Day Two - iMfolozi Game Park

Beez Neez
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Mon 18 Nov 2019 23:47
Day Two – iMfolozi Game Park
 
 
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After a stunning Trevor breakfast, we headed to the Cheetah Project and had a splendid time. That done we drove to the Hluhluwe Park gate with the intention of driving swiftly (40 km speed limit) to explore the iMfolozi side of the park. Our target (well Trevor’s as senior spotter) to find elephants.
 
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No sooner than we got going Trevor was on the case and of course we stopped to enjoy a couple of buffalo and then a couple of zebra. I felt in my water this was going to be a special day.
 
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Such a huge landscape, Trevor was worried about the chances of elephant......
 
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.....but he was on fire for anything – another couple of zebra and a darling little chap trotting behind mum.
 
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A giraffe next, who gave us a nod.
 
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The rear end of a rhino and in the far distance YAY elephants – we’ve ticked off the Big 5.
 
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Impala not in a rush to get out of the way.
 
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Such a pretty animal.
 
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We watched the patriarch marking his territory.
 
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A chap just after his mud bath.
 
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The classic outline of a vulture, a hawk and a helmeted guinea fowl.
 
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Oooo, an elephant up so much closer. Wow.
 
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Trevor had the bit between his teeth for more elephants but gave me time with a pin-tailed whydah.
 
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A comfort break saw us pose beside a burial mound an isiVivaneni, I’m wearing a hat that Kimi leant out of the car and retrieved.
 
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We got the boys to have fun too.
 
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We crossed the White Imfolozi River, we would return later for something special.
 
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The Matriarch. We were in no danger so long as we didn’t get between her and her ‘flock’. Look at those feet.
 
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Windows open, we heard a tiny toot from a tiny Dumbo, mum’s ear went up and she trotted toward her herd. She stopped, turned and gave us such an amazing show of her strength and beauty. After this wonderful pose she got down, literally, to the business of grazing. She pushed a smallish tree, we heard some cracks, then she knelt on it and began to scruff about in the roots. Of course, between us we took hundreds and hundreds of pictures and the best have their own blog.
 
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We watched her intently as she grazed.
 
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We could hear every crunch. How close was she ???
 
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Kimi taking her picture and watching her move off.
 
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Scared, no far too in the moment. What an experience to be so close.
 
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Thirty-five minutes later our lady wandered off with her family. I made the guess that they would head toward the river and we made short work to get a prime viewing position and wait, as it happens we were alone.
 
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Time for a count up. Total seventeen. The matriarch, two itsy-bitsy babies, a lead male, two adolescents who played and pushed each other, two teenagers and eight females. Fantastic.
 
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We waited for about twenty minutes and were rewarded when the two adolescents led the way to drink. By now our camera batteries were running down. IPad in hand the group began to come out into the river.
 
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Gasps and hands clapped to faces we watched in horror as a bigger elephant pushed the little one under and looked like it was going to kneel on it. All calm when we realised that the ‘nanny’ wanted nothing more than see the baby got a good wash behind the ears. Phew. Sadly, we had to make tracks to get to the gate and on our way.
 
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At the gate, there was a colourful chap doing a great job.
 
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A tree with many weaver bird nests.
 
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To say we were buoyant would be an understatement.
 
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Wonderful messages around the base of the pillar of the Peace Memorial. On one side of the pillar were some very sage quotes: “Unless we change the way we treat our environment.... How we treat the resources it provides us with.... Then I am afraid, we are entering a landscape we hardly know the consequences of.” Dr Bandile Mkhize Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife CEO. 
“Wildlife and the environment are critical for the well-being of the nation.”  King Goodwill Zwelithini Ka-Bhekuzulu.
“The sun rises each day in glory of those who defended the parks of Kwazulu Natal.” Dr Ian Player.
“We must have a thorough understanding of the laws of thought and how they operate. Then alone can man understand that nature conservation is part of one’s life.” Swami Sivananda.
“The work that we do for conservation is work we do for God.” Mr Magqubu Ntombela. Those that sacrificed their lives in the call of duty preserving our environment and our rich wildlife are an inspiration to our future generation. Mr Ishar Ramlutchman.
 
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We left the gate with its Memorial to Peace and saw a chap on the way out. Elated, it was time to head back to Richards Bay.
 
 
ALL IN ALL WHAT A DAY
                     AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE