Friday, 16 October 2009

Honeymoon - Safari day 2 & 3 - we saw lions!

Despite the threat of being crawled on by Marvin and his mates (we quickly discovered that Marvin the mouse had several friends - Melvin and Marjorie to name but two), I managed to get some sleep before our 6am wake-up call.

In Madikwe in September at 6am it's still dark and it's very, very cold. Mr Jones hadn't really prepared me for the arctic conditions so I ended up wearing about 12 layers of clothes topped off with a very un-safari like navy and bright pink striped hoody. The safari buffs on our truck, dressed in their khakis and proper hats with their binoculars and bird watching books, gave me the once over with barely hidden disgust. But the kindly ranger assured me that once in the truck the animals wouldn't notice me.

My inappropiate outfit

Within minutes I was wrapped head to toe in a khaki blanket to prevent imminent frostbite anyway and my inappropriate clothes were soon forgotten. I got thoroughly excited at my first wildebeest sighting, and gasped with delight at the zebra and springbok. In the distance we saw a lone elephant and we sat beside a lion and a lioness in the grass for a while - but they were too busy sleeping to pose for a photograph.

I soon learnt that the warming cup of herbal tea before leaving the lodge was a bad idea. Four hours bouncing around in a safari truck if you have a bladder the size of a mouse is not much fun. Luckily by the end of our trip I'd become pretty good at bush loos. I can now spot an appropriate bush and pee in seconds without being savaged by hyena or bitten by a snake - or exposing my nethers to the rest of the safari party.

In the evening safari I saw my first giraffe, and a brown hyena - which apparently are very rare (I was so desperate for the loo at this point that I really didn't care to watch is gnawing on it's bit of giraffe - but everyone else seemed to be enthralled). We also saw a white rhino - I say we - but what I mean is everyone else saw a rhino - my eyes being as they are - I saw a grey blob stood by a tree and it was only when I looked at the pictures with my specs on that I could actually claim to have seen a rhino - Mr Jones found this quite hilarious.

By our final safari I was getting a bit sick of the sight of zebra and various types of venison. I wanted some elephants or some lions or even a leopard. We drove across the amazing bush and the buffs got excited about various boring birds and Mr Jones and I started to get impatient, with just two hours to go.

Then there they were - a lioness and her daughter and five cubs. They were so close to us that you could have literally have reached out and touched them - if you'd wanted your arm severed. I got a bit snap happy with the camera and if you flick through the pics you can actually see the lions walking along - hmm.

We could have done with another day on Safari. It's awfully relaxing. You get back from your game drive, stuff yourself with breakfast, hop into the outside shower, wrap up in a fluffly robe and then laze around until high tea. Then you shovel down some cake and head on out for the evening safari before coming back to eat some more - on our last night we had a romantic dinner for two on our verandah (watched by lots of little eyes) and spied on by marvin and his mates, who were clearly eyeing up the left overs. All this is washed down with a good old G&T - what's not to love?

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