March 10thish, 2012
I don’t know what time we woke up, but it wasn’t 5AM and that’s all that mattered. We were headed to the Nkoro Lodge at the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which bordered Kruger National Park. The drive was scenic and quite nerve racking because we were driving on bumpy,rural dirt roads almost the entire time. We passed through some tiny villages with small shops and colorful huts with straw roofs. The people were out and about, and almost all of them waved to us as we drove by. After driving forever on what seemed like an endless dirt road, we pulled up to the Sabie Sand gate around 10:30. The Nkoro lodge was very different from Satara -it was dead quiet, the rooms were ritzier, and there were no raving monkeys, just a tiny sulking dog and a Wildebeest named George.
The weather was gorgeous, so we lazed around by the pool until lunch was served –Chef Paul laid out an array of cheeses,pasta, and juices for us and I scarfed down everything. After lunch, we met our safari guide, Cedric, a tall, tan, blonde, cheerful fellow who wasn’t so hard on the eyes either. We were leaving for our afternoon/evening ride at 4, so we sunscreened, hydrated, and hopped on the massive open aired vehicle for our next adventure. Cedric talked on his radio and told us all sorts of random facts, while the tracker, Norman, looked for any signs (tracks, broken branches,etc.) of big cats. At one point they caught wind of a Cheetah in the area, parked the vehicle, and went venturing off into the woods with rifles (just in case) while we anxiously awaited their return.
They didn’t end up actually finding the Cheetah, but that whole ordeal as exciting enough. The cats must’ve been in hiding while we were out, but we did get up close and personal with a Rhino.
People believe that a Rhino’s horn has all kinds of medicinal properties and is an aphrodisiac. This being said, Rhino poaching has become such a problem in Kruger and the areas around it that the military is involved, and if a poacher is spotted, it is legal to shoot them…and with good reason. We drove around the reserve watching the sun set and running into Jackals, Wildebeest,Elephants, and Warthogs (or Pumbas as I prefer to call them). Oh and I had my first official sundowner. When we got back to the lodge, the torches were lit and an extravagant dinner (compliments of Chef Paul) was waiting for us. The eating venue was an enclosure of tall sticks, and that combined with the torches gave me en eerie sensation that we had been dropped into the King Kong movie.
After eating a delicious South African meal that any vegetarian would cringe at, we decided to turn in, as Cedric would be eagerly knocking on our door at 5AM to wake us for the morning ride.
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At 5AM on the nose, there was a knock on our door and either Mom or Molly stumbled over to answer it. Good morning,Cedric.
On our morning ride, we found some lions!
It was a pack of 4 lionesses and Cedric knew their life story, something about being rejected from the pride and running away with their grandmother –for some reason, the idea of a grandmother lion cracked me up quite a lot. After stopping for a coffee break (“Don’t get to close to the water or the croc will get you!” says Cedric cheerfully) and running into our usual African wildlife friends, we were offered to walk back to camp instead of drive. Talk about an easy way to end up on 1000 Ways to Die. But we decided to go for it –we lined up behind Cedric with his rifle and Norman with his machete and were on our merry way. Much to my dismay, we didn’t run into anything too out of the ordinary, but we did see the track of a Black Mamba, one of the most poisonous snakes in Africa. We also came across a Dung Beatle and about a million piles of poo of various shapes and sizes.
Although we didn’t see any big animals on our walk, we did make it back to camp alive and just in time for another delicious meal, which was something to be thankful for. Then it was time to begin the long trek back to Johannesburg, where we would spend the night and then I would fly back to PE while Mom and Molly went to Cape Town.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of the Kruger Saga.
Now I am only behind of my blog instead of very behind.