Thursday, June 14, 2012

May 12, 2012: Road Block, Wild Dogs Galore & Close Encounters with Cheetah

Hi All,
We've spent the last 2 days exploring Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve. Yesterday was White Rhino Day. We saw 16 Rhinos while exploring the park. Our first encounter was with 2 bulls then out of the bush comes a cow with a calf. One of the bulls approached the cow and her calf became very upset. He wasn't about ready to give up mom yet and chased the bull off (photo 1).
Today we headed into the park early and encountered a road block of the elephant kind. I was happy that we were 4th in line behind the pick up truck (photo 2).

We continued along the main road and came upon another road block. This time it was caused by a pack of 17 African Wild Dogs! We followed them for half an hour. They were toying with the cars, running back and forth across the road before they got tired of the game and trotted off into the bush (photo 3).

We finally got a decent sighting of a male Nyala (photo 4).

We headed back to Emdomeni Lodge early to help feed the cats. The Lodge has a rehabilitation center for cats and there are Cheetah, African Wild Cats (photo 5),

Caracals and Servals in residence. I got to help feed the caracals by chucking zebra meat over the fence (photo 6).

Two of the male cheetahs were hand reared and were very tame. We were able to scratch them under their chins making them purr loudly (photo 7 ).

The center breeds cats that can't be released into the wild for one reason or another then gives the kittens/cubs to game reserves and parks in order to increase wild populations. One of the female Servals preferred her dinner up in a tree (photo 8).

That's it from South Africa. We're off to St. Lucia Wetlands early tomorrow morning.
Marc and Peggy

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