|Friday 5th October - South Africa - Hluhluwe National Park
Black Creek Pioneer Village is a tourist centre in Toronto which attempts to recreate pioneer life. People dress up in period clothes, work in traditional ways and drive around in horses and carts. I visited Black Creek Pioneer Village when I was about 10.
Today we visited a Zulu equivalent - Dumazulu Cultural village close to Hluhluwe. We (and 2 busloads of tourists) were shown round the village, told about Zulu traditions and given a taste of Zulu beer. To finish our tour we then viewed a performance of dance and song. It was very well done, but it was obviously not reality. The whole time we were there I kept thinking about the Hamer people in Ethiopia and how utterly different that experience was. Time moves on and maybe in a decade or so a visit to a traditional Hamer village will be just like DumaZulu Cultural Village.
After visiting the village we drove on to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park. We had hoped to camp in the park, but thats not possible, so we booked a self-catering chalet at Hilltop Camp. We had forgotten that this is the weekend (one of the problems of being on holiday for such a long time), so when we enquired about accommodation there was only this one place available. We were lucky to get it and it is very nice.
On the way to Hilltop Camp we saw a lot of animals rhinos, a cheetah, a lioness, nyala, buffaloes. Theres a large number of rhinos in this park so now we are getting a bit blase about them, but you never get blase about seeing the big cats. We have yet to see a male lion, though. The only male lion we have seen in Africa was the poor creature at the zoo in Khartoum.
We visited a hide this afternoon. The girls were quiet (by their standards), but not absolutely silent, as should be the case in a hide. Thankfully there was nobody else there so we werent disturbing anyone elses game viewing. The hide was positioned at a pan and 4 or 5 giraffes came down to the pan to drink while we were there.
At one point today we were driving about 40 metres behind a white pick-up, which was following a massive bull elephant, perhaps about 20 metres behind it. The elephant was walking down the road and stopping occasionally to look round at the pick-up. We could see that the elephant wasnt happy, he seemed a bit agitated by the pick-up. When the elephant turned off the road into some bushes, the pick-up slowly crept past him, but just as they were level with him the elephant charged out of the bushes, his ears flapping. There was a burst of smoke from the pick-ups exhaust as the driver obviously put his foot to the floor. It was a scary thing to see. Theres nothing quite like a charging bull elephant to make you feel very, very small. We waited for a few minutes and then gingerly drove down the road, peering into the bushes all the time. The elephant stomped off and we drove away unchallenged.