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Sunday, May 18, 2014

African Adventure 2014 - Chapungu Camp Day 5

On our final morning at Chapungu, we showered up before our final game drive. The sky was a bit cloudy, but the winds from the day before had died down. We set off in search of lion and rather quickly found a male lion's track in the dirt on the road. Though a little old, Cedrick tracked the tracks for a bit before Gerhard was informed of the two male lions nearby. We raced over just in time to see them resting near the side of the road. These males were part of the pride in the southern part of the reserve, patrolling their northern boundary. One was fast asleep, while the other looked at us before standing to walk further into the bush. It was a spectacular display; one that Ben had been hooping for. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a roar. Following the lions, we found some kudu females, zebra, and more lion tracks from the big male in the bride in the northern part of the reserve. We found a group of young male impala that were practicing battle by locking horns.

On the way to our morning hot chocolate and rusks, we managed to get stuck on an upward slope following a river crossing. After several spirited tries with Cedrick guiding, we jumped off to lighten the load and make it easier for Gerhard to clear the trenches. That seemed to do the trick, as he was up the slope in no time.

We parked near a head of wildebeest and some warthogs for our morning stop. We were able to chat with Cedric some more before Gerhard indicated we should grab what we want for our walking safari. From our brief rest, we began the journey back to camp. Not long into our walk, we heard the impala sound an alarm, indicating a predator was close by. Ben hoped we might be able to see, but the sound was coming from the opposite direction. On the walking safari, Gerhard pointed out a variety of plants and creepy crawly critters, such as golden orb spiders (Ben held one), kite spiders, dung beetles and termite mounds. When we encountered some ripe marula fruit on the ground, we stopped to try them. It was a little sour, but quite tasty. We wished we could have found more available for consumption. Gerhard also described the impact on placing roads incorrectly. About a hundred years ago, when the reserve was used predominately for hunting, the roads were placed to have good access to game. Now, they have learned that the roads are mostly placed on seep lines, changing the natural flow of water in the park. If they could change the road system, they would move them to the crests of the slopes, which would actually allow for better game viewing. This is rather unfeasible, so they try to make due as best they can.

When we returned to camp, we were greeted to another hot breakfast before we packed up to get ready for our transfer to Hoedspruit. We settled our bill and filled out the comment card. Chapungu was an absolutely fabulous place and one that we hope we can return to, especially if Gerhard and Chris are still there. Though beautiful, the people really do make this place special.

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