nThambo Tree Camp
Our morning game drive revealed more rhino, and we took time this morning to sit and watch them as Luan, our new guide, explained to us all he could about these magnificent animals and how their social structure works. I could have sat there all morning if I’m honest, but as they got deeper into the bushes, and our jeep couldn’t, it made sense to let them wander off. We rounded off the morning with four different sightings of giraffes, and this time we got close enough to a brown snake eagle for me to take a photo of, and an inquisitive yellow squirrel.
After another fry up for breakfast, Kim and I joined the German couple on a short walk with Luan. We were only out for about 90 minutes, but it is on these walks were you learn about the little things you don’t normally stop to examine in the jeep. Typical things encountered include spider webs and holes (the larger ones live in holes), the different types of trees and the nests you’ll find in them. You also get to try your hand at identifying tracks when you stumble across them. And of course, you learn to identify poop! That’s the real reason you safari, ladies and gentlemen.
After salad, pizza, and my favourite dessert of milk tart, we boarding the jeep again and set sail over the dusty roads that still weren’t familiar to me at all. Seriously, how they know where they’re going and are able to communicate to other guides exactly where they are is amazing. I did not see a single GPS tracker when I was out with them. Honestly.
At this stage, we had seen four members of the Big 5, and the hardest one to see in the leopard. After seeing a solitary steenbok, we encountered a herd of elephants that were happy to walk around us as they crossed the road. Driving on the main highway again, we saw a lone wildebeest on the other reserve (but close enough for a photo), before spotting what looked to be a buffalo (it was when confirmed by looking through binoculars), way off in the distance. The buffalo would complete the Big 5 … but could we really count it? We carried on to the location where we had seen the hippo the morning of our second game drive. He was there in the water this time, waiting for the sun to set before heading out to a rave or whatever hippos do when the sun goes down. We arched around the watering hole before stopping on the banks to have our sundowner, each of us watching the water to see if the hippo was taking too much of an interest in us.
As we packed up to leave, Luan got a call about a sighting near us, and we managed to drive off road enough to follow the two lionesses we had seen on our first night. They called to each other, to let the other know they were still nearby, and we left them in peace after watching them for 10 minutes. Under the cover of darkness we stuck to the roads, passing more elephants than I can count, and we sat underneath a tree and watched an inquisitive bushbaby pop his head up to say hi. My photos of him were terrible; but I finally saw one. Luan got word of a leopard sighting just minutes from where we were, but as we headed back in that direction, the call came in that the leopard had wandered off onto the other reserve and we wouldn’t be able to follow him. Several more bushbabies made appearances, their rather comical and insanely fast method of jumping and leaping from branch to branch and across the ground was extremely entertaining. But crap for photographing.
Back at the lodge we had a starter of cream of lettuce soup, before going outside to sit around the open fire where chicken and pork kebabs were cooking for us. We followed that up with malva pudding for dessert before calling it a night. And another great night at that.