We’re at Makakatana Bay Lodge in the northern part of Kwa Zulu Natal on the banks of Lake St Lucia not far from Swaziland. Having some wonderful viewings of giraffe, water buffalo, zebra, rhino, warthog families and many kinds of antelope with a fantastic guide named Riley who is both very knowledgeable and excited about his work. He’s also a great bartender and cook. We’ve had evening drinks with him on the savannah as well as a fantastic outdoor breakfast at the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park north of the Lodge in Zululand and surrounded by lovely hillside residences and small villages. We left the lodge about 5 this morning to travel to this famous park where there is lots to see.
On the day we arrived at the lodge we took a wrong turn and before we knew it we had glimpses of giraffe, zebra, warthogs and tons of colourful birds. It was very exciting to see these animals in the wild and protected. We spent one evening with this large lone bull elephant just watching him as the sun set and he wandered the plains. At a couple of points you’d swear he knew he was giving us a thrill – he was only 20 feet from our truck – and he seemed to pose for us. Riley was full of interesting information and knew just how close to get so as not to scare or disturb him but to give us a good sighting.
One of the pictures below is of Dung Beetles which live in elephant dung. Thanks to Louwrena, Riley’s colleague who taught us about these interesting creatures and actually had us hold them and their dung balls. The elephants wander the roads at night near the lodge – they come to eat from the trees and one night devoured the year’s crop of mangoes! By morning their dung is full of beetles which will live and reproduce in the dung – as well as recycle the dung into useful products for the ecosystem…a form of symbiosis. They are extremely efficient. Researchers found that a 1.5 km of dung attracted 16 thousand beetles who disposed of it in under 2 hours.
Having a wonderful trip and meeting many interesting people with lots of insight in to this wondefully complex country.