Today we could not believe that it was only our 5th day. We felt as if it was so much longer than that!
We started out our day with an amazing breakfast, after Chad got a long sleep-in and I read about the reserve and as much animal information as my head could contain. As I mentioned, I will have to write a different post entirely about food. For now, we lounged after breakfast until time for a massage!! We seldom get massages, but when we do, we are always so very grateful.
The hour long massages were worth their price entirely, I got a deep tissue massage and was not dissapointed! After the massage, we slowly lumbered back to our rooms to rest before our game drive at 2:30. We read some, rested some and enjoyed our time significantly. The animals, again got friendly, for on our way back, the elephant family crossed right in front of our path.
We could not believe our luck! All four of the animals are famous and have appeared in movies. The oldest, male,, Sam, is 38 years old. Elephant cycle through six sets of molars, I read today. After the last set falls out, the animals die from starvation. What an odd twist to this magnificent creatures life!
We started our game drive with another couple from Cape Town and our guide promptly at 2:30. We started out watching the elephant family, funny enough, and I was starting to wonder if we had ruined our game drive already!! Not to be disappointed, we found the entire family of the white rhino, altogether!
We were told this is very rare to see. We watched them for a long time, talking about how they eat only the tops of the grass, have very poor eyesight, can run at 40km flat out, and how the baby is quite cheeky at the moment. It was so cool to see these beautiful animals grazing safely. It wasn’t always the case, as one was poached in the park. After that incident, the game wardens decided it would be best if they cut the horns themselves, to keep interested poachers away. The horns are merely kerotin, like our fingernails, and therefore they do grow back. Cutting them in this way does not harm the animals at all, and it’s less of a risk than losing one of them entirely.
Onward we went, past the impala, black impala, kudu and into where the zebra and bontebok graze over the mountain.
These animals were so very aware of us and constantly checked us out, as we snapped picture after picture of them. The zebras made a funny acknowledging noise, but kept to grazing. We stopped here and we’re served refreshments and discussed the reserve some more. I have been bugging the game warden about all the information I can about the area, her job, can I hug the lion…
Afterwards, we rode on abound found the first of four giraffe chewing on prickly pear cacti.
Again, she definitely seemed to wonder why we were there. But mostly her job was to browse the trees. I learned that browsing animals are referred to the ones that eat trees, while grazing animals are the ones that eat the grasses, also known as the lawnmowers. Giraffe are both. As the night crept in, I knew we still had lions to see, and our guide said we were missing the other giraffe. Up she took us until the sky burst forth with the giraffe and a most stunning sunset.
Really?! How could it be more perfect??! One of the giraffe, it turns out was chewing on bone, to get calcium into her system. She made some pretty fantastic faces in the process.
Again, we felt so amazed by these stellar animals, you know, just hanging out by the jeep!! As the sun disappeared and the sky became more magical, we took off to find the three lions in a separate area.
The lions, it turns out, are rescue lions. They are lions who can no longer face the wild due to numerous circumstances. However, the people at nearby Mossel Bay were frightened that the big cats could escape. Resultingly, the cays are behind double electric fence and kept deep within Botlierskop Reserve.
As we drove through the solar powered remote-controlled gated enclosure, I got really excited. A lion?! In the wild?! What if they creep up on us? Our guide started giving out rules:no screaming, no waving arms, no standing up, nothing outside the Jeep. My heart raced. Onward into the bush we went…and there the two females were. Completely and entirely sedated from the massive amount of red meat they had just consumed. There bellies were huge and they were docile and immobile. They looked like giant house cats just rolling about.
You can barely see her on the left in this photo. She refused and did not care to move, even when we drove up about 15 feet away. The male however, was harder to spot, but we finally found him on top of the hill, far away. He had dragged his food away from the females. Our guide mentioned that he tries to hide his food, but it starters to smell and gives away his hiding places. 🙂
There is no other word to describe today than epic. And, tomorrow is going to be an even bigger day!