|Saturday 6th October - South Africa - Dundee (yes, really!)
The done thing on safari is to rise early and go for a game drive. Those in the know say that early morning is a good time to see game. That suits us fine because our children routinely wake before 6 anyway. This morning we set off for our game drive at about 6.10, the girls sitting in the back seats with their bowls of cereals. We saw very few animals really, but thats how it goes sometimes.
We spent a couple of hours back at Hilltop Camp having breakfast, packing and playing in the playpark and then we set off towards the southern section of the park. During this part of the drive we saw more of the usual animals including more rhinos (theres nothing unusual about seeing rhinos in Hluhluwe Umfolozi park). At one stage we came across a few rhinos grazing beside the road so we slowed down to watch them. One rhino turned towards us and snorted so we wondered if he was a bit annoyed at us. After he had moved further from the road we slowly drove past him. Just as we were beside him he turned and charged towards the car. Engrained in my mind is the image of his face as he ran towards us, probably getting as close as 4 metres from the car. We didnt hang about obviously! Andrew stamped his right foot on the throttle but still attempted to photograph the charging rhino. without success!
There was another playpark on our route, so we stopped there before taking a circuitous route out of the park, hoping to spot the few animals that we havent yet seen male lions, leopard and wild dogs. We know that these 3 animals are amongst the most difficult to see, so we werent surprised when we didnt spot them. We enjoyed seeing elephants, buffaloes, antelopes and rhinos and then we left the park -
the final game park of the trip.
Our plan for tonight was to stay somewhere around Dundee. As the afternoon wore on it became clear that we had underestimated the distance and we had spent too much time dawdling about in Hluhluwe Umfolozi park. We were driving through rural Kwa Zulu Natal as the afternoon slid towards dusk. The landscape is beautiful rolling hills and big organised forestry plantations. The towns and villages are not so beautiful groups of small, box-like concrete buildings with corrugated iron roofs. Any attractive, wealthy house hides behind a high fence topped with barbed wire and guarded by dogs and/or a security guard. We passed signs beside the road declaring You are entering a protected area or Kwa Zulu Natal Zero Crime Tolerance. We had expected to come across a campsite or B&B somewhere, but the couple of B&Bs that we did find were full. With the earlier crime-warnings that wed heard ringing in our ears, we felt quite uncomfortable and wondered where wed end up sleeping tonight.
Just before Dundee we came across a few signs for accommodation and we began to relax well find somewhere here. In the end we landed on our feet and are staying at the lovely Escape B&B. A B&B is preferable to camping tonight because this evening there was an almighty thunder and lightning storm.
One particularly excellent thing about tonights accommodation is the fact that it has DSTV. Although we arrived too late to watch the England v. Australia RWC quarter final, we were able to enjoy the whole of the France v. New Zealand match.