Friday, January 4, 2019

The Elusive Lions! Day 6 11/2/18

I got a bit sidetracked with the holidays the past couple of weeks, but I'm back and ready to continue along with the adventures from my trip to South Africa back in November! And boy, day 6 was quite the adventure!  Today was our last day at Lion Sands, as we would be moving to another lodge this afternoon. But we had one more game drive this morning. We were up bright an early and ready to go.... almost right away our tracker spotted something in the dirt. Lion paw prints! Well, this was exciting! Remember the only lions we had seen so far were far across the river and were pretty difficult to see without binoculars!  With the spotting of the tracks, a coordinated effort began between our guide, our other group and another vehicle from our lodge to try to figure out just where these lions may be. As I mentioned before, this reserve was fairly dense when it came to brush and didn't have a huge road structure. This means that the animals could travel into the brush without being seen pretty well.

Next thing we knew, Rector and Morne asked us if we would be ok if they both left us while they went off and looked for the lion on and we waited. Um...sure? He told us to absolutely not get out of the vehicle and to stay put!  We did.  They came back in a few minutes and off we went. They had an idea of where the lion was and it was off into the bush we went! This was exciting!

Next thing we know, we're heading into that dry river bed.  They think this may be the best way to reach the area where the lions are.

All the while the three vehicles are communicating with one another to see if anyone has spotted new tracks. 

After quite some time, our two groups met up at the treehouse to come up with a plan. Our trackers went off into the bush and the two vehicles split off, hoping that we would meet up with the lions and then the trackers.

We did, we eventually picked up Rector again.  The trackers found the lions! You can see just how deep into the bush we are. They knew just where we were going though and exactly where the lions were. We were pretty sure that because this was our last drive, they didn't want us to miss out on seeing this pride. We moved forward, through the trees and branches and slowly we caught sight of them!

And they caught sight of us too. Kind of a look like, what took you so long! We've been here all this time! 

We were just in awe. Such beautiful, and majestic animals! They didn't seem to care one bit that we were so close to them. They went about their business of relaxing. Both of our vehicles caught up with one another at about the same time and we just sat there for about thirty minutes or so, taking pictures and taking it all in.  This was what it was all about. 

He may even have gotten a little bored with us watching him.  Such a big yawn!

After our time with the lions felt complete, we left. Leaving a little mark in the dirt, at the entrance to where we left the road so the third vehicle that was working to track them could find them. We went back to the lodge to pack up and say our goodbyes to the wonderful staff. We'd miss our time there, but were also looking forward to our next destination! How could it even compare to what we'd experienced this morning? Would it?

On our way to the airport we stopped at one of the other Lion Sands lodges, the Ivory Lodge, to get a quick overview and comparison to the River Lodge. We didn't get a chance to see a room since they were booked and all full, but we saw some public areas. It too was a very nice lodge!

On the way out of the reserve, to the airport we saw these giraffes.  They were two males and across the road was a female.  They were definitely working on impressing her!

She's watching them to see who is the most impressive!

We reached the airport and boarded our charter flight to take us to the next lodge.  There is an option to drive, but the flight is definitely faster. This would get us there in time for lunch and then an afternoon/evening game drive! 

It was a tight squeeze! But we all fit! 

It was a super smooth flight, and the views below were just beautiful!

Next up, another lodge, and more safari time!  

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