Leah’s Fantastic South African Adventure: Part Three

Continued from last week…

Our last stop was Kapama Private Game Reserve at the Buffalo Camp. It is a small camp of 20 luxury tents with a very big heart. Each tent had a free standing tub, his & hers wash basins, rain shower with a glass wall facing the bush, and a private deck. Each member of the staff, from the manager greeting us with homemade juice to the staff assisting with any request, made us feel more than welcome. 

On our first drive out with ranger Jeffrey and tracker Douglas we saw a male lion, two female lionesses and two female cubs. These guys were not terribly thin, but they looked like they could use a meal. The cubs rolled around a bit, often checking the sky for vultures, which indicate there is food nearby, ready for the stealing.

The next day, we saw the same lions with bellies like bowling balls. I saw the classic signs of a post-Thanksgiving meal – lethargy, groaning, and panting. Because lions do not sweat, they use panting to thermoregulate after exertion, eating a large meal or over-heating from sun exposure. The male and two females were dead to the world, and the cubs were roly-poly on the side lines.

Driving back to camp that night, we stumbled across the same lions again, still recovering from their meal. I can tell you, seeing a lion in full daylight is impressive, but seeing them under the cover of darkness was something else entirely. The 5 lions were laying across the road as our vehicle pulled up to them. Shortly after we stopped, we were surrounded by sleepy lions – a lioness and a cub on either side of the vehicle, and Dad at the front. After the lion’s tail almost hit Rick on the arm, we all stared in awe at the closeness and ease of these lions. Simply stated – they did not care that we were there. They knew that they could overpower us if needed – we were not competition.

On our last morning in Africa, we saw a tower of giraffes (when giraffes are together and standing still) as well as a journey of giraffes (when giraffes are together and moving). We were lucky enough able to see two giraffes “necking” on separate occasions. Unlike what humans might do in the back seat of a car, male giraffes establish social hierarchies by butting each other in the head, neck and body with their horns. Sometimes this is done to impress a female, and sometimes it is just for play – everyone’s got to practice.

So, all-in-all, Africa was by far the best trip I have ever been on, and if I ever forget it, at least I will have 4,000 photos to remind me.

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Our travels started back in March of 2020. Our trip started and included a great week in Tahiti then New Zealand. Although that’s when Covid exploded while we were there in Tahiti. That’s when we found out they had closed the border into NZ. Thankfully we had Esplanade to get us back home. We finally got back on track to New Zealand this March. We had a full itinerary planned. When we arrived, we had a driver waiting for us to take us to our Glamorous hotel with a great view of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Mountains in the background. We traveled to Milford Sound by bus then traveled thru out the scenic Milford Sound. Then they flew us back to our hotel. Another trip was on a Steamboat that took us to Farm. We had a great dinner there and tour of the farm that included the sheep dogs working the sheep. We could go on and on about this trip. The people from NZ our super nice. This trip was great from start to finish. Truly a bucket list trip. Esplanade will definitely be our choice for international travel, without a doubt. <br />

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