Arriving at Hlane Royal National Park, the Waterhole by the restaurant was like a scene out of the Lion King!
Rhino, Hippo, Elephants, Impala, Stork, Ox Peckers and Crocodile, all that was missing was the Giraffe!
Another evening drive for Stephanie and Adrian Tonight followed by an early morning mountain bike ride around the park (to say they are excited would be an understatement!)
Again, these waters contain both Hippos and Crocodiles, but this time Stephanie and Adrian are on Kayaks.
Paddling in the waters with Hippos and crocs doesn’t seem like such a good idea as you carry your paddle to the waters edge…
…but after the first few strokes of the paddle you are soaring across the water and all thoughts of turning back are gone from your mind.
Lead by our trusty guide Justin, Stephanie and Adrian ventured out in search of the Hippos, Crocs and birdlife of the estuary.
Once more Adrian and Stephanie have decided that they’re not ready to leave South Africa yet.
But we caught them and brought them back!
Don’t worry you two, the estuary, the crocodiles, the hippos and the kayaks will still be here when you get back!
Adrian and Stephanie enjoyed yesterdays full day game drive so much that they’ve decided to go on another one!
They’ve clocked the Big 5 – but it would appear that’s not enough, they want to see a Cheetah in the wild and they want black rhino.
Well done Adrian!
On todays game drive he spotted the first Lion, and before the game ranger!
That never happens!!
Be proud :)
Today was a busy day!
The morning was spent tickling and feeding elephants…
The afternoon was spent having a spot of lunch at Ilala Weavers (and shopping) and then a tour around a local township.
And then the last item on the days agenda is a bit of a hardship….
We had a feast last night, everything must go! Due to laws in Swaziland you are not allowed to take any food products into the country so we ate and drank until we were fit to burst!
Armed with coffee fresh from the percolator (Antons travel companion who was greatly admired by Adrian) we woke ourselves from sleep and Stephanie ate Stephanies concuction of Pineapple and fruit Yoghurt :)
We all crossed the border without a hitch and proceeded to our breakfast stop in Swaziland overlooking a small lake. Little crocodile and BIG fish! Not to mention a teeny tiny water monitor who was basking on the frame work below the veranda.
Leopard! On the night drive last night Stephanie and Adrian saw a Leopard! They saw lots of animals, but I can’t tell you what they were as all they kept saying was “Leopard!!”.
Breakfast this morning brought us a handful of guests to the table, namely the Warthog family.
Out on the boat again today, but disaster stuck. No sooner had we pulled away from the dock than one of the valves snapped on the steering system causing a fountain of pink fluid.
We were covered in hydraulic fluid, but Adrian and Anton were in
heaven as they tried to fix the boat!
Stephanie and I decided that it would be unfair if we let the boys do all the hard work, so we hooked the bait on the lines and opened a couple of beers to keep us hydrated as we fished.
We were going for big catches, namely Hippo and Crocodile (or at least that is what Stephanie and I told anyone that asked)!
After a while the boys decided that the boat could wait as they could see Tigerfish from the boat where it was moored.
The worst bit about any trip is the travelling to get there and then once you are there travelling around in-country.
Whilst the journey times from our base in Hluhluwe are not too long, we like to mix it up a bit, so the next leg of our journey is by boat.
What a shame it just happens to be on a really good fishing spot too!
Armed with our mask and snorkels (no flippers/fins needed at this reef!) We crossed the estuary feeling the alternating hot and cold currents swirling around us.
The beauty of the snorkelling at Kosi Bay is that you swim across a channel and walk up on to the sand bank that runs parralel to the reef, walk along the sand bank, and lower yourself once more into the balmy waters of Kosi Bay Mouth.
But now is where the hard work comes… Ok, only joking – all you
need to do now is float with the current, cameras at the ready.
Effort free snorkelling gave us plenty of energy for posing under the water and playing with our cameras.
A beach day at Kosi bay!
Stephanie was more than a little happy at this prospect, although in truth we all were. It is hot, and the mere thought of swimming was making us all eager to get to the beach.
Even Tommy was eager to get to the water!
The visit to the fishtraps is first. this sustainable fishing method is as much a part of conserving the area as preserving the traditional Tsonga culture.
Elmon explained how the fish trap worked to us and gave us spear fishing lessons to show us how hard it is, then it was time to walk/splash out to the fishtraps to take a look for ourselves.
We were in luck, one of Elmons fishtraps had bream, grunter, mullet and even kingfish! So we got to test our wits against that of the fish and try our hand at spearing dinner.
Stephanie speared her fish on the first try… Sleep with one eye open Adrian…!
We all emerged from the handmade cage triumphant. We would have a feast tonight!
But no time for smugly posing with our catches…
…oh, ok then just a little…
So, after an extremely long flight from Toronto to Vancouver, to Johannesburg, to Durban and then a 3 hour drive to Umkhumbi Lodge, Stephanie and Adrian were finally with us (and I thought my 18 hour flights were bad)!
After a shower and a quick nap for Stephanie (she made the mistake of lying down – ‘for just a second’) it was dinner and then straight to bed!
Today the tour began with a short commute to Amangwane Kosi Bay, an interpretive walk with Tommy around the area of Kosi Bay including a stop at the viewpoint.
Then back to camp to refuel our tired, hot bodies.
Except may be a glass of wine as you relax…
But there is no time for relaxing as Stephanie swaps camera tips with Meera, another guest we have staying with us as Adrian wanders around camp to find a different sunset view from the rest of us.