The smoke that thunders

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park, Matabeleland in Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and have the possibility to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months back in 2019.

Early morning, we took the game drive vehicle once more to head out and find the buffaloes as well as hopefully the lions. On our way we spotted impalas, zebras, an elephant cow and kudus. 

The big herd of buffaloes was to be found at a waterhole, calmly drinking and relaxing. We spotted lots of lion and hyena tracks but no lions to be found. However we knew they must have been around, probably hiding in the bushes.

During the afternoon we went out for another lovely ride through the bush. We spotted the herd of sable antelopes between the trees and just enjoyed the sun setting in the vlei, while the fire place was lit up in camp and waited for our return.

Sunday was reserved for another conversation project, we visited the donkeys sanctuary build up in the small village of Dete by the help of MARESZim and Ride Zimbabwe. Any sick donkey of the village shall be brought to the Chief and he will then together with his son take care of the injured animals until they have recovered. The support, lots of hard work, medication, education and funding comes from the NGO, MARESZim with the support of Ride Zimbabwe. Your donation via MARESZim will save animal lives and support poorer communities in Zimbabwe.

On our way we shortly stopped at Hwange main camp to look after Nugget and Skanky, 2 horses from Ride Zimbabwe. Not far away we spotted about 6 – 7 old buffalo males. They were grazing just next to the main road.

The end of the holidays is coming closer and Monday morning started with the last ride through the vlei. We were lucky enough to see 2 secretary birds, tall birds that you will usually spot walking on the ground on the hunt for some food such as snakes, frogs, lizards and other small animals. The ride was fabulous and I enjoyed it a lot, still not wanting to believe that the 8 nights holiday in the bush will come to its end already.

The last afternoon was reserved for a game drive within Hwange National Park. When you enter these days your tires will be desinfected as well as yourself. After paying the fees you can drive through the boom and enjoy nature‘s beauty. The aim was to drive to Nyamandlovu pan that has a little hide lookout with lovely views on a waterhole. It’s an epic place for a perfect last night sundowner!

Unfortunately, the last day of my bush adventure had arrived and I packed my bags to hop on my transfer back to Vic Falls where I headed straight to PSMI for my COVID-19 PCR test. The results were ready within 2 hours, very efficient work. Afterwards, I enjoyed the vulture feeding at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge before I ventured off to see the mighty thundering smoke, the Vic Falls.

This time I was almost alone with the falls, due to COVID there aren’t many tourists around which makes the sighting very special and unique but of course the harder it is for the locals to keep their business up and running. It’s hard to see all the people that were depending on tourism and now have no jobs anymore. I so wish this will soon come to an end and change as yet again it’s the poorest of the poor that suffer the most! On the other side almost everyone has received their vaccine in this town and people are hopeful for the tourists to come visit their beautiful home.

The last night in Zim has arrived and I enjoyed my stay at Victoria Falls Safari Club that offers beautiful views into the bush and a waterhole where the baboons like to gather. During the evening hours there was also an elephant coming for its good night drink. Thanks Zimbabwe, for yet another unforgettable, peaceful holiday. It’s always special to visit and reconnect with nature. Happy to return soon!

My newest lessons learned in Northern Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls:

  1. Melting shoes – If you are smelling rubber at the fire place, your shoes might well be melting away already;
  2. Sunset views – Nyamandlovu platform is an epic place to enjoy a sundowner & 
  3. Fast testing – At PSMI in Victoria Falls you can get your PCR test results within 2 hours!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

The king and queens on the buffalo hunt

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park in Matabeleland, Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and have the possibility to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months in 2019.

Thursday was dedicated for the wire wire project from DARTWildlife Rescue where I helped to remove more than 11 kilometers in total of old telephone cable hanging around, non-functional anymore and not being taken care of by the company or the government. The work is very important to conservation as these cables get taken by poachers to make snares. And if poachers don’t take them, these cables are still a risk for animals as they get tangled up in the wire and could suffer an awful end of life. 

The removal of the cables is quite hard work and takes a lot of time but it’s very valuable. We collected several kilometers, about 11,5km along the main road from Vic Falls to Bulawayo. The local telephone company will not collect the wire however they are keen to collect money for the cable that must be returned to them as they are the owner. Some things are just hard to understand for my European heart but I guess things are just working very differently in Africa and you have to p(l)ay along.

Back at Iganyana Camp, I spotted some wildebeests hanging around at the waterhole along with some zebras in the fabulous golden hour light. Even a Kudu bull was making his way through the bushes in the far back before the light would fade away and give space to the star’s sprinkled sky that is so very calm and soothing. Only the occasional jackal or hyena calls disrupted the tranquility of the bush.

The next morning started with an early morning ride across the vlei. While we made our way towards the Painted Dog Conservation (PDC), we came across a huge buffalo herd grazing in the vlei. The herd was about 400-500 buffaloes. It was an epic sighting! Buffaloes watching us while we were watching them.

The rest of the ride took us through beautiful landscapes until we arrived at the PDC. The entrance building is build with wires that were collected in the bush and formerly used as snares, it’s impressive to see it and at the same time sad to know how much snares can be found in nature. In the building, gorgeous paintings explain the story of Eye Spot the painted dog that lived in the late 90s in Hwange National Park. Unfortunately he had a tragic ending and died with his pack when he was only 4 years old. The human wildlife conflict is not easy to be solved.

The center also gives home to injured wild dogs or others that are waiting to be released into the wild. At the moment there are 5 wild dogs that shall be released into the park once the park gives its ok, while 2 other dogs, Lucky and Peanut can no longer be released into the wild as their injury would make them a too easy target.

The afternoon was quite spectacular with the buffalo herd walking in front of the camp, making their way to the waterhole in front of Safari Lodge. With the game drive vehicle we followed them and enjoyed this very special sighting for a while. There were 2 herds joining up hence we saw about 1.000 buffaloes or so. Afterwards we took a guided walk through the bush around the area of the camp to spot some birds. We even found a pearl spotted owl, a tiny little owlet up in the trees.

Dinner had to wait for us this evening as the lions were seen in the vlei and we jumped on the game vehicle another time to find them. They were following the buffaloes and we spotted them walking on the road and in the bushes. We were so lucky as we could hear and see but mainly hear the lionesses hunting the buffaloes. There was lots of trampling in the bushes, lots of hooves running around and the lionesses would appear every now and then chasing the herd. No kill was made yet. But the males also arrived and the pride was hiding and lying in the bushes, surely waiting for a next attempt. On the way back to camp we were lucky enough to spot a small spotted genet.

Advice from a lion:
Roar with confidence. Be courageous. Take frequent naps. Let your mane loose. Show your pride. Live fiercely!


My newest lessons learned at Iganyana tented Camp:

  1. Wire Wire – antipoaching work starts in your neighborhood by removing valuable items that could be turned into snares;
  2. Spot the birds – those little flying species are hard to spot but even harder to catch with the camera &
  3. Follow the buffaloes – your chances are high to also find some lions around!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

Dinner with elephants

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Iganyana tented Camp at Hwange National Park, Matabeleland in Northern Zimbabwe. I am on leave for some days and very happy to reunite with Ride Zimbabwe, for whom I have worked for 3 months back in 2019.

I landed at Victoria Falls Airport and the drive from Vic Falls to the Camp at Hwange National Park is about 2 hours. On the way, we spotted already some elephants next to the road, which is quite common in Vic Falls area. The camp is called Iganyana tented Camp and is situated just outside the National Park but since the boundary is unfenced, game can really wander everywhere.

The tents of the camp are great, tucked away in the teak bush. Main camp looks out over the wide, open grass plain that is a main highway for wildlife to freely roam around. Since there is no fence you must be cautious to not run into any wildlife, especially at night. Hence, during the dark hours you have to be escorted whenever you want to walk between your room and the main camp area as this is Big 4 area.

The first afternoon was reserved to say hello to the horses at Iganyana and at main camp right at the entry of the National Park. On the way to main camp we spotted a big herd of buffaloes and a few hippos at a waterhole. The light was stunning, surely showing off its best!

I hope you have an experience that alters the course of your life because, after Africa, nothing has ever been the same

Suzanne Evans

There is a fireplace just in front of the main camp at Iganyana, it’s close to a waterhole that serves plenty of wildlife during the dry months. The first evening, held something special for me: candlelight dinner with the elephants. That’s definitely something very magical, devine! The moment with the elephants that drank just across the little wooden barrier was so special, I couldn’t even believe to be so close to these big, wild cows. They came with their babies, which were really funny and cute, one was still figuring out how to use its trunk.

During dinner we also heard a lion roaring at close distance and were lucky enough to be able to go on a night drive. We were looking for the lions but instead found the herds of elephants again, impala, springhare and even a pair of bat eared foxes. The latter are very seldom so this was really a treat! However, the lions moved on and we couldn’t spot them that night. Still hoping to find them during the next days though!

The next morning started with an easy morning ride around camp to get to know the area. We spotted impala, a huge herd of sable antelopes, also rather rare to spot them but it does seem as if the herd tends to hang around in this vlei. We also spotted some Marabou stork, first time that I saw those big birds in the wild that made it into the ugly 5. No lions to be seen even though I did hear them throughout the night, they were busy calling through the dark air.

My lunch time got interrupted by the herd of sables that came down the bushes to enjoy a drink at the waterhole. These antelopes are really beautiful and gorgeous to look at!

During the afternoon, a lovely ride was waiting for me. It started at the main camp at border of Hwange National Park, where we mounted the horses and took off towards our base camp at Iganyana, about 12km away. So nice being back and seeing the horses and the stable where I had been 2 years ago with Ride Zimbabwe. We spotted a steenbok running away from us, besides it was a calm, easy ride during the golden hour.

The elephants came again during the evening time to enjoy the waterhole. It’s just such a magical moment to see them calmly drinking a few feet away from me.

My newest lessons learned at Iganyana tented Camp:

  1. Candle light dinner with visitors – if you are lucky, the elephants will join you for dinner;
  2. Wild basil – is used to cure the flu & 
  3. Always be on the lookout – if you are in camp, have one eye on the waterhole to not miss some action going on!

Cheers to wandering the world and exploring Northern Zimbabwe – bye bye, salut and lisale kuhle ∞

Giving thanks and helping others

Hello, Bonjour and Salibonani from Matabeleland Animal Rescue & Equine Sanctuary (MARES ZIM) based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, which is an organisation saving donkeys and horses that are badly injured, abandonned or not treated correctly by their owners. It was a Voluntary Private Organisation formed in the early 2000’s during the land claims where many farmers were kicked off their farms and were unable to take their animals, including horses. Since then, Claire Einhorn dedicates her life to save the lives of these animals and leads now this registered charity in a politically tormented country that is suffering from a very bad drought this year. Her activities range from rescuing, rehabilitating and providing supplies for mainly donkeys and horses, which she does with her full heart and amazing local employees that help her.

This time of year I would like to make a donation towards her sanctuary and everyone who would like to join in, please contact me. Following, I will give you a bit more insights into her work and charity.

During my three months volunteering time in Zimbabwe, I could work with Claire for about two weeks and helped trying to cure a foal named Bandi (see my blog post). Claire showed me how to work with animals that suffered from bad treatments, how to gain back their trust and which medical treatment they need. She even showed me how to work with syringes and how to do an intravenous injection (IV). All throughout my stay in Zimbabwe she was there for me and helped me, even when I was about 100 kms away from her.

Helping all these badly injured animals, brings not only joy, but also plenty of moments of sorrow, when you don’t know what the future will bring for them. All the treatments are very expensive and need a lot of time dedicated to each and every patient.

Claire has 25-45 donkeys at her sanctuary at all time, depending how many donkeys are abandoned or can find a nice home somewhere else. Further, her stables hold about 8-12 horses. All of these animals have reached her sanctuary for the same reason: to have a last chance to survive. In order to keep the sanctuary going, Claire runs a very successful restaurant close by: Déjà vue. However, money is always a short supply when you have so many sick animals that need plenty of care. Therefore, I want to support her with a donation to her charity, if you are also interested in her work and would like to support her, let me know or even donate directly via her website.

