros on Earth is descended from the 20 last animals which survived in this reserve in the 1960s. There are over 500 in the reserve now and hundreds more distributed all around the world by Operation Rhino.
We saw several solitary elephants and herd of over a dozen.
Sadly we didn't see lion or leopard, but we did see two cheetahs. They were about 200m away but we could see them clearly in the binoculars. The telephoto lens wasn't really up to the job but we did get pictures. We were very lucky since there are apparently about 30 cheetahs in the two reserves while there are over 100 lions.
The birds in the reserve were amazing - very, very colourful. They are tough to photograph but we did manage to get a good shot of one.
On Tuesday afternoon we did a sunset drive with a guide. He found a lot of rhino and the herd of elephant before dark. After dark we drove through the bush shining lights to spot animals. We found an owl, a bush baby, a genet and several chameleon in addition to various antelope.
These three days have certainly been one of the highlights of our year. There's something special about having sailed here to see it all too.
|Adolescent male impala mock-fighting|
|Two week old baby rhinoceros|
|Lone bull elephant|
|Herd of female and young elephants|
|Spot the cheetah|
|Cape Glossy Starling|