Ultimate Africa – To Walk with Lions (July/August 2008)
a photographic safari in Botswana and Zimbabwe, Southern Africa
Day 10: Antelope Park (Tuesday 05 August 2008)
Waking up in our Flintstones rock paradise was lovely! After breakfast, I went for a back, neck and foot massage. It was perfect. I even managed to overcome my ticklish feet. The room was down by the swimming pool where the views are stunning. When they have weddings, that’s the area where they put up a marquee. The group that went out on a nature walk were just walking up past the swimming pool when I’d finished my massage so we all walked back to the lodge together and Heiko was waiting for me in the reception area.
We packed all our bags in the bus and trailer, and then I took Heiko down to see the swimming pool and the gorgeous view. We said our goodbyes to Billy and Pricilla, the owners of camp Amalinda, and said goodbye to their staff. Then off we set on a 3-hour drive to Antelope Park.
When we arrived at Antelope Park we went straight for some lunch and then Chris handed out the room keys (we’re staying in tents overlooking the river) and he explained the activities that are included in our itinerary. In the afternoon, a game drive is planned. Tomorrow at 6:30 there will be a walk with the lions, then there is a possibility for a horseback safari and/or an elephant back safari. We will also visit a childrens home and hand out gifts for them. We can also play with the lion cubs! When Chris mentioned the lion cubs there were quite a few aww’s! We collected our bags from the bus/trailer and headed off to find our tents.
Heiko went off to experiment with panning as there are a lot of birds here; I read the brochures about ALERT and the lion programme at Antelope Park. We met up with everyone at 4pm and headed into the game park in two vehicles – our driver’s name was Simba! The landscape in the park was beautiful and the late afternoon light was perfect.
We saw some people walking with lions and because the rest of the animals could smell their scent they tended to move away whenever we got too close – just in case our vehicle happened to be a lion! We saw Blesbok and Red Hartebeest for the first time on our trip, and we drove off road following the zebra. We watched wildebeest running and jumping across the road. There were plenty of impala, they can survive just about anywhere since they will eat anything! We also saw Kudu, waterbuck and a common duiker.
We could see the lion enclosures not too far from the road and right next door to the enclosures was the owners house. We could hear the lions roaring in the breeding centre.
There is less of a chill in the air here and it’s not as windy as the other places we’ve been, that, combined with a careful driver, made a very pleasant game drive. We got back to camp just as it was getting dark and after quick showers we headed over to the dining area to meet everyone else for dinner. We had two cats keeping us company because Nico and Peter were feeding them chicken and vegetable quiche!
After dinner, we went to sit by the fire and Marvin brought along his guitar and sang a few songs for us. We all got completely smoked out from the fire. Heiko and I headed back to our tent only to find our outside light wasn’t working so Heiko tried opening the padlock to the tent in the dark and I went back to the fire to tell Marvin we had no electricity, and of course we couldn’t see a thing because we didn’t bring a torch. One of our fuses had gone so with a flick of a switch we had electricity again and the lights came on. It’s pretty cold now so the fan heater is on tonight! Tomorrow morning we’re walking with lions – we really can’t wait!