Claire will be very happy to show you her work through videos, photos or documentations on her facebook page or instagram. Let’s share this beautiful, holly christmas time with others in need and bring a bit of the christmas spirit to Southern Africa.

My lessons learned:

  1. If you are dedicated with your full heart, you can make a huge difference and save other’s life.
  2. Saving one donkey won’t change the world but it will change the world for that donkey.
  3. Since its formation MARES has rescued and rehabilitated many animals until December 2019 – more than 350 donkeys, 280 hores and 60 other animals.

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞

Another fine day

Hello, Bonjour and Sawubona from Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, eSwatini (former Swaziland). Shortly after I had left Mkhaya Game Park I wanted to overtake a big, slow truck that was in front of me. Think well before doing such a maneuvre in this little African kingdom!

After a while I tried the maneuver on a hilltop ignoring the double solid line on the road indicating that there is no overtaking allowed. Here it happened. My luck was gone and the police car was just waiting at the border of the road waving me to the side. Oh oh, not good as I knew I committed a fault of driving – nothing I wanted to do in Southern Africa, as the arbitrariness of the police is already bad enough. Here I was now, unsure what was going to happen.

The officer was friendly, telling me that I was driving recklessly and he will charge me for this offense. 120 ZAR should I pay after showing my license and following him to his car. He gave me a receipt and suddenly decided that he just wanted to have 60 ZAR, I had no idea what made him change his mind but I was happy with his decision and the charge. Unsure if it was all correct and legal but it definitely seemed reasonable and the officer was kind, so nothing to complain about. It seems that eSwatini has some well mannered police officers.

Another hour of driving passed by without any problems before I reached my destination: Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. Happy to have arrived, I chose a nice campspot under the trees and enjoyed a braai evening. Next day started slow with a game drive on my own through the reserve. My way led me up the hills to the ridge trail where I started a short hike along the ridge up to the summit of what I assume was referred to the execution rock. The view was splendid, I could see a huge part of the park. 

From here, I was walking back to the car to spot some zebras, wildebeests, nyalas, kudus, crocodiles and beautiful birds. My goal was now to reach Reilly‘s rock where I had to drive through a protected area, this was the roan antelope project and I spotted my first roan antelopes here in eSwatini. Beautiful animals but severely endangered, unfortunately. Here they can breed in a protected environment together with waterbucks and even some springboks. For my very first time, I spotted plenty of blessboks. A nice, little reserve but somehow it didn’t fascinate me like the other ones. Well it’s going to be my last day and night in eSwatini so I might be ready for the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg now.

Early next morning I was on my way to Joburg, South Africa to stay at a friends house that I know from my volunteering time in Zimbabwe where I stayed at Cawston Wildlife Estate. Again, shortly after I started my journey a police officer waived his hands at me; I needed to stop. This time I got caught speeding. Oh oh, he said I did 92 km/h instead of 80 km/h. And again it was a fine of 120 ZAR that the officer was reducing to 60 ZAR before I could drive on. Lucky me, in eSwatini the fines are not too bad, the corruption level seems to be lower and the police officers are very friendly. All in all a very positive experience in this beautiful country.

After crossing borders easily, I continued my journey back in South Africa heading for Joburg with mixed feelings. But everything went just fine – at least for me, not for everyone. After having crossed the border I saw a bad car accident that must have just happened. One SUV was turned upside down with the driver standing outside, the front passenger had no chance for surviving. The whole scene was mind-disturbing. Once I passed the car a few minutes later the ambulance crossed my way, I knew already they are coming too late this time. I still hope this man has a pain-free life in heaven.

Some hours later I arrived in the big city and I stayed in a very gorgeous area, happy to meet up with friends and enjoying some amazing lamb shacks for dinner. It’s my last night in South Africa, tomorrow my flight for Mauritius will bring me a step closer towards home. I am not yet ready for this stunning journey to come to the inevitable end but I guess I have to.

I hope for some sunny and relaxing days in Mauritius, where I can reflect about all the fascinating travel experiences I had during the last few months and who knows what is to come next…

May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.

