Our last two days at Savanna Lodge were just as successful in animal spotting as our first two. We had mostly good weather, some clouds, one clear blue afternoon and only one game drive with rain. To our delight, nearly every day we saw the Big Five. In total, we watched 5 different leopards; Duane (a large male), Metzi and her cub, and Hlabakuzi and her cub.
We saw the lionesses and their cubs on three separate occasions. The rain did not damper our enthusiasm as we watched Hlabakuzi playing with her cub in a tree. All the species we observed had young and seemed in the peak of health. Their lack of fear allowed us to get very close.
We did learn that elephants do not like white vehicles. We came upon a large male elephant “in musth” who did not want two white vehicles to pass. (Bull elephants in musth are quite aggressive, and have a strong and unplesant odor. I could only take about 15 to 20 minutes being around the smell it was so strong). He was blocking their way and threatening them. When the drivers saw us approach from behind in our open green Land Rover, they pulled aside and let us in front. There we confronted the bull elephant, and with some coaxing got him out of the road.
During our Monday morning game drive, we came across another bull elephant “in musth” who was posturing towards one of the other Savanna Land Rovers with guests. As the guide backed up, the elephant advanced. It is a delicate operation to back away when confronted with an angry bull elephant. If you back away too quickly, it gives them confidence and they advance more aggressively. With patience they retreated and the elephant went on his way.
Savanna Lodge and its employees really went above the call of duty in their attempt to satisfy our wishes. Sunday morning Patrick and Julius surprised us with breakfast in the bush. They had us fooled again too. We stopped for a moment and Julius stared at the ground with concentration. When we asked what he was doing he said “Tracking.” We asked “What are you tracking” and he said “Bacon and eggs.” We turned the corner and there was an outdoor buffet and a table set for our breakfast in Robin’s Landing, where the night before we had enjoyed sundowners. How fun!
After our usual sundowner stop and night game drive back to the lodge, Sunday evening we were treated to dinner in the boma and a local choir. They were quite good. After our dinner I was presented with a birthday cake and the choir sang and danced their way back in, surrounded the table and performed a South African a cappella rendition of Happy Birthday. South Africa’s Gramm Beck sparkling white has been flowing since we arrived.
If you find my posts on South Africa interesting, please visit the site of one of my travel companions for more pictures and stories:
The Big Five
The Savanna Lodge