We had seen four of the big five in Balule Nature Reserve and then spotted a white rhino late in the day at Kruger National Park. The big five animals are lion, elephant, cape buffalo, leopard, rhino. The term comes from when big game hunters came to Africa to hunt. Now tourists come just to shoot them on their cameras in the wild. People become obsessed about seeing them, even considering their trip unsuccessful if they don’t spot them.
I want to see everything, not just the big 5, including birds; I have to admit I am a closeted bird watcher and can’t believe how many new birds I have seen; I have positively identified well over a hundred. Helen calls me a ‘twitcher’, a derogatory British term for bird watcher! I don’t care, I love birds.
Yellow bill hornbill on termite hill
Marshall Eagle takes flight
Hello gorgeous. Lappet-faced Vulture
After a great night of a fantastic bush dinner and lots of drinks finally everyone was off to bed, but the host of camp Joe, invited me for one last nightcap. He poured me a large shot of Jaegermeister, liquor of the devil. I know better, I can’t handle liquor like I used to, but I have to relearn this lesson every year or so.
I woke up to the usually quiet Richard (the tracker) pounding on our door “are you coming on the game drive, or what??!!” It was already after six, we were late for the morning game drive; he must have tried to get us up a few times already. “We will be there in a minute.” I hopped out of bed and staggered, I had a crushing headache and it felt like a nuclear meltdown in my stomach. I chugged a glass of water to put out the fire in my belly, it stayed down for about a minute. Helen was also not at her best either, and now after seeing my condition, said “let’s not go”. I refused, not wanting to miss our last game drive in this area. We got dressed in a hurry; thankfully it was only us on the drive and we weren’t holding anyone else up.
I can’t think of anything worse for a hangover than getting up at six am and going on a three-hour bumpy off-road ride under the African sun. Halfway through the drive we stopped for a coffee break. There was no way I could drink coffee, all I could muster was to grab a bottle of water and lay in the dirt.
After the break I was doing ok-ish; it was worth the pain as we saw a large herd of Cape Buffalo, huge animals with massive horns. We had not seen buffalo before, it was magical as they moved slowly around us in the Land Rover, apparently totally unconcerned with us, or my condition.