Friday, February 25, 2011

Phinda - Rock Lodge

It was a 4 hour drive to Phinda - Rock Lodge and with so much rain along the way I thought we were in for some bad weather, on our arrival at the Reserve I was pleasantly surprised as it was cloudy but with lovely sunny patches, humid and warm and thankfully no rain. On our way from the Main gate to the lodge we spotted a few Zebra and some Giraffe but no impala which I thought was quite funny as they are normally the first ambassadors to welcome you to the bush.

We checked into our lovely room which consisted of a large double bed, huge bath, both indoor and outdoor showers and a deck overlooking the bush with our very own private plunge pool, dropping our bags off in the room we made our way to lunch which was a huge affair with a platter of salads, roast chicken, home made bread and an array of condiments, on the hot side was a stunning Vegetable Curry with Rice and a potato and leek Quiche, to round it all off was the most amazing banana ice cream.

After lunch it was back to our room for a little bit of relaxing and a quick dip in our plunge pool before heading off to high tea, although there was cake, biscuits and more snacks we stuck to the iced coffee as I didn't think we could fit any more in. There was also a cheeky visitor at high tea - a monkey stealing the sugar out of the pot, luckily the cake and snacks had not yet made it to the table as im sure he would have made off with a handful of those too. Once everyone was satisfied we were off on our game drive in search of the animals, we had not been on the game drive for more then 10 mins when we had the pleasure of a cheetah sighting, a male cheetah just relaxing in the shade, we watched him for a while and he just watched us back no doubt a normal afternoon for him.

After spending some time with the cheetah we move off and onto trying to find some lion, we tracked them for a while, spotting Zebra, Impala, Giraffe and Nyala along the way, but could not find the 3 youngsters we were looking for, no doubt they could see us driving around and around from their hiding place in a thicket. we carried on searching and were eventually rewarded with a sighting of one of the new large male lions that had recently been released onto the reserve, but by this time it was getting dark so not very good for photography but I snapped away regardless just because he was such a large lion - he had been sleeping all day but while we were watching decided to get up and move, he passed only a few feet away from the vehicle and everyone held their breath frozen as he moved passed. we followed him for a while hoping he would call out to his brother but I guess he was just lazy that night and didn't feel like vocalizing, we left him in peace mostly for the fact he had decided to lie down again and didn't look like he would be moving anytime soon and also because our stomachs were grumbling and dinner was calling.

On our return to the lodge we were greeted with dom pedros and a nice cool face cloth to freshen up with, we were then told we would be having dinner on our private deck that evening, so off to the the room we went, on entering our suite we were greeted by many little tea light candles and a table set up on the deck. dinner again was huge with a starter of curried bean soup with home made bread, main was a Lamb Curry with vegetables and potatoes and for dessert a chocolate pancake with fried banana.

The next morning we were up bright and early, ready for our game drive, after some morning tea we set off in search of Elephant, which we finally found after a while of ambling through the bush, spotting a few warthog, zebra and impala along the way. the herd of about 10-15 was moving fast through the bush not pausing to eat like they usually do, so we have to maneuver ourselves so we could keep on cutting them off at the next road as the bush was a little too think to follow behind them, after our exciting chase for the Elephant we carried on our way, this time coming across a female Cheetah, she was a little skittish and would not let us get too close, the complete opposite of the male we had seen the day before who was not phased by the vehicles at all, she seemed to be wanting to get away from something looking back into the bush every few steps, perhaps there were lion in the area - although we never did see them, we ended up losing her in a thicket of trees which im sure she entered to shake us off her tail as we were following closely. then on the way back to camp the clouds that had been threatening since yesterday opened up and it started to drizzle so on went our ponchos, away went my camera and then we carried on, rounding a corner we found a herd of Buffalo's slowly moving through the bush.

Back at Phinda - Rock Lodge the rain seemed to let up and had stopped by the time we made our way to breakfast, after eating our full of fresh fruit, yoghurt, bacon eggs etc. we were packed on our way back to sunny Durban, 1 night is defiantly too short when it comes to the bush.