Nkambini Lodge Day 1

In reality I have no idea how I survived the flight my glands were agony and the ascent and decent was the worst by far. I grinned and bared it though – we were off to the bit I have been wanting to do the most – the Safari to see all of the animals – hopefully! I kept my head down and checked in as I was feeling so pants that I just knew that if anyone had asked me how I was feeling there would be Victoria Falls down my face. I reckon if anyone had told me that they could get me home to Mummy in 20 mins I would have gone.

We were given a torch and the remote for the air con and I remember putting my stuff in my room and it feeling like a blinking sauna and so I wacked the heating right down as I was going to roast later. Once our bags had been dropped off in our rooms (carried by people on their heads mainly despite there being a truck thing) we got extra layers as suggested as we were going out for a quick drive after ‘lunch’ but as we were later than expected (thanks to the CHAOS at Cape Town airport) we were only going to get about an hour and a bit of a drive as the Parks board are strict about what time you have to exit the park – and at this time of year because of the darker evenings it was half five.

Lunch was a bit of a no go area for me as it was riddled with peppers and I really didn’t fancy having to put up with the after effects out here and so I had a most delicious meal of potatoes and rice – with a beer too of course!! On some of the layers went with the camera and binos around the neck and I was ready to go. The breeze soon started getting to us and soon I had all of the layers that I had with me on and could hardly move for fabric!! It did keep me warm on the trip though. As we were not really likely to be able to go very far into the Kruger on this evenings visit I was not too hopeful of seeing any of the big 5 for starters and would have been quite happy just seeing some of the buck.

We were way luckier than that – we saw some zebra, a lone young male elephant, a giraffe, several buck and simply my favorite that evening of some white rhinos. There were three which we assumed were Mummy, Daddy and baby. It was simply wonderful sitting there in the golden light of the evening sun watching these three listening to us in case we were any danger to them – rhinos are very blind and so would probably not have seen us but have very acute hearing and you could see their tiny ears flapping away. When another car came up (not one of the other lots of jeeps) you could tell that they were getting flustered as their little ears were going tenfold. God it was great though. Literally just there in front of us these prehistoric looking animals in their own natural environment – once again the thought went through my mind that I really need to get a job as a ranger (is that the right word?) I would spend my life, every waking moment, going around the park just sitting and watching the animals – they are just so beautiful.

The evenings entertainment was a bomba – outside with traditional music and dancing – the clue there is in the outside bit. Bloomin freezing. But I had come well prepared. I went and put all of my bits and pieces back in my room and filled up my hot water bottle and shoved it up my jumper in between several of the layers so as not to burn my skin! OHMYGOD what an idea. I was roasty toasty standing in the bar where it all looked like we were smoking the air was so cold. Holding a cold beer too was really not the best of ideas as my hands were rather chilly to put it mildly. The conversation was hilarious and although we were all really cold it did nothing to dampen the spirits. The food itself was fairly non-plus and basic but then we are in the middle of nowhere and so there has to be a little bit of give. The ‘entertainment’ was in my view rubbish – we later heard that inside had a massive choir entertaining them where as we had 2 guys playing on xylophone type things and then one girl sort of dancing. And I mean sort of. No one was really taking much interest and I thought that she was just keeping warm until the rest of them came and joined her, but no, once she had disappeared I realised that that was actually it.

The fire was soon surrounded as we realised just how much heat it was giving off and of course the singing started all over again! We managed to keep it fairly clean though, most unlike us, as there were children around and most of our songs are not really ones that we felt the parents would be too impressed if their kids went around singing them?!!! We were however ‘told off’ for singing too loudly as there were some people that were sleeping and that we should consider at least moving inside at 10pm also as the bar closes. I think that most of us were quite happy to make our move to bed at around that time as we had a 5am wakeup call for breakfast and so on before we headed out for our full day safari. Eeeek, so excited!!! I emptied my hottie and refilled it patting myself on the back for the ingenious forward planning! Some of the others had no heating in their rooms at all; I had turned it back up to 31 when I came back after the safari and so it was nice and warm in there. I felt mighty relieved that mine was one of the few that was actually working.

Loads of the others had been really concerned about me in the morning and word had spread like wildfire that I was not quite myself. It was actually lovely to know that some were really quite concerned. I apologised for being a moody bitch and explained that if I had to talk about it that I would have started crying and wanted to go home – what a wuss hey!!


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