Nelson Mandela

My new lessons learned during my travels through eSwatini big game parks:

  1. Be prepared for dancing – every evening you can join a traditional eSwatini dance at the restaurant lodge;
  2. The ridge trail is a nice hike offering a splendid view on the reserve;
  3. Roan antelopes used to be extinct in eSwatini – due to a conservation project you can now find lots of them, which originally were donated from Cologne Zoo (way to go, Germany!).

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞

All about wildlife

Hello, Bonjour and Sawubona from Mkhaya Game Reserve, eSwatini (former Swaziland). After a short morning drive to this other big game park, I was greeted by some fabulous sable antelopes close to the entrance gate.

My car needed to stay safely at the main gate while my personal game drive started. Plenty of nyalas came into sight and I spotted my first black grey Big Five one followed by some magnificent white ones. A wonderful place and a great start into this reserve! Further, I saw giraffes, zebras, impalas, wildebeests – even a white one, eland antelopes, tsessebes, hippos, crocodiles and tracks of buffaloes. At one point the car broke down, luckily the guide knew quickly that it must be the pointer apparently and within a couple of minutes the driving continued and I did not have to spent the night in the open bush.

For lunch, some nyalas joined my table along with some crusted guinea fowls. The camp is magical, operating without electricity only with gas lanterns and candles while the rooms are located in semi-open stone rondavels. Welcome to Stoney Camp!

After my lunch, I spent some time in a hide close to a waterhole to find a rhino bathing in the mud. During the evenning drive, I could spot plenty of wildlife and even a crocodile that had made a kill within the few last hours, a warthog was the unlucky guy that served as dinner for this night.

Next morning was reserved for some game drives and a walking safari. I finally got a shot of the shy tsessebe antelope – unbelievable, it’s very hard to get them in front of your camera lense. The rest was all about the games such as giraffes, nyalas, impalas, wildebeests and even hippos as well as crocodiles. Of course, I spotted also some beautiful grey Big Five ones while they were taking a muddy bath. It was a very relaxed day full of great wildlife sightings that I truely enjoyed before heading further west to the last of the three big game parks in eSwatini: Mlilwane.

One cannot resist the lure of Africa

Rudyard Kipling

My new lessons learned during my travels through Mkhaya Game Reserve:

  1. You should know the basics of car engineering – otherwise you might find yourself sleeping in the bush;
  2. Spot well on the game drives – it’s the only reserve in eSwatini where you can find some white wildebeests;
  3. Enjoy cute company during lunch – plenty of nyalas will join you.  

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞

From road block to road block to grey rock

Hello, Bonjour and Sawubona from Hlane Royal National Park, eSwatini (former Swaziland). I have left Mozambique on a rainy day to head westwards on some muddy and sandy roads to cross the border at Goba and enter one of the last kingdoms of Africa.

During this 5 hour journey I had the challenge of passing through 3 Mozambiquan road blocks that I was a bit scared of I have to admit. The first road blocking police officer was not interested in my car, the second however waived me to stop. „Oh geeee“, I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with the cops here. One of the three men greeted me with a „Boa tarde“ – „Please let him speak English“! Luckily he did, started chatting and wanting to know from where I came and where I was going to, while two of his colleagues went with their heavy machine guns towards the back of my car. I tried to keep an eye on both of them through my side mirrors at the same time while trying to follow his nice conversation that I was not too sure where it was heading towards. The officer next to my window explained me he was just doing his job, well yes I could see that… still wondering what he wanted from me.

Finally, he asked if I had some water and I wanted to hand him my half full bottle but this obviously didn’t impress him. Therefore, I asked if he wanted to have some biskuits instead and he took them gleefully! Bribing the police I guess is the correct word for it, but luckily nothing else followed and I could drive off. Just to stumble into my third control but these guys showed no interest, which was perfectly fine for me as I had enough of my shares regarding the road blocks.

