Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Close encounters of the Animal kind, and other stories.......

And as it happens it is that time of the year for our bi-annual pilgrimage to the bush, i.e. The Pilanesberg.
A lot of people may not understand why we go there so often, well to put it simply it is one of the few places I feel totally at home and totally relaxed here in Africa.

And so we arrive early on Friday afternoon entering the park in the south with the intention of taking a nice slow drive up through the park until we arrive at Manyane resort where we have a timeshare chalet.

The drive turned into one of the most exciting drives we have ever had, elephants and rhino abounded 

"I'll just lean onto this itty bitty little bush to take the weight off my poor aching legs"

Taking an early evening stroll

Hippo leaving the dam for a forage

Hippo's foraging below the dam wall


As we were finishing the drive and heading for our camp, we took a little side road that we often take but usually don't see much, but did on a prior occasion hear wild dogs barking when all of a sudden there was a beautiful female lioness standing on the side of the road in the bush.....

Screech to a halt to watch .......... the evening went from great to fantastically surreal

 There were the cubs...

"If we all rush together we should be safe"

"Almost there...."

Then the cubs and one of the lioness's decided the road was a great place to relax  

"Damn I'm tired"

"My what big teeth you have!"

Ho Hum.....

And then out came the male - Epic Grandeur at its most regal best.
All in all there were two males lions, 3 lioness's and four cubs.
We sat watching them for an hour before they moved off into the bush and we had to move quickly to make the 18:00 gate exit deadline.

Our Chalet at Manyane Resort

As usual our chalet (not the one we normally have as we were not there on the date our timeshare usually happens) was extremely comfortable with a great patio area to braai (barbecue) and watch the sun go down while the guinea fowl peck around in the grass and as was the case this time we got to watch the impala run riot during the rutting, with the males trying to separate off the females for themselves all the while making the most alarming coughing, retching, gagging, hissing, gasping noises, must be impressive to the females I think.

Patio area where we ate dinner and breakfast

Back of chalet

Path to the front door

Front door

Guinea Fowl foraging in front of our patio
Impala and foal foraging in front of our patio

........... Next Morning 

So there I was, as one does of an early morning; brushing my teeth in the bathroom, the sun is shining, birds are twittering, the impala are still doing their guttural rutting rituals outside, and I had forgotten to close the front door to the chalet which incidentally is right next to the bathroom.......

Lo and behold whom shall enter by said front door.... none other than my old nemesis, my Moriarty, Blackbeard of the animal kingdom (See previous post)..... A BABOON a LARGE BABOON a very LARGE BABOON.    

Now I am of strong constitution in tight corners and suspect situations of which this was very much one... 
So electric toothbrush in hand and assuming my best swordsman's pose, I proceeded to lunge backwards and forwards making it seems very similar guttural noises as the previously mentioned Impala... 

                                   rrruuhhaaahhh.......bbbruuubbewaahhhaaa ........

Now these noises were accomplished with a mouth full of foamy toothpaste that was now spluttering all over the place included with and not excluding spray from the still running electric toothbrush.

I was I must comment, an impressive sight that would have put the fear of God into any and all living creatures ........ 

all except ...... 


It just stood there and looked at me, I bounced around, feinting and lunging , it looked, I made more noise, it looked, I bounced around some more feinting and lunging..... it looked, I may have even detected a slight raising of its eyebrow at this point
But by now I had horrible visions of my breakfast muffins making a very leisurely exit stage left out the chalet.

Pam on hearing the commotion from the bathroom strolls in from the bedroom sees the baboon, imperiously waves her hand and says "