Saturday, 17 May 2014

Instalment 2: Guest Blogger - Francois Ghanem

So we've finally arrived in South Africa.
I've been thinking about what to write and what my guest blog focus will be.  I will be giving an overview of our experiences and not obsessing about details of accomodations and hotels.

Our first stop was a Sabi Sands private reserve.  We stayed at a lodge recommended by Elizabeth.  The accommodations were perfect.  The food was very good and abundant.  The staff was hyper-attentive to our comfort and were excellent host.  Suffice it to say that when we checked in to the lodge my wife declared Elizabeth a travel advice goddess.
(The lodge routine was fairly typical of all lodges: early morning and late afternoon drives, bush walks, meals etc... a busy schedule indeed that started at 5:30 am and ended at 9:30 pm.)
But I digress....  The reason we are here is to see the bush creatures  - not to talk about the generous creature comforts we enjoyed.   The big 5 parade started on the drive to the lodge when we saw two lions.  It gets better.  Over the next 6 game drives we saw the big five multiple times.  We saw babies, adults and ageing animals.  We saw some of the "little 5" and some of the "shy 5".  We saw a nursing baby rhino and two lions " in flagante delicto."  We even saw an elusive cheetah - we were told the first sighting in the area in 4 months.
Really memorable!  Yet just as thrilling were the bush walks where we got an overview of the flora and fauna and lessons in tracking animals by tracks and dung.  The best part was one walk with just me and the ranger.  We enjoyed conversations along the way but we also stopped to enjoy the bush silence punctuated by the sounds of animals doing what they do and at times you could actually hear the bigger birds flapping their wings as I stood there in silent awe.
The guests were an international bunch with an American majority.  A few south Africans visiting the bush with us certainly provided an interesting perspective on bush tourism as well as past and current events in the country. Also of interest was a conversation with the lodge proprietor about rhino poaching and eco-tourism.   Thought provoking!

That's it for now.  Till the next update.....

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