Entabeni: Wildlife Crossings

After a hurried lunch at Ravineside Lodge, I got to experience my first safari ride at 4:15pm – no thanks to the coach driver from Hell. His stubbornness had resulted in the group’s late arrival at the lodge. The original scheduled game drive had to be shifted to a later time meaning a significant reduction in available daylight hours to view the wildlife. By the time the sun went down behind the mountains at 6:30pm, the grassland was already too dark to see and most of the wildlife had already gone home.

Here are some images of the wildlife and landscape (in chronological order) that I did manage to photograph before the last rays of light left the sky.

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A view of the waterhole seen from the top of the escarpment. The narrow gravel next to the cliff side is accessible to only one vehicle at a time, and leads all the way down the mountain to the waterhole in a series of steep and winding turns.
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Hippos cooling off in the waterhole.
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Impala crossing

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Homeward-bound

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Wildebeest grazing

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Back to the lodge before darkness sets in.

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On the way back to the lodge, we passed a herd of rhinos making their way home.
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Nightfall at Entabeni.

The next morning, I was up and ready by 5:30am for our second game drive. While everyone waited inside the lodge for the 4WDs to drive up, I remained outside to see if I could catch an Entabeni sunrise. Personally, I did not think that the spot where I was standing was a good location for a sunrise photo, but my options were limited as we were warned not to venture out of the compound in case of wildlife lurking nearby. I just wanted a snapshot of my first and only morning at Entabeni.

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Morning has broken.

I was so focused on getting a shot of the sunrise that I had not realised that a rhinoceros had entered my frame. I only noticed the rhino while scrolling through the photos on my laptop after my return from South Africa. What a nice surprise!

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This shot was taken moments later when I realised that a rhino was in the vicinity of the lodge. So happy that I managed to freeze the shot of the rhino going about its daily routine.
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Rhino making its approach towards the lodge. I took a couple of steps back. 
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It stopped in the middle of the track to enrich the soil with fertiliser.
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The ranger, the rhino and the sunrise
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All ready for the morning game drive.

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Wildebeest crossing

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A pair of sleepy rhinos

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Back to Ravineside Lodge

All in all, the game drives were exciting and lots of fun. I enjoyed the scenery and 4WD rides as much as I enjoyed viewing the wildlife.

The rangers went out of their way to make sure that we got to see as many animals as possible. Their sense of responsibility towards ensuring the safety of their guests at all times was commendable.

After breakfast, we got ready to check out of Entabeni. Everyone climbed into the waiting vehicles that would take us to the Security entrance where the coach was parked.

We waited for some time until someone asked what was causing the delay. The tour guide ran out, looking flustered and saying that she had tried to call the coach driver several times but he had refused to answer his phone. He finally made his appearance fifteen minutes later and got into the 4WD. Not a word of apology.

You would have thought that we would be well on our way to Pretoria after getting into the coach. As luck would have it, the coach refused to start as the engine had gone cold. We had to stand around for another hour while waiting for help to come and resuscitate the engine!

Despite the little hiccups, this was one of my best trips ever and I had a wonderful time. Coming on this safari was a real test at photographing the African landscape and wildlife. Everything was moving, shifting and changing simultaneously – the 4WD, the landscape, the wildlife, the light conditions. It was an unforgettable adventure and a great way to end the year.

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35 thoughts on “Entabeni: Wildlife Crossings

    1. The rhinos are a protected species but they are being hunted by poachers all the time. As for looking like scenes from the Lion King, I was so inspired after the trip that I decided to watch the movie all over again and make an attempt to play Circle of Life on the keyboard. 🙂

      1. looooooll on that keyboard thing! 😀 Videos or it didn’t happen. hahaha.. I always do that baby-cat-offering thing on my cats. I think they hate it. Maybe. lol!

      2. Ha! Ha! I suppose you can improvise by standing outside your balcony and make your “offering”. If you don’t have a balcony, a ladder will do! Don’t forget to turn on the Lion King music while you are doing this.

    1. Nice of you to drop by, Dave. If I was given a second chance at life and asked what I would want to be when I grow up, I would say, “To become a wildlife ranger”! The thought did cross my mind when I was there, wondering if they were hiring. Unfortunately I am not an African national and the ideal candidate for such a job would probably be someone in their mid-20s to 40s!! Missed the white lions and the leopards as my stay was too short… another good excuse to visit again! 🙂

      1. We are going to Canada this summer for our honey moon (we are getting married this summer in Iceland then continued our journey towards Canada). Since I have a limited number annual leave, that will be the only long trip planned in 2017 🙂

      2. Awesome to know that the both of you will be tying the knot this summer! I know that Iceland holds a special place in your heart so it’s no surprise that you will be fulfilling your marriage vows there. Heartiest
        Congratulations! 🙂

    1. It was rather therapeutic to be able to reconnect with nature and be worry-free! You should try it some time if opportunity knocks. It was a nice combination of solitude and adventure! Happy New Year! 🙂

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