Well, this morning the pilot arrived by helicopter again! And this time I got a picture.
We met our guide, Tony, and embarked on the excursion to the Tala Game Reserve. It was a chilly, drizzly day and a respite from the hot weather we have been having. We drove through part of the city of Durban and learned that is is the largest harbor in Africa. There are many container ships here and lots of car ships being loaded and unloaded. There are 13 entrances to the port! The population of Durban is 4 million. We also learned that there are 11 million Zulu in South Africa. Our destination is a private game reserve in the KwaZulu-Natal hills. The reserve spans nearly 7,410 acres and is home to an area of indigenous acacia thornveld, open grassland and sensitive wetlands. There are over 300 bird species to be found here. When we got to the reserve, we boarded safari vehicles and met our guide for the safari, Milton.
It was a bumpy ride on dirt roads, and also off road to get closer to the animals. The first ones we saw were 14 giraffes (my favorite), very close to the road, and they even crossed while we stopped to watch.
By the way, I have many shots of the animals and will only include a few. The ones I didn’g get shots of – too far for my camera (although I think Norm got some) were the warthog mom with her baby – they moved too fast to capture, the hippo who only emerged from the water for a short time, the jackal, who blended in with the grasses and some of the impalas, secretary birds and also other types of antelopes. Here are some of the others: Wildebeasts (we saw herds of them)
White rhinos (the first we have seen in the wild..and they were CLOSE!) On our Botswana safari in 2011 the only rhinos were on Chief’s Island and we didn’t go there.
And even the remains of some animal’s kill.
And, back at the reception area – the biggest grasshopper I have ever seen!
There are armed guards in this reserve as there have been poachers. One of the rhinos survived but several others died as the poachers tranquilize them and remove the horns. Milton said that if poachers are caught, they are to be shot on sight. The rhinos have tracking devices around one leg so that they can always be located.
On our drive back through the town of Durban, I got a shot of a woman with a big box on her head. I don’t know how they balance these and they are very heavy.
We had a nice day and this was a preview for our 3 day safari which starts tomorrow. This reserve had no cats (lions and leopards) or elephants, all of which we will hopefully see at the Shamwari reserve.