Chasing Wild Dogs in the Rain – part 2

Here is a continuation of my previous post:

We were shown to our cottage by Cavin who will be taking care of us in the dining and bar area for meals and drinks etc. Londolozi has five camps strung out along the Sand River. It’s one of the oldest private reserves in South Africa and was founded in 1926. A ferociously dedicated family run outfit, it serves as a model for other lodges and reserves. Pioneer Camp has only 3 suites and is either a very private setting for couples or can be taken altogether as a terrific family or group lodge. At the moment there are only five of us staying here. Loraine and Allan have one of the other suites and the third is occupied by a single American woman. This makes for a very intimate atmosphere. One of the things that sets Londolozi apart is the personal nature of the experience and the incredible level of service, not to mention the beautiful setting. You will never feel crowded at an animal sighting here and there is an amazing variety of abundant wildlife. Here are a few pictures of our stupendous suite which features an entryway, living area, beautiful bedroom with mosquito netted bed, and enormous bathroom. There is also a large deck with a plunge pool and an outdoor shower. We have big picture windows and great views of the bush.

 

After dropping our bags in our suite and taking it all in, we returned to the main lodge area just adjacent to have lunch on the deck. How nice it was to finally relax a bit! After lunch we did some unpacking and then returned for afternoon tea in preparation for our first safari drive. We have found there is certainly no lack of fabulous food and drink here. One thing is for certain, we will never go hungry and most likely will be adding a few pounds if we’re not careful! Kate met us for tea and showed us maps of the reserve to give us an orientation. After an ice coffee for me and a gluten free mini cheesecake, it was time to be off. It was just the four of us with Kate and Life. We climbed into our Land Rover with comfortable, padded, elevated seats and were handed sturdy ponchos in defense of the possible rain. Life sits up front hanging just off the front of the hood in a special tracker’s seat and Kate drives. I’ll try to get a picture of Life’s perch later to show you. It has been much cooler here than I anticipated which, actually, is not unwelcome. I donned my own rain jacket almost immediately and not long after we all donned ponchos. It was drizzly off and on, but we never got seriously wet or were uncomfortable despite being out in the elements. Kate mentioned that a pack of wild dogs had been spotted earlier in the day and that we would head off in that general direction to see if they were active. Wild dogs are quite rare and although they have sometimes had a den site on the Londolozi reserve, this pack’s current den has been moved further off. So the prospect of seeing wild dogs was apparently an exciting one. I say apparently not because we didn’t consider it exciting, but more because as safari neophytes, we have no real frame of reference for how rare it is. Along the way in search of wild dogs we saw giraffe, a leopard tortoise and some white rhino, along with countless birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing Wild Dogs in the Rain – part 1

I'm sitting in the lounge at Pioneer Camp in Londolozi having a drink and chatting with our very pleasant camp mates, Allan and Loraine. We've had quite an adventure this afternoon which has us sitting here instead of still being out on safari, but more on that later. So far we are having a wonderful time. I've barely had a chance to write and so now I must play a bit of catch up.

Our flight to Londolozi was easy but I found myself feeling impatient and just wanting to be there and have the journey done. We had one stop before Londolozi to drop some others at a different reserve……Well I got distracted by wonderful conversation and a scrumptious dinner…. So now we are back in our room after dinner. It's raining with lots of thunder and lightning going on. However our cottage is snug and dry so we are happy. Before I move on, here are a couple of pictures from our flight to Londolozi.

When we landed at the Londolozi airstrip we were met by our Ranger and Tracker team in a Land Rover. Our ranger is Kate Imrie who happens to be the head ranger. It's an honor to have her as our guide. She has been here ten years together with her husband, and in that time has had a couple of children and made this place her home. Our tracker is a quiet man named Life. He grew up in a local community nearby. They will be our team for the duration of our stay. There were two others on our plane who were also destined for Londolozi. Allan and Loraine hail from Perth, Australia and, as experienced safari goers, have proven to be wonderful companions. Kate and Life took us to camp where we were greeted by Graeme, the camp manager. He offered us a drink and gave us an orientation. A herd of elephants also greeted us as they meandered down the river in front of the lodge.