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Monday, December 10, 2007

Our Second Day on Safari at Amakhala (Nov 4th)

I am glad we are only here for two days - this place is a recipe for getting fat! Muffins and coffee/tea at 6.30am, biscuits and coffee on our game drive, breakfast at 10am with fruit, cereal, yoghurt. toast, eggs, bacon, beans and mushrooms, a cooked lunch at 2pm, wine/beer/soft drinks and snacks on the afternoon game drive, followed by a three course dinner with wine, then coffee, tea and cheese and biscuits. Phew! It's almost like being on a cruise. I did want to overindulge a little after that pre-wedding diet, but this is taking things to another extreme :-)

We were woken up again today at 6am for pour first game drive of the day and luckily it stayed dry this time.

Here's a photo of Matt our ranger beside a huge termite mound! There were loads of these things around the game reserve:





Termite Mound
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On this drive we concentrated on finding elephants since we were unsuccessful the last time (who would have thought that finding a herd of 15 elephants would be so difficult!

After driving around for a while our eagle eyed ranger Matt spotted them up on a hill, in amongst the trees, but we didn't get a great view of them as they were hard to see clearly without binoculars. It sounds a bit strange to think that it would be hard to spot 15 elephants, but Amakhala is pretty big and the elephants take on the colour of the ground that they roll in.

It would have been great to see all of these elephants close up, but unfortunately it was not to be! Towards the end of the game drive we were lucky enough to see the male bull elephant wandering around on his own:




Male Elephant at Amakhala
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We didn't spend the whole time looking for big animals - there were also a few smaller ones too. Here is a leopard tortoise, one of the "little five". The big five are Lion, Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and the little five are the ant lion, buffalo weaver, lepard tortoise, rhinoceros beetle and elephant shrew!




Tortoise, Amakhala
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After the game drive it was back to Amakhala for breakfast and we spent the rest of the morning relaxing and having a bit of a snooze!

After lunch we went on our afternoon game drive and this time concentrated on finding the Lions. The lions are in a separate part of the reserve at the moment and to get there you go through a tunnel (under the road) and over some electric wires. The lions were being too opportunistic and killing young animals rather than spending energy trying to kill the adult animals, so the decision was made to keep them in a separate part of the reserve until the numbers had been built up sufficiently. The plan was to introduce them back to the main reserve this year, but they had cubs, so they are being kept separately for a while longer.

With the help of some of the other rangers (who all speak to each other on the walkie talkies in a strange code language) we found the lions, sleeping under a group of trees.



Lioness, Amakhala
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It was amazing seeing the lions and the female seemed to just stare at us. Aparantly all the animals, including the lions just see the safari vehicle as one big smelly animal, unless people start jumping about or standing up, so we made sure that we stayed perfectly still.




Lioness, Amakhala
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We finished off our game drive with another successful sighting - this time some buffalo. We also saw a few wildebeest:



Wildebeest
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