Biggers and Horton's South African Adventure travel blog

We left Lion Sands Narina with heavy hearts, as we knew we would miss all of the wonderful people that made our time there so memorable. Ismael and Wanted, Darren, Eugene, Ellon, Simon and all the rest. Thank you for such an unbelievable time and you are all very special people! We made the hour trek to Ulusaba, which would be our last stop on this African adventure. Ulusaba is game reserve located in Sabi Sands and owned by the English billionaire Richard Branson. We were greeted warmly upon our arrival and shown to our rooms. The property is much different than Narina. Whereas Narina was a bit more rustic but incredible, this place definitely has more of a resort-style feel. Again, the lodge itself is spectacular and the rooms are very well appointed. We met for some lunch and immediately saw elephants, giraffes, enala, and impala. Did I mention we saw a couple of zebras on the drive in?

After lunch, we walked across 4 sections of a suspension bridge and made our way to the Treehouse to view the hippos. Because of the drought here, many properties are trying to relocate hippos to other parts of Africa that have seen more rain. Otherwise, the hippos will starve to death. It was funny to watch these creatures as they rose from the pond and snorted. After a bit, we walked back and got ready for high tea and our game drive with Sean and James who were our guide and our tracker. We set out in the vehicle and spotted a giraffe drinking from a pond almost immediately. We had not seen that before so it was interesting to see. After some distance, we found a pack of wild dogs (their cute puppies were there too) and sat and watched for quite some time. They ran around and played just like a domestic dog would, but they are much more dangerous than Millie our Goldendoodle! We moved on but soon learned they had made a kill (we had suspected they had moved on to hunt) and quickly arrived at the site.

The entire pack was gnawing and pulling at the now-dead impala. We had not seen this before and it was fascinating to see how these dogs eat. In very short time, there would be nothing left of the impala except for bones, which the hyenas would eat on for weeks. After the adults ate, they would regurgitate their food in order for the young ones of the pack to eat. We left and continued to see animals. Cape buffalo, giraffes, wildebeest, impala, elephants, and a rhino. We were looking for a leopard as one had been spotted but we had not seen her yet. We stopped for a gin and tonic and some snacks in the bush, and soon got a report of a leopard that had made a kill.

We quickly drove to the site, and another group had a spotlight on a female leopard that had climbed a tree with a 100-pound impala in tow. Circling the base of the tree was two hyena that came close (uncomfortably so) to the vehicle, but we knew they would not bother us. We spent a good deal of time watching the leopard eat, and tear, and chew this animal. She would often take a break, close her eyes, and rest for a few minutes as if the eating had made her tired. After a while, it was time to head back to the lodge, but the two feedings we had seen that afternoon were a first for us, and something that is very rare to see. We felt lucky that we had had another wonderful experience on that first day at Ulusaba.

Back at the lodge, we were directed to the bar for a pre-dinner drink. It was African heritage day, and one of our servers was dressed in full African regalia. The chef came out and explained the menu for the evening, and we were directed to the outdoor communal table for our meal. We met some lovely folks from the UK. Most at the lodge are British or Scottish, and we had a nice conversation with them over soups, salads, tuna, ostrich, cheese, custard, and of course, more wine. It was ten o’clock and our wake up call was to be at 5 am so we retired to the room for some sleep. Again, it was another day of first-time and once-in-a-lifetime experiences and we cherished every minutes of it.

More to come in the next couple of days before we head back to the U.S. and we will try and post more pictures as well. Signing off for now.

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