torsdag 27 januari 2011
Entabeni, Day 3: Morning, Cheetahs, and going home
After dinner we relax in the lounge and talk about the elephants. Since I have been photographing the entire day I and since I have the fattest lens in the gang – this because the G family chose to go to another lodge – I get the look from the others to at least show some photos. So we have a nice photo session with a couple of beers. After that, I go straight to bed, there is a tomorrow waiting – a tomorrow that starts at 4.30.
Once more I set the alarm at very early to catch the sunrise. Not much difference, perhaps, but morning is my absolute favourite time of the day. The moment just before daybreak, ah, that is just lovely! So although the pictures might be similar, as well as the cro-cro singing from the cro-cro frogs (difficult to catch on frame), it was so refilling just sitting there and enjoying the evolving morning.
Down in the lake, a hippo is circling a small land mass. It dives below surface, probably to reap bottom leaves, stays down for a minute or so, then comes up to breathe. Then down again. When it comes up, it blows water, just like a whale. Very fun to watch! I wish I had a bigger lens, but you cannot have everything, nicht?
Anyway, we have time for one last safari tour. We have seen the lions, the rhinos, and the elephants, as well as countless gnus, impalas, antelopes, zebras, giraffes... and a few warthogs. We tried to find the buffalos but did not find them. The leopards, well, that would require another week. But there may be some cheetahs out there today, so we set out to find them.
The first reports indicate that they may be down the gorge, to the right. So we go there. No cheetahs, but a rather large flock of zebras. Nice!
Then we get other reports and we drive off at length to the left. Silence... Then – yes! On the other side of a large field two cheetahs have been spotted. We approach slowly, not saying a word.
So beautiful, so elegant, so proud. They just sit there, looking for something, maybe just looking out, maybe looking for something to eat. I look at them and, wow, how real this feels.
Slowly we back off and drive up the gorge again. We have breakfast and then something like hour to pack before we are driven to the gate by Trevor and Simon, where a charted bus takes us to Johannesburg airport. Dear Simon and Trevor, and the rest of you at Lakeside lodge, thank you so much for these two days and thank you so much for making them so memorable. I wish you best of luck, take care and defend this amazing reserve that you have!
A few hours later we get to the airport and some hours after that we are on our way back home. And many hours after that I stumble out in the cold, dark Swedish autumn, with a snowfall in progress, in shorts of course, wondering why I got on that plane...
To all the people I met in South Africa, thank you so much for your hospitality and warmness and for showing me your wonderful country. Thank you so much.