Hluhluwe Park animals don’t make appointments

We’ve been in Hilltop Camp for a couple days. Unfortunately the weather turned cold and wet Thursday afternoon, so we went for a game drive in the Landrover in windy rainy weather. That’s not a very pleasant way to view animals, but it didn’t matter much because during the three hour drive we didn’t really see any animals. I think they must have been laying under the bushes or sleeping to get out of the bad weather.

Hluhluwe giraffe

Hluhluwe giraffe

But Friday morning was much better! The weather was a bit damp but there were hints of the sun coming out. We saw LOTS of animals: a hyena (who looked at us carefully as if we were trying to trick him), and a pack of wild dogs (very rare), and cape buffalo, nyala and duikers (kinds of antelope), birds, zebras, giraffes, and a herd of about FORTY elephants, big and small. Tammie was especially excited about the elephants because when she visited Africa in 2007 she was the only one on the trip who didn’t see an elephant. The world is an amazing creation, where the likes of the zebra (a horse in pajamas) walks with the giraffe.

Yesterday some of the group went on a walking safari, where they are accompanied by a guide (with a rifle) and look for animals and signs of animals. They saw varieties of doodoo, and a place where a rhino had rested.

THIS MORNING WAS GREAT. We were up at 5:00 am to climb aboard the vehicle at 5:50am. We didn’t see much at first, but after stopping on a hill for some tea and rusks (hard cookies like biscotti) Pumowake got a radio call and told us to hop back in the vehicle, that a cape buffalo had been killed by some lions. When we arrived, we saw two female lions walking into the trees, but the real surprise was a little futher, where a large male lion was resting next to the path. He was not happy to have us so close, but the WORST was when I lifted my camera to take a photo, he stood up and ROARED. Of course I retreated almost under the seat. After a few minutes of calm, I lifted the camera again and he ROARED. Maybe it’s because my camera is red? I lifted it again and this time he stood up and ROARED and stepped forward. I eventually learn- I was nearly in Barbara’s lap, and my heart was speeding.

 Our guide’s name is Pumowake, he is a Zulu man who is 32 years old, second of nine kids in his family. He’s the breadwinner in his extended family, so it’s good he has this good job being a guide. He said he’s the one in the family that always likes to figure things out, so he worked hard to finish secondary school in his village. He’s another example of how education improves lives, not just for one person, but for entire families. Cheers to Pumo and his family and his country.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Cindy on August 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I hope someone else got the photo of the lion roaring! It sounds like some fun days seeing all of the animals.


  2. An incredible game reserve, the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa, and also rescued the Rhino’s from Extinction when less than 100 where left. http://www.hluhluwegamereserve.com


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