The eSwatini border came closer and closer, any other block roads more and more unlikely until I happily arrived at the little border post at Goba. I got my paper work and stamps done at the Mozambiquan side – by now I knew the all too well -, drove a few meters to the eSwatini immigrations office and checked in. Here I was eSwatini! I have to say this little kingdom greeted me with open arms and left me speechless: I could pay the 50 ZAR entry fee via credit card, normally it’s only cash that is ruling at borders in Southern Africa. Plus the officers were very efficient, friendly and working incredibly fast. I really couldn’t believe I was queuing in a line that was moving that quickly! Defintely the fastest and most efficient border crossing – such a lovely start!

A few minutes after the border another military road block was already waiting for me, I guess it’s my special, lucky day! So this time I had to stop and tell the officer my destination, how long I would stay and what was planned, which seemed ok for him as I planned 5 nights in this little country what is often only used as a „drive through“. This made him speak the magical words „drive off“. That was easy! 

I finally arrived at Hlane Royal National Reserve early afternoon to check in Ndlovu camp and set up my rooftop tent. It’s a lovely campsite without electricity but with beautiful candle lights. During the early evening I checked out the waterhole and was soon greeted by 4 grey Big Five ones, 3 adults and one little baby. Such a unique sighting, so rare I couldn’t believe it. This was the perfect ending for my long day.

Next morning started with a morning walk, I was on the hunt for big game and learnt a lot about trees, ants and elephant poop. Suddenly, there was a huge fresh dung place and here they were: 2 grey, adult females laying on the ground like solid rocks. They were peacefully resting not even noticing us walking around them. What a gorgeous sighting this morning!

The rest of the day I was busy with my own game drive through the reserve and occupied opening gates and spotting games such as giraffes, nyalas, impalas, zebras, waterbucks and wildebeests. Once the afternoon sun started to hit the bushveld with fantastic orange colour, two big grey ones just appeared out of the bushes and walked in front of my car. I had the pleasure to watch them for quite a while until they walked off. Shortly after another 2 grey, big beauties were laying lazily on the ground enjoying each other’s company.

Another amazing day that finished with 3 grey adults laying in the golden sun by the waterhole. Just incredible that I could witness all of them on this fantastic game drive day!

Back in my camp I got blessed again with the sighting of 3 adult grey ones accompanied by a smaller one, all 4 of them enjoying a good early evening drink before they trotted back into the bushes. Hlane Park definitely showed off with some divine game sights that I truely enjoyed! This excitement will surely continue tomorrow as I will head towards Mkhaya Game Reserve, where 5 game drives / walks with rangers will wait for me.

My new lessons learned during my travels through Hlane Royal National Park:

  1. Book a game drive – only a guided tour can bring you into the area where lions roam;
  2. Prepare yourself to open lots of gates – the park has different sections you will enter;
  3. Look for anthills if you are lost – the hilltop always points towards the North!

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞

On the borderline of corruption and crimes

Hello, Bonjour and Bom Dia from the golden beach in Mozambique. I decided to leave Kruger after 6 nights and an early game drive to hit the border at Komatipoort. This border crossing wasn’t without trouble and unnecessary cash payments. 

The South Aftican side of the border was straight forward but after receiving my gate pass the Mozambiquan side was a hustle and bustle with about 10 people smashing against my car window telling me to stop as they need to sign my pass. I wasn’t too sure about that but after a while I gave them my pass and in that moment it was clear that this wasn’t the most clever thing to do. They charged me 280 ZAR for the car insurance which actually is correct but the other 420 ZAR I payed where just a total rip off. Annoyed, I went to customs to get my visa for another 850 ZAR and my entry stamp. At least the guys had done all the declarations for my vehicle already. So I just needed the last signature on my gate pass, which I got this time from an official police man (blue uniform) and drove off. I just wanted to get out of this chaotic place. Welcome to Mozambique!

As I hit the tar road I relaxed but I was still wondering how many road blocks I would need to go through. I hoped it wouldn’t be many as I really wasn’t in the mood to mess with the corruption here. During the next 4 hours  I was mostly on roads in good conditions and luckily I passed 2 road blocks without any complications. The police officers waived me through, not even interested in my car. The last 6 km was on deep sand the only road leading to Ponta Malongane and my destination, the Tartaruga Maritima. A gorgeous tented camp in the bushes right next to the sandy dunes and the unbelievable long, empty beach with its turquoise water. It was just about looking as if I had found my paradise on this travel route – a lovely place without any other tourists, but amazing landscapes! I have to say I was very relieved to arrive here, find everything easy and the staff just adorable and helpful. The place is a self-catering lodge and I was very happy I decided against all fears to take some vegetables, eggs, milk and amazingly well tasting steaks accross the border, which by the way was an easy task; no one was interested in my fridge.

From the deck at the beach I even spotted a whale in the distance enjoying himself in the ocean. The beach is just incredibly long and beautiful; it allows a walk to Ponta do Ouro the next village which is about 7 km southwards. Ponta do Ouro is more touristique with little shops and restaurants and even one ATM, where I wanted to get some cash as all my cash got ripped off at the border. Unfortunately the ATM didn’t work, the next ATM is in Bela Vista, which is about an hour north and on a toll road where cash is needed. So, I tried different options but nothing worked, in the end I just let time pass at a small bar until magically the ATM started to give out cash again. This is Africa!

The little market in Ponta Malongane is really beautiful and I decided to take a stroll and look around. Everything is hand-made by the people of the community, I could even watch them sitting on a little stool carving gorgeous things out of wood. It’s a lovely place not very touristique and full of nice people trying to earn a living. Of course I couldn’t resist and came back to my tent with plenty of nice souvenirs, that barely fitted in my suitcase.

My new lessons learned during my travels in Mozambique:

  1. Don’t pay more than 280 ZAR for car insurance – at the Komatipoort border lots of unofficial official guys will come for you to make you pay more than needed;
  2. Have enough cash with you – border crossing with visa might be expensive and there is no ATM in Ponta Malongane;
  3. Enjoy a magnificent view of the ocean – you might spot some whales from the kitchen lodge of Tartaruga Maritima!

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and adeus ∞

It’s been a wild dog day

Hello, Bonjour and Sawubona from Kruger National Park, South Africa. The next morning started very early, I wanted to really spot a leopard now.

As I drove, the sun rose and left some fabulous sun rays touching the nature around me when I suddenly spotted a pack of wild dogs on their morning hunt. So blessed to see them, I didn’t except to see these lovely dogs. They were running around and greeting each other to just go off again into the bushes. A bit further two hyenas were strolling around, probably thinking they might get their share if the dogs will be lucky to catch something. Such an amazing start into this day!

I made my way slowly towards the south gate, where the area changed a lot. Just when a big five beauty crossed my way, huge, grey and determined to make his path: a rhino on its morning walk. Unbelievable, what a perfect sighting! More and more animals came into sight: giraffes, zebras, kudus and even nyalas were enjoying themselves today. 

When I got closer to the lower Sabie area the density of water, animals and traffic increased. Buffaloes were laying at the flowing sabie river next to drinking elephants and hippos. Occasionally I could see some crocodiles swimming along and saddle storks trying their best with fishing. This is a very nice area full of wildlife! And then a really heavy traffic jam arose in front of me, there must be something of big attention. After a while I manoeuvred myself to the sighting: 2 lionesses laying directly next to the street, about 7 meters away from my car. They were so beautiful and of course lazy as it was early afternoon. I watched them and had elephants as well as buffaloes to my other side, 3 of the big 5 in just one spot! That’s only possible here in the southern park I assumed. 

This could only be topped by a leopard sighting and there were plenty as I had heard. On my way I stopped to take some shots of crocs, hippos, giraffes, kudus, wildebeests and zebras, continuously heading south towards my camp at Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp. The sun was lowering itself already, turning my surroundings in fantastic reddish colors but no leopard to be seen today. However, I couldn’t believe my luck with all the great game views I did enjoy on this beautiful day. 

My dinner attracted two little bushbabies that were tremendously cute and not shy at all, I had to get a bit louder so they would stay away from my food. So, let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

My new lessons learned during my game drives in Kruger National Park:

  1. Prepare yourself for denser traffic – road congestions are quite common here;
  2. Water brings more animals – lots of gorgeous game are blocking the roads;
  3. You won’t be alone for dinner – surely some cute little bushbabies will observe you carefully!

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞

The big lazy cats

Hello, Bonjour and Sawubona from Kruger National Park, South Africa where I am on my way towards the southern part of the park. I started my personal hunt to find some cats.

But so far all I found was mostly beautiful elephants, wildebeests, kudus, lots of impalas, giraffes, southern ground hornbills eating a snake, jackals, hyenas, ostriches and even 2 big owls sitting in a tree. No cats so far. Once I arrived at Satara Camp I chose to follow the dirt road directing towards N‘wanetsi and made a big loop. Some beautiful sceneries with zebras and waterbucks came into sight. At one point lots of cars stopped and I asked what they are looking at: lions at distance! Here they are, but very far away I could barely see them but still lions were out there. 

I decided to drive on to see more game close by and others far away, until I arrived back on tared road. Another flock of cars and again: lions! But now very close by just next to the road, about 16 lionesses with their cubs. They were some lazy companions, just sleeping and only occasionally lifting their head or waggling their tails and ears. Nothing else happened here for quite a long time before I started the engine again.

As I drove I spotted a little jackal just sleeping close by the lions. Such a cutie! During the next hours towards Tamboti tent Camp, I spotted some more elephants drinking at a waterhole, giraffes eating leaves, kudus and impalas enjoying the last sun rays and then again! I glimpsed two tails walking away from the tar road, down towards the river bed: 2 lionesses strolling around; probably on the hunt. No one else had spotted them, they must have just crossed the streets one minute before I came. Such a special moment shortly before I reached my camp spot.

What a lovely day this has been! Ending with a gorgeous tent allowing a view on the Tamboti river bed where just four elephants where trompeting and greeting me with their best effort. I am happy to stay here 3 nights!

During the night I heard plenty of hyena callings and was eager to start the next day early, which I was rewarded with a male lion sighting close by the camp, he was laying in the short grass, facing away, not willing to move. After a while I decided to drive on with the destination: lion spotting.

I saw some elephants on my way, along with kudus, wildebeests, impalas, lilac-breasted roller, yellow hornbills, giraffes, dik-diks and a herd of buffaloes walking along with some zebras tempting to cross the roads. After 2 hours I arrived at the spot that was full of cars, lions must still be here. And they had just managed to cross the roads and were laying lazily now on the other road side. Unfortunately the grass and bushes are higher and thicker here making it hard to see them properly. I observed them for quite a long time before I started driving again. Now, with no destination in my mind.

I just drove along and made my way towards the N‘wanetsi campsite for lunch and then towards the N‘wane river to find some giraffes, zebras and an old elephant trying to drink. From there I took the main road back to my camp and found a big herd of elephants drinking at a waterhole, watched by a hippo and a crocodile in the water. 

Back at the main camp I booked my night drive and then I enjoyed some more elephants and buffaloes drinking at the waterhole by my campsite. A few hours later I got picked up to start shining my spotlight into the darkness. We spotted some impalas, wildebeests, hyenas, elephants, kudus, bushbabies and even a genet and 2 wild cats. Unfortunately no big cat for me. The drive was ok but not so very spectacular.

Next morning I tried some dirt roads where leopards and lions were apparently spotted according to the mapping point. The roads along the Timbavati river were quiet for hours, not many cars but also not so many animal sightings, a few giraffes, zebras, wildebeests and of course elephants and impalas. 

Once I hit the tar road again I could already see 7 and more cars lining up, there must be something! And yes, a pride of lionesses with their cubs. However, they were seeking the shades behind trees and bushes so it was very hard to actually see them. That’s why I decided to try my luck on the sweni river road, again here, it was very quiet, nothing much going on in the afternoon heat. So I drove back to the lion spot and I spotted a male lion this time (finally spotted the iconic king of the animals), he was chilling in the shade of a bush, not too close but I could see him! What a nice ending of this long day of driving around the western part of Kruger National Park.

My new lessons learned during my game drives in Kruger National Park:

  1. Tamboti camp has a nice little water place – tents 1 up to 6 enjoy a close by walk to it with views on the river bed;
  2. Spotlights need to work – a good battery helps a lot during a night drive;
  3. You can find some less busy roads in the park – but they might also lack of game!

Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