Monday, March 12, 2007

Safari, Hluhluwe and Umfolozi, March 8-9th

Coming back from Mozambique we found accommodation as close to the park as possible. That way we could be at the gate when they opened up at six o’clock in the morning. The first day we saw some giraffes and some rhinos and lots of Impalas. We drove past a place where lions had been spotted, but the grass was just too bloody high for us to see anything. It was generally a good game-drive, and we got a feeling for some good spots in the park, but yet we didn’t have a really close encounter with any of the big guys. Until, right at the end when we were speeding like crazy to get to the gate, knowing that we were already too late. Then, suddenly two big rhinos decided to block the road very effectively. The female looked really nervous and agitated, running back and forth and throwing the head… and the horn around. I got the picture in my head of a matador pierced by the bull in the arenas in Spain… then we backed the car, thinking that we were the reason for this behaviour. Suddenly as we were sitting there looking and waiting for an opening I was aware of something in the side of my vision. A hyena was standing next to the car, only two metres away from me. It was looking at me, then the rhinos… walked a bit and all the time checking out the situation. Obviously this was the culprit, causing the distress. Just by the look of it I could feel the hair in the back of my neck was rising and we wound up the window… just enough so that the jaws of the beast couldn’t fit through the opening. With the powerful body and the dark big eyes it looked like pure evil… Even though it was a fraction of the size of the rhinos… I had no problem understanding the rhinos. Eventually we got out, and we had spent the entire day only in the Hluhluwe part. We had already decided we needed another day to cover Umfolozi as well.

The next morning we decided to just check out some of our favourite and most promising spots in Hluhluwe before we were gonna shoot down to Umfolozi. It turned out that we saw a hell of a lot of elephants, rhinos and water-buffalos in one place that we got so hooked up that we were still there at lunchtime… and far away from Umfolozi.

As we were driving towards the southern part of Hluhluwe the vegetation got less lush and more dry and open. We found it easier to spot the antelopes and the buck… hundreds all over the place… but we had the feeling that the really big guys preferred the thick bush where they could hide away. Further along, that theory had to be dumped when we saw herds of giraffes, rhinos and buffalos. Again we got hooked up and had to prioritize the really big ones only… in order to make it out before closing time. Still there was plenty of areas we did not cover in Umfolozi, and we could easily have spent one or two extra days there.

All in all, we saw masses of animals… but still not that feeling from other smaller parks that the park was so small that the animals were pretty much lined up for you. This was proper wilderness… and I’m sure for Oyvind it was a bit different from Elk-safari in L√łten at home in Norway.

1 comment:

Heritage Tours and Safaris said...

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