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Reports

Thursday, 4 October 2001
--> Manyeleti Reserve (SA) 2nd day

The night had passed with the groans of lions around the campsite and baboons going crazy about their presence. I heard elephants break down trees and an owl was making its usual nocturnal sounds.
When a lady set down a plate with coffee outside my tent and wakened me up, I only heard bird sounds.

After I drunk the coffee with a view on the quiet and serene forest in front of my tent, everybody gathered together for an early morning game drive.

It was cold. It was even colder during the night, I could not really imagine that. So two layers of sweaters tried to keep me warm as the Landrover hit the sandy tracks again.

Apparently the sun came up during the drive, but we all could not see it. A thin coating of clouds covered the sky.

First the driver David and ranger Philip wanted to find the leopard that was seen at the campsite last night. Philip discovered it's footprints and those of a group of hyenas on the run.

We drove through a dry sandy river, where two Landrovers would get stuck, so narrow was it.

We drove around acres and acres, but no trace of a leopard or its killing could be found.

Through the radio, Philip was informed about the discovery of a group of lions, seen by another car. We drove to the locations and got of the track and drove along dry trees and over high grass and suddenly the car stopped just 5 feet away from a group of lions.

Halfway the tour David pulled over again and set out a table where we were served coffee or tea.

The rest of the drive was spent driving around, searching for some wildlife that seemed to be out of the area at the moment. Except for a couple of giraffes at a water dam.

Back at the Honeyguide camp some new guests had arrived, they had flown in straight from London and were pretty tired. But they couldn't really become conscious of the fact that the appearance of wildlife was already so close.

I am probably one of the youngest people ever been to the camp, because most of them were older honeymooners or couples celebrate an amount of married years together.

I think I also was less amazed by it than they were. On the first day the guests heard about an elephant drinking out of the swimmingpool and one of the guest already squirted: "Oh no!"

With my background of living in Indonesia during the first five years of my life, my visit here gives me more a feeling of being a bit back again.

The day passed fast as I had a nap after a one hour foot safari around the campsite, where ranger Chris taught me more than I knew about the little flora and fauna in wildlife than I knew.

After lunch at 3pm everybody got in the trucks again for the sunset drive through the reserve.

It sounds that the only thing happening here were the drives around the reserve, but that was the thing I was waiting for everytime the Rover returned to the camp again.

I was sitting in the front, ready with my sweaters, because as the sun lowered itself to the horizon it got more and more chilly.

You can enjoy with me as the sun really hit the hills at the far away hills, I took many more photographs of this event, but published only the best. This was truly an unforgettable experience.

First the colours of the landscape changed. From yellow into magenta, even the herd of buffalo's seemed to change their skin. Brilliant!

In the darkness of the beginning night, Philip saw the reflection of his flashlight in the eyes of a lioness laying in the grass. She was one of a herd that left the group to go mating with a male.

Her groans for attention really thrilled my bones. It was like if the sound of that went through my body.

This wasn't the sound as I was used to on National Geographic tv-channel, this was in live images with Dolby surround breaking the silence of the night!

Dinner was terrific again and I really enjoyed the courses made by a new cook.

Can't believe I was also tired, so I got the grand tour along all the tents by the guarded rangers with their flashlights.

Of course there was something at my tent. The ranger hold everybody still and told me to make a shot of the darkness, with my digital camera and using the flash.

Well you can see the result and after the picture was taken we heard the sound of grass and heard the leopard that was there going for a walk.

Arriving at my tent, the ranger told me to close the zipper of my tent very good and wished me a good night of sleep.

I guess you'd know how I slept this night…

Good night Manyeleti!

Ramon.




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