Wow wow wow! Dinner was amazing. We shared our table with two other couples. One from Switzerland, the other from Germany. They could speak a little English but not a lot so conversation was limited. The food here at Hillsnek is incredible. Rod and Josh had Kingclip (a South African local fish) & Andrew & I had fillet steak with pepper sauce. It was all superior in quality as was the wine.. a lovely Sav Blanc & I really enjoyed the Pinotage (a South African red). Dessert was delicious also. It was then off to bed as we were all exhausted.
In the morning we were woken with a cup of tea and hot chocolate at 5.30 am then we were off with our guide Megan for our morning safari. It was dark when we left and were able to watch a sensational sunrise.
We spotted three giraffes in the distance. But what we saw next was breathtaking. We found the pride of lions (a male, female and two daughters). They were in the middle of a plain & moved towards our truck. We then followed them as they were trying to catch a warthog. They weren’t successful and moved on but not before we enjoyed considerable time in their company.
We were then lucky enough to find Rhino (southern white). They were very quiet & we spent ages watching them while they just stood then finally laid down. They are so funny, they look like they have armour on. The poaching problem with rhino horn in South Africa is huge. We saw the anti poaching unit a few times while we were in Hillsnek & they don’t look like should be messed with!
Coffee time and we were taken up to the top of the ridge where we enjoyed amazing views.
On the drive following we had a small flora lesson. We tasted the leaves off two trees. One was very sweet which was the reason the thorns developed to deter the animals from eating that plant. We also took in the lichen on the trees (Old Man’s Beard).
The next half of our morning was spent chasing the elephants. We watched them wander along, eating and moving & protecting their young. There is a particularly young one with them that is just soooo cute. Two young male elephants were behind the herd and we watched them face off each other & before you knew it, we were almost cut off by them. Megan expertly drove between them but we all got a bit of a fright.
It was then back to the lodge at about 9 . By now the temperature had risen considerably and after an amazing breakfast of eggs etc, we sat around the pool and table, doing crosswords, soaking up the sun, writing up blogs, downloading photos etc etc.
Lunch was served at 2 and we thoroughly enjoyed spinach & feta quiches and chicken flatbreads… Yum.
Then it was time for our afternoon safari. And what did we see? Lots of waterbuck, kudu, zebras, many varieties of birds, vervet monkeys. Megan found the elephants again. They were down in the river. We sat & watched on for a while then all of a sudden they started walking up the hill in front of us & up over the ridge. The others in the herd were originally hidden from us in the trees so we were very surprised when so many of them came out, one after another.. it was incredible & not in the least bit noisy. How can so many huge creatures be so hidden & so quiet?!?!?
During each safari we are given a break. In the morning it is a hot drink and in the afternoon it is a cold drink (gin & tonic for me & beers for the boys) and of course more food (as if we needed it). Megan would always pick the most amazing places to stop with the most spectacular views & we would just sit, chat & soak up the atmosphere.
Below are some examples of the beautiful scenery we enjoyed at Hillsnek.
The day had seen a change in the weather. A front had moved through and the temperature dropped considerably. By late afternoon the lightening lit up the darkening sky. On the drive back to the lodge we were lucky enough to find the lions again. They were on the plain just outside our lodge! Megan entertained us with stories of close encounters she & the other guides have had with the lions. She was telling us how much bolder they became at night!!! Back to the lodge at 6 and we were welcomed with hot towels and a lovely hot chocolate & the fire was blazing. It was then back to our “tent” where I enjoyed a hot bath then changed into warm clothes and it was then time to feed our faces AGAIN. Dinner was 3 courses as usual including a lovely mousse for entrée then a choice of beef kebabs or pork fillet then dessert was a lovely pudding somewhat like sticky date. Great wines again .. I’m enjoying the Sav Blanc that’s South African. The other couples had left and the Charmans enjoyed having the lodge to ourselves for the day. We sat around chatting & laughing & thoroughly enjoying our family time.
Rod then turned in for the night & the boys & I sat up talking for a while then Andrew turned in & Josh helped me with some technical issues & I finished off a bit of work. While Josh & I were sitting in the lounge we heard the lion roar. I have to admit it was a little unnerving so we headed off to bed too but we had to walk back on our own. The whole lodge is surrounded by electrical wire but still.. I walked pretty quickly & locked the door behind me as quick as I could lol!