2018 HAL World Cruise
Saturday, March 31 to Tuesday, April 3, 2018
This safari was much more than we had anticipated. The Lion Sands Narina Lodge, along with several others, is owned by the More family trust. The NJ More Field Guide College is also owned by them. Naturally, our guides and trackers were all graduates of the college and highly skilled. They are experts regarding the Savannah Woodlands, Kruger National Park, the wildlife, and the flora. Ecology is a primary concern for them, therefore, areas of the bush and specific trees and bushes were considered protected. We did not knock over any protected trees or bushes (although the animals themselves certainly did!) As a matter of fact, we did not drive through certain areas of the Savannah because the soil was considered fragile and needed to remain undisturbed. But of course, the animals ALWAYS had right-of-way wherever they were!
This post is an explanation of the process they used to give us a joyous safari experience. I hope the following pictures will tell the story. The next post will show you the majesty of the animals who live here!
This is the awesome vehicle we used for the safari drives.
It is made by Land Rover. Note the stadium seating for 6 passengers as well as regular seats for the Guide/driver and the seat in front for the Tracker. The Tracker has no seatbelt-only a single hand-hold! That makes it easy for him to jump on and off!
This vehicle can, and does, follow animals thru the Savannah rolling over bushes and trees and ruts and ravines. Notice the grill work.
Off we go! Twice a day, we would load up in the staging area and take off for several hours of tracking, sighting, and photographing.
The Lodge consists of 9 cottages and we had a total group of 17 from the ship. We occupied the entire lodge! We formed up into 3 groups and remained with our group for the entire 4 days. Although we did not adhear to the same schedule, we often met up.
Here are our fellow safari mates on the road. We did not travel as a caravan. However, the Guides were always in contact with each other and would relay animal sitings and locations. Often, we met up at the same location.
We’re after a pack of hyenas! If you zoom to the dead tree just beyond the fork in the road, you’ll see the pack moving. Look to the far left, and you’ll see the Defender that first spotted the hyenas.
One of the hyenas was curious and came up to the Defender. He tasted the running board and decided we were unworthy of any further attention!
In this photo, you see Mark, our Guide, on the radio with the other Defenders relaying our position as we follow an elephant hoping she’ll lead us to the herd (yes, she did.) Chris, our Tracker is looking for signs of any and all animals.
It was not unusual for all of us to converge in an area. Here we came together when a large pride of lions was found.
Lions at night. The evening safari drives were different than daytime. We used the headlights sparingly because many of the nocturnal animals rely on their night vision. We had a red lamp that put out a useful beam without affecting an animal’s vision
One evening we stopped at the Sabie River for a cocktail party befor returning to the lodge for dinner!!!
One afternoon, we left the Defender an set off on a walk about!
Our Tracker, Chris, took the Defender back to the lodge while our Guide, Mark, led us across the Savannah.
We stopped for a lesson on Dung Beetle balls.
Learning about Dung Beetles and Aardvarks. The Beetle will roll dung into a ball and then lay its eggs inside. It will be left to hatch. Aardvarks may find the nests and eat the baby Dung Beetles. Mother nature works in mysterious ways!
Empty Dung Beetle balls.
Mark displaying a Dung Beetle ball. You might find it interesting that Mark’s belt now has only 5 shells. The rest are, in fact, loaded in the rifle! We were always well protected!
Mark explains that termites are a source of protein in survival situations. He then proceeded to eat one! It bit him in the process.
Millipeds lay their eggs in fallen tree trunks. Termites thrive in deadwood. The results can be predicted. Many Milliped eggs are eaten by termintes as evidenced by those little white rings laying in the debris. That’s what’s left of a milliped egg.
Lots of Milliped eggshells!
Don’t forget we are WALKING through the bush. Mark is carrying a loaded weapon. And we are hoping to spot animals!
It’s hard to spot the wildlife in the bush. There is an Impala watching us make our way. Mark saw it and pointed out the light dirt color that is actually above ground level. Zoom in just left of the center tree.
There she is! The guides and trackers acquire an amazing skill for predicting, anticipating, sensing and spotting animals in the wild!
She determined we were not a threat and moved off.
Can you tell that Rog is loving this experience!!!
Next, you’ll see a few of the gazillion photos we took of the amazing animals in the African Savannah!