Alicia’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 19 Aug 2010

Location: Kwa Mbili Game Lodge, South Africa

MapWe were up at 6am again for our morning safari, well actually we were awakened slightly earlier than 6 by the roar of a lion. There was quiet excitement during morning coffee as we listened and heard the lion roar again. We hoped that this meant we would get to see the male lion on our safari. We headed out and teamed up with another jeep to go in search of the lion. After only a few minutes the other jeep found him and we raced towards the sighting. He was laying in the bush when we got there but then he got up and walked down the road along the fence line which marked the border of his territory. We followed behind him and he roared with such power I got goosebumps, it was an amazing thing to hear. After walking down the road a ways he stopped and laid down by the fence line, he continued with smaller roars as we sat and watched him. He wasn't roaring at us, on the other side of the fence was another male lion's territory, so he was letting the other lion know that he was here and that he was marking his territory. The lion was fairly indifferent to our presence. Eventually we drove on in search of other animals. We began tracking a small group of African buffalo and found them grazing in the bush. We drove in and they moved off a bit, but we still got some good pictures and views. We followed them down to the water hole and drove around to the other side so we could watch them drink without spooking them. Near the end we decided to go back by the lion and see if we could get some nice views of him again. Sure enough! He had moved off the road just a little bit and was laying in some grass, we couldn't have asked for a better photo opportunity. He lay there lazily blinking and dozing in the shade. On our way back to camp we saw a male giraffe, but he was too far in the trees to get a really good look at.

It got really hot in the afternoon so we went for a dip in the pool before lunch. For our afternoon safari we were planning on heading to the south side of the reserve where we had such good luck on our first day.

The afternoon safari started off with another amazing elephant encounter. The heard was right off the road and some of the elephants walked right along side our vehicle and were walking all around us. It was so crazy to be surrounded by elephants and to have them all so close to us, we got so many photos! After the elephants we found a mom rhino with her young rhino. There was a male rhino as well which was "hoping to get lucky with the female" as our guide put it. At first the rhinos were feeding in the grass, then the mom and baby headed off across the road. The male didn't realize they left at first, but as soon as he did, he took off at a quick pace to follow the female. We continued on and saw another Kudu, this time a male, which was cool because their horns are spiral shaped. Near the end of our drive we got word of where the female lions were that we had seen the other day. We found them laying in a little basin sleeping. One lion sat up when we pulled close to them and looked at us for a few seconds before rolling back on her side. Then, this is my favorite part, she rolled onto her back and spread her legs in the air just like Nala does! Our guide later told us that animals do that so the sun heats up their belly and aids in digestion, so they will usually do that after they eat, and we thought Nala was just goofy! We ended the drive with another amazing African sunset and then headed back to the lodge for dinner.

We had another great time talking around the fire. Everyone in our group had traveled to (and was from) many different places so we exchanged stories of our travels and all the unique things we saw and experienced. It was so interesting to hear so many different stories. We were sad to go to bed as we would be leaving after breakfast the next day.