Monday, April 14, 2008

Londolozi - Day 2 Morning

Posting by Andy

The morning started with a pounding on our door at 5:30 a.m. by one of the gaurds waking us up for our first day's you can imagine waking up at this time is not for most, but once up and out of our hut, we gathered with our group and jumped into a jeep and out into the bush. 
Let me explain the jeep (actually a Land Rover), no top, just sides, so the view is completely unobstructed so the animals are right there in front of you...we have two guides that are with us, one that drives, and the other sits in front and looks for animal tracks and droppings on the ground and we follow them to whatever animal is around.  When we first arived we just didn't know if and what animals we would see and how close we would get to them...the answer....very close.  When I say very I mean we were about 2-5 feet away from a pack of 11 lions - 3 femals and 8 cubs - with no protection around us but a jeep.     We were so amazed we sat there for a good 30 to 45 minutes watching them play and sleep and go potty.
The animals, although extremely wild, are very familar with the jeeps since they have seen them drive around since their birth.  They are not afraid of them, nor do they want to harm us...unless we step out.  Two rules:  1) don't stand up, because the animals are used to the shape of the jeep and standing up changes the shape and alarms the animals, so they may charge, and 2) no making calling noises to them because they do not understand what you are doing.. basically you don't want to cause any attention to yourself, just look, take photos and enjoy them. 
After that we were overwhelmed with a group of elephants that towered over us and were extremely intimidating to look at because among most of the animals here they will charge if provoked and the last thing you want to do to a wild elephant is provoke it because it will tumble the jeep and will tear you apart if feels threatened....oh my.  These giant creatures are everywhere from big ones to babies which are quite cute.   We noticed that they eventually surrounded us and the only way out was to just wait until they faded back into the bush, which we did.     
Next... of course, we have to stop in the middle of the bush and have coffee, tea, cocoa and biscotti.   Roughing it, aren't we?!      FYI - 'the bush' is not just a plant!   The topography of the landscape - slight rolling hills with shrubbery, lots of dirt and the occasional short twisted tree - is 'the bush.'  
Soon after we witnesed a herd of giraffes, tall and lean with a stylish motion to their walk, very elegant and very sweet as they nibbled on the branches of the African trees.  Then off to the hippos, waddling in the large pond to keep their skin cool.   If you don't know already they are quite dangerous and will absolutely kill you even when not threatened.  They tell us they are the main human killers here because sometimes, when the women are out in the morning collecting water from the rivers, they rush the people and kill them without any hesitation.  All throughout, we were in search for the spotted leopard which we were told is magnificent to see.....along the search, we saw zebras, impalas (which they call the McDonalds of the bush beacause they are everwhere), wildebeast, warthogs, lizards, birds, and other big and small creatures of which I am forgetting the names.  If you have seen the movie "The Lion King", this is it and this is where all of those animals live.  Very cool, very cool indeed.
We arived back at camp around 10 a.m and were greeted by an amazing farmstand breakfast; cold items such as berry compote for fresh cereals and yoghurts, with freshly baked croissants and incredible cold meats and cheeses.   The breakfast ended with we  a hot breakfast to order - Rhett had poached eggs (obviously picked from the hen that morning) , and I had an omelette filled with scrumptious ham and cheddar cheese.   OMG yum.    They take very good care of us here and although we know we paid well to be here, we still appriciate it and feel most comfortable here. 
They biggest problem thus far with animals has been the monkeys that have overtaken the place and are constantly stealing guest's food from the tables and just are trouble makers in the eyes of the workers...I will say though, very cute.  One was not so happy with Rhett and threw a berry at rude!
We are now relaxed and waiting for our next night safari in search again for the spotted leopard and what ever else comes are way.  Anyhow, although Paris and Nicole are completely out of their comfort zone and with no Prada, Gucci, and Kenneth Cole, we are doing well and want to send our love to all of you and wish you were here to witness what we are seeing for yourselves.  We have taken photos and will share them with you when the opportunity arises.

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