Monday, 2 March 2015

Mkhuze {part 2}

After braaiing, we headed back to the tent for the night. Not long after crawling into bed, we heard something moving the trees outside. There was snorting, cracking branches, and rustling leaves. The tree that was still illuminated by our veranda light wasn't moving, but shining our torch into the bush didn't help since it lit up only a tiny spot. Eventually, we fell asleep. At about 2am I awoke again to the same sounds. This time, the tree about 10 steps away from our tent was moving, and one could see the tusks of an elephant jabbing at the tree. It seems the elephants were on their way back through the camp and stopped for another snack. I was a little concerned about my car which was parked under a tree, but fortunately the elephants didn't wander that side of our tent! 

We fell back asleep, and woke up early to head out to the hide. Mum and daddy were already there, but we drove with Malcolm's parents to first see if we could find the elephant, since we'd heard them trumpeting nearby, and then when we couldn't find them, we also headed to the hide. We spotted a rhino on the way, and when we walked along the trail to the hide, we saw a mom rhino and her baby leaving the watering hole. Unfortunatly we'd just missed the four rhino that had been getting their morning drink. But, we saw SO much anyway that it was just wonderful 

Watching the wildebeest rolling and tussling and wading through the mud made it really entertaining, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for this little terapin, in the middle of the muddy waterhole, it somehow managed to survive without being waded over or sat on!

This baby wildebeest waded in really deep and the thick mud seemed to be getting the better of it. One could see it was getting tired, and it was struggling. I felt so helpless watching it and not being able to intervene... fortunately, it made it across and back to it's mamma!

We were nearly alone at the hide, and it was a really special opportunity to get to see such abundance. And with a cup of coffee and a box of Ouma, it doesn't get better! I especially enjoyed seeing the warthog - they're my childhood favourite!

After going back to the camp and having breakfast, we packed up and headed for a drive to the lake. Along the way, we saw all these vultures.

They were hanging out at the spot where a mom rhino and her baby, as well as another male rhino, were poached two days before. The day we arrived, somebody was lurking around, intent on shooting them for their horn, and the baby was shot for no reason at all. It's heart-breaking, and absolutely cruel. The statistics are shocking and the topic is extremely complicated from a legal and social point, but there are numerous people and organisations trying to prevent poaching.

We continued driving, until we got to a hide where we could get out. Not too much was happening, but it was good to enjoy the view and the breeze since it was extremely hot.

After leaving that hide, we drove just a little further to a picnic site where we had lunch together while watching a hippo across the lake. We heard one close by, but fortunately it didn't pop up where we were!

After lunch, we left the reserve and headed home. Rural KZN is incredible. It makes one realise what one takes for granted, while it simultaneously reminds me how beautiful SA is.

We thought that our car trouble for the trip was over when we had a puncture. But my car had something else up it's sleeve and all of a sudden cut out. It was on a really busy stretch but the road is also wide enough to pull over and we're glad that we hadn't started overtaking the truck in front of us when it happened! We pulled over, Malcolm's dad fiddled, we tried all sorts, then towed the car to a safer place where cars weren't whizzing by. The car still couldn't be repaired there, so Malcolm's dad towed us to Mtunzini... I'm so glad that we had the radios, since they really helped communication while being towed.

We finally arrived in Mtunzini where we ended our family holiday with pizza at the clay oven. It was such an incredible time. Now, sitting in cold and foggy Marburg, I really wish I could be right back there at that moment - family, warmth, pizza.... 

*** All watermarked photos are taken by my dad.*** 
The problem with traveling with a photographer is that I get lazy taking my own photos. For more of his photos check out Zululand Pix on Facebook***

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