Yay for Friday! Nothing better than a nice weekend to look forward to. My Five on Friday this week is a little more than five – but a recap on trying to search for the Big Five animals in the bush last weekend. Link up with Christina
for Five on Friday and Karl
i for Oh Hey Friday!
The Big Five on Friday
MC and I spent the weekend with two special friends at Phinda Mountain Lodge
. We left early on Friday morning to check in at lunchtime, enjoy a delicious lunch and then settle in and relax before our first game drive at 15h00. There really is no better feeling than driving around a game vehicle, searching for beautiful animals in the wild and admiring the African sunset. We spent the evening tracking lion who were in hiding and didn’t want ti be found but we saw giraffe, impala, nyala, along the way. After a sundowners stop for a Gin & Tonic and some snacks, we headed back to the lodge under the most perfect night sky. Our ranger eventually stopped for us to admire the stars and we were in awe of the perfect constellation, locating Scorpio, the planets and Ryans belt. The evening ended with a delicious dinner for four on the lodge balcony underneath a perfect evening of stars.
We were up bright and early on Saturday morning for a quick cuppa before heading out to the North part of the reserve to find the massive herd of elephant. We were treated to a morning of a family of elephant with a massive big bull male and his sleeping friends. Driving along the main road up North, we found the North pride of lion – a male and female sleeping on the side of the road and then trying to mate. And as we arrived back to the lodge, we nearly missed three cheetah male cubs lying in the bush. A great morning of sightings.
We then spent the day completely over indulging in delicious food, reading books, having a quick nap before a delicious lunch and afternoon tea. At 15h00, we met on the deck to head out again for our evening game drive. There is something so magical about being in the fresh air and listening to nothing but the sounds of nature – we truly live in a beautiful world. Our female leopard was in serious hiding and after hours of searching for her, we stumbled upon a male lion fast asleep after a feast of warthog and two female lioness with three small cubs feasting and fighting over a tiny nyala. What an amazing sighting and to watch them interact with each other – and fight myself back from jumping out the vehicle to cuddle the cute cubs. Another refreshing G&T before being surprised with a bush dinner in the middle of the reserve – what an incredible experience. (For non-South Africans – the dinner is right in the middle of the bush and completely open to all animals. This area is surrounded by fire lanterns which deter animals and armed security who are on the look out. There have never been any casualties from a bush dinner).
Our final morning allowed us to get a glimpse of a beautiful rhino sans horn (unfortunately the rhino poaching is a terrible epidemic in the reserve so they have started to cut them all off safely before these animals become extinct!) We were also surprised to drive into the massive North herd of elephant who had crossed serious kms the night before to head to the South in the hope of rain and water. What a privilege to view over 40 elephants right next to our vehicle (one big bull a little too close for my liking) as well as the grumble of a bulls call and a baby’s first trumpet.
And the cherry on the top was finding the two lioness and three cubs on our way home – the cutest!
I cannot explain the wonder of this beautiful reserve and the feeling of rest and relaxation you get being out in the bush for a weekend. Not to mention, the massive privilege of seeing these animals in their day to day habitat and interaction. And all whilst enjoying five star luxury too.
We can’t wait to go back.