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Day 15: Waking up in Motswari

back to my old self and lovin' life

overcast

I woke up healthy and chipper this morning after an uninterrupted full night's sleep. At 5:45 staff members walk from door to door waking everyone for 6:00 coffee and muffins in preparation for the 6:30 game drive. Hello? 15 minutes to get down to coffee? Do you know who I am? Well, I compromised and set my alarm for 5:30 in order to brush my teeth and dampen and blow dry my disheveled hair and then fly out the door.

Have I discussed mosquito netting? In every safari lodge they cover the bed with mosquito netting that hangs down from the ceiling. Very cliche-ish and sexy, but have you ever had to get up in the middle of the night and have to fight against Charlette' s web? There's an opening in the net somewhere but good luck finding it in the fog of half-sleep. Of course it comes down to a choice between bugs and not bugs so you deal with it. But maybe they could come up with another solution. Oh I know! How about screens in the windows?

Our game drive this morning was very fun. In this camp we have a guide and a "spotter" on each non-jeep. The spotter sits in a chair that is welded to the grill of the vehicle. He sits up high and looks for tracks and/or the best way in/out of the bush. Between our guide and spotter, they figured out that a leopard had made a kill, but a hyena had gotten it so the leopard will probably be up in a tree looking for her next meal. They determined this from paw prints and drag marks. (or they made it up, what would I know?) We drove around looking up and down and then the spotter pointed, and there she was, a beautiful cat up in a tree. She posed for a while, allowing us to take lots of pictures and ooh and ahh. Then she jumped down and disappeared.

It was after that that we stopped in the middle of nowhere and had a coffee break. A table was set up, complete with table cloth. Thermoses of hot water and instant coffee and tea bags were pulled out of a padded box, along with a container of butter cookies. It's kind of crazy, but it's fun. Then when we got back to the Lodge, a big brunch was served. I swear, they feed us six times a day.

The evening game drive today was a good one too. The weather was perfect - just a bit too warm and just a bit too humid, all dissolves into ideal once the non-jeep starts moving. We spent a lot of time watching elephants, giraffes, and a couple of Cape Buffalo males. They tell us that two males are more dangerous than a herd of females. No way.

I love the game drives! At some point they always include beverages and snacks. This evening we had g&t's overlooking a wide bend in a dry riverbed as the sun sets over a ridge of trees in the distance. This is referred to as a "Sundowner" (not to be confused with a "Nooner" which is a completely different concept entirely.) We six are delighted and celebrating but I notice that the guide and spotter have wandered off - I thought to answer the call of nature - but they suddenly both returned urgently whispering "back to the Land Rover, get in the Land Rover" and herded us back to the non-jeep. Of course our response was, "OK, but can we take our drinks with us?". I guess they both heard the sound of something approaching, went off to investigate, and saw those two Cape Buffalo approaching. We all piled into the vehicle, leaving the table and snacks behind (yes we had our drinks in hand) and waited for them to pass through. Needless to say this story got embellished over cocktails later - "they charged at us!! We just barely escaped!!"

One of the best experiences is 4 wheeling in the African grassland! I believe I get a bigger kick out of it than anyone else in the vehicle (except the driver, who I envy) OMG. over boulders, bushes, small trees - through sand, mud, rivers - up 45° embankment!!! What a kick! I just wish I could drive.

Dinner tonight was another gourmet feast served under the stars - filet mignon and various side dishes. A beautiful end to a great day.

Posted by Follow Carol 23:53 Archived in South Africa

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