Greetings and Salutations
During the recent festive season I have did a few extra HIP and not HUP tours. That is since the name of the Umfolozi was changed to the Imfolozi. But nothing or little has changed about my tours. Usually we are out of bed before the sparrow can f..t! But in summer there tends to be a slightly odorous aroma that greets your nostrils on awakening, but a significant absence of the little feathered culprit. This is because the sun tends to rise earlier in summer. At 06h00 in winter it is still dark and you can disappear into the darkness before this little gaseous bird awakes. But this is not about sparrows and their early morning misdemeanors. This is about coffee and lions.
Anyway 05h00 is early. 06h00 is better but still early. Or oily if you are a sardine. Anyway after loading all the willing participants for a HIP trip, we headed in the direction of the sun that had set 12 hours before we started this tour. Okay, we went west. After 57 blurry kms we arrived at the HIP gate and exchanged a quantity of money that allowed us into this HIP Park. Generally on this trip most guests are fairly quiet. This I can only presume is to the lack of any significant amounts of caffeine in their blood system, or residual amounts that are so low that they have no awakening effect. After the ubiquitous gate we headed in any direction that has a picnic site. These picnic sites are great locations for coffee. Like twitchy would say in Hoodwinked "Cofffeeee, yummmeee!". On this particular occasion we somehow made it to the Mfapha hide. There was water in the plunge pool below the waterfall and a giraffee staring at the coffee coloured water from a distance. Pastrami and cheese sandwiches with a good side portion of coffee jerked the day into a realistic and recognizable form. Slowly our systems started functioning. Life and intellect seeped back into the cranial crevices where it had been missing for the last 12 hours.
Then a another couple joined us in the Mfapha hide and we greeted them passively and continue with our caffeine invigorating ceremony. Then out the blue two more people walked into the hide and announced there were six lions a little distance away! I asked exactly/approximately how far away. He said "1.4Km away" Well the effect of this announcement was more galvanizing than 6 cups of intravenous coffee. We whizzed out of the hide, but remembering to take a good look at the individual that made this announcement and his registration. 1.4km done the road there was nothing. 1.6 and 1.2 km there was nothing. We had been "Hoodwinked", the temptation to return and remove a large quantity of air from his inferior 4X4 was really tempting, but duty called. However the residual effect of this individual "Crying Wolf" was like being on an intravenous caffeine drip. Needless to say we had great success with a giant male lion, lions in a tree and antlions. We looked for dandy lions, but without success. Cheetah too, but none of those cats with rosettes of spots.
Well, remember if you are every in a hide that has little or no space, and there is a lion announcement, ask as many questions as possible. Or just say "we have seen lions!" once they have told you the location of the lions. Tell them that their is a leopard in the opposite direction. They can then see a fictitious leopard in a tree, with an impala kill". Although after your thorough questioning, you might just get the real answer.
Hasta la vista
The Knait Wrydah in the day.