Dwayne was amazing, stopping the jeep everytime he saw anything, pointing out tiny Weaver Bird nests, showing us tracks and explaining how to distunguish Hippo from Elephant, Kudu from Impala, we looked at poo (loads of it!) but in turn he explained how the animals digestive systems worked and how nature recycles when the Dung Beetle comes long to roll dung balls to take home to his female for her to use as an incubator. I never dreamed I would find poo so fascinating!
All along our route we came across Impala, some lone females with their new born young, and as Dwayne explained as soon as the spring rains come, the pregnant females often leave the herd to "drop" their young and the introduce them a day or so later. We later saw a female introducing her baby to the herd and it was an amazing sight as all the others came up to sniff at it and nudge it along into the group.
The most amazing part of the day was seeing an Elephant herd. We had spotted one in the distance on the right hand side of the jeep and were so busy trying to get a better view through the trees when a whole herd appeared at the left side. I have always loved Elephants and for some reason whenever I see them on tv they just make me cry, they're so intelligent and majestic. To see a herd of wild Elephant out in the middle of the South African bush was just too much, I could hardly watch them through the tears streaming down my face, it was a total dream come true and something I will never ever forget.
After this amazing sighting, we headed off to a new "bush school" being built to help educate children from all backgrounds to understand the bush and the need for conservation. Part of it is up and running now but they are building an accommodation block so that the children can stay. It's an amazing scheme and one which I am going to be part of by buying a brick to help raise money and awareness:
**link to follow**
On the way to our dry riverbed lunch venue we passed more Giraffe, Buffalo, Kudu, Dung Beetles hard at work, Baboons and more Elephants (and tears lol). Lunch was made up of hearty steak sandwiches, fresh fruits and of course an ice cold beer, and again we were out in the middle of nowhere with just Dwayne and 2 other rangers and Amii the German Shepherd keeping watch.
After lunch we spotted our first Rhino and our first (very grumpy) Buffalo as we made our way to Nkambeni Tented Lodge. Oh my goodness, the delight as we saw our accommodation, we are staying the night in a timber framed tent complete with outside shower and jacuzzi!!!! If the frogs were loud last night they're going to be deafening tonight as the river runs right along the bottom of our row!
An evening game drive lead us to another bush braii situated alongside a watering hole with 6 basking Hippo. Another group joined us for dinner of steaks, chicken, fresh vegetables and salads and another delicious pudding. Listening to the Hippo grunting at each other, sipping yet more South African wine and watching the sun go down - life certainly doesn't get better than this!!