Sunday, October 2, 2011

A weekend at Thaba Metsi ~ Welgevonden Game Reserve.

2 weekends ago we went on a safari in Welgevonden Game Reserve. The lodge was a private lodge owned by Nissan who invited me and Dirk to join some other people. We had a beautiful time at the Thaba Mets lodge, a northern Sotho name meaning “Mountain of Water”.

The weather was quite nice, although a bit chilly on some of the game drives since it is an open jeep, but we saw a lot of game, had some great food and some fantastic times with our new made friends!

Jasmine and Juliet also had a great weekend, each of them stayed with their best friend for the weekend, so we had a child-free weekend and each of had a grand time, us and the kids!!

Here some pictures of the lodge and its surroundings, just beautiful!!

Relaxing and having a bite to eat on the deck, from L to R: Dirk, Sue, Brenda, Jenna and Will.

The first game drive and we ran into a mother and baby Rhino. The other Jeep has not seen these 2 yet, still looking at the dad in the bushes.

The mother and baby are charging us, we are in their way, and they start to stomp their feet and coming towards us...

And then, the other Jeep also see these 2. And look how the mom is looking at us, she doesn't like us...

We better leave... and let the other Jeep take a closer look at this 'lovely couple'

Even though we love to see the big game, I like to see these cute birds in the garden of the lodge. Since we haven't had rain in months here in SA, they appreciate the leaking hose and the fresh water.

Where water is, must be animals, so let's have a look around...

and of course there are, here are some Water Bucks. Lovely ring on their butt, so easy to recognize!

A lonely ranger... the wildebeest are most of the times in bigger groups, but then again on most of our safari trips we also see a single one. Just enjoying the space all by himself. Funny animals!

Elephants on their way to water, they are thirsty and on a stroll, no time for us to have a better look at them, before you know it they are hiding in the thick bushes. You would think such huge animals, but even up close and you can still miss them. Because they are very still when they walk.

And here, do you see this Klipspringer (rock jumper)? A small antelope looking at us?? Almost hiding so well and blending in with nature, but let me get you a close up... so you can see better.

Cute or what? It is only about twenty-two inches high at the shoulder, and weighs approximately forty pounds. Stocky and powerful, yet extremely agile, this shy and nervous antelope is unique. The male has delicate little horns about four to six inches long. Its ears are actually longer than its horns.

The highlight of the evening game drives are the sundowners we get. We step out of the Jeep in a safe and mostly open environment and have some snacks and drinks.

Some beers, wine and Amarula this time and of course the Biltong, a South African version of beef jerky... but better!

What animals are these you think?? LOL... that's the shadow of us ;-) I am just joking...

Nice reflection of a beer bottle Dirk is holding...

A group picture, nice weekend guys! Thank You Des & Brenda for inviting us!!

On the last game drive of the weekend we actually saw quite some general game, but this one is actually quite rare. A Roan antelope, don't see these often.

Look how great the face painting is, just absolutely amazing!! He is watching us and showing himself from all sides, so nice!!

And we see Zebra's. I just love them, so cute. But we still wondered are the stripes white on black, or black on white??

And look at this male Kudu, such a proud animal. Love it!!

And here his mate, the female Kudu. Gorgeous!!

We saw a couple of giraffes, but they were hiding in the bushes and couldn't get a real good shot of them, but I still love them. Such gracious animals. But I have some close up shots yesterday at the lion park, which I will show you in a few blog posts from now...

Here is Pumbaa the warthog and his girlfriend... they are hard to catch, very skittish. When you try to take a picture they run off. But our ranger was making some warthog sounds and these 2 were very curious to see where that other warthog was coming from... too cute!!

And then some more zebra's, can't resist to take some more pictures. You never know when you get the best shot of the whole trip. Since you can't control the side of the best lighting when you are on a game drive, I try to take a many pictures as possible and see later which ones are the best.

A mother and child zebra, how adorable.

A group of Wildebeests, they are such funny creatures. As if there bodies are kind of mismatched... We have a skull of one of these quirky animals hanging in our hallway.

How great is this picture of the 'Beauty & the Beast'. This white bird is an Egret. The Cattle Egrets will perch on rhinos and eat skin parasites they find there.

Good friends these perky little birds with these huge Rhinos, funny to see them so close together!

A beautiful weekend, and here a glimpse from the Jeep on the way back to the gate. Look how red the earth is, stunning!!

We had such a great weekend!! Each game drive is different, surprising, stunning and unpredictable. So you get really hooked to more... I can't wait for the next one!! The girls were a bit jealous that they couldn't join us, but I know there will be more to come for them and us. We are so spoiled to live in such a beautiful country and we enjoy it tremendously. How can you not be grateful to be surrounded by such beauty in nature. It keeps taking my breath away, each and every time!!

I wish you guys could be here with us and experience this for yourself!!
Mireille xx

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