August 8 – South Africa

I had the best sleep ever last night.  My head hit the pillow and I didn’t open my eyes until just before 8 am this morning

We all got up at about the same time, but Penny had promised to call me at 8am and I had only been up for a few minutes when she knocked on the door.

We had a quick breakfast of porridge and coffee and we were on our way to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.  We had a tour booked for 10:00 am and got there around 9:30 am, so had time for a coffee before the tour. The guide was very knowledgeable about the animals under their care and didn’t mind us asking so many questions about Salome and her cubs.  He did not personally have anything to do with them, because access is very limited due to the plan of introducing the cubs into the wild when they are grown.

At the end of the tour, we talked to Leisha, who is one of the curators who looks after the cheetahs in that area of the facility.  She was wonderful to talk to.  We discussed the one cub who had hurt his/her foot and she thinks the cause of the injury might have been climbing the fence (which we have often seen).  It is a chain link fence and it would be easy to twist a paw.  The plan had been to keep an eye on the cub and if it got better, to just ignore and to call in a vet if it got worse.  It would be unwise to stress both Salome and the cub unless it was necessary.  Both her and many of the ones who watch them on the cam believe that it is getting better already.  Penny also asked if they were sure they got the right cubs back to Meg, the Cheetah in the next enclosure after the cubs arranged a play date when they were just a few weeks old.  Meg’s cubs managed to get under the fence and in with Salome and her cubs. I think they just wanted to be on camera too  :).  Anyway, Leisha said it was easy to tell the difference because Salome and her cubs have a white tip on the end of their tails and Meg and her cubs do not.

After the centre, Jurek and Penny took me towards Nkorho to show me part of the way to Sabi Sands and Nkorho, so I wouldn’t get lost on that portion of the drive there later in the month.  I am sure I would have had problems without that part of the tour, as there are a lot of turns involved and very little in the way of signage.  They also gave me instructions on finding the airport at Hoedspruit after I leave Nkorho – so I shouldn’t get lost there either.

Then we headed on more of a tour of the area.  We went up and down the nearby mountains on very twisty, up and down roads.

I had a bit of a scare with the phone I picked up at Johannesburg Airport.  It took me ages to find that place too but I did finally find it on Tuesday when I landed there.  Luckily, I had enough time before my flight to Nelspruit to get it.  I shut the phone off when getting onto the plane and when I turned it on last night, it needed a pin number and I had no idea what it was.  I looked at the papers I received and didn’t see one – but I was very tired by last night.  This morning, I did find the pin number just as I was about to give up and phone them.

Tonight we went to dinner at Kuka Restaurant in Hazyview and I had the most wonderful meal of kudu and ostrich with butternut and spinach. For starters, Penny and I shared pan-fried calamari, which was also delicious.  I am just sorry that I didn’t take a picture of it as it was presented fabulously.

After dinner, Penny and I checked in on Africam and then got to bed early, since we had an early start planned for tomorrow.

Impala Lily Aug 8 Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center
Impala Lily Aug 8 Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center

The Impala Lily is not endangered.  As a matter of fact, I found it blooming in many places, but this is the first picture I took of one.

Zebra Hoedspruit Aug 8
Zebra Hoedspruit Aug 8

Actually, the Zebra is not endangered either, but he was just so darn cute, I had to take his picture.

Wild Dog Hoedspruit Aug 8
Wild Dog Hoedspruit Aug 8
Wild Dog Hoedspruit Aug 8
Wild Dog Hoedspruit Aug 8
Sable Hoedspruit Aug 8
Sable Hoedspruit Aug 8
Sable Hoedspruit Aug 8
Sable Hoedspruit Aug 8

The little guy is a baby Sable.  🙂

Continued here.

Click here to start at the beginning of the trip instead of reading backwards.  🙂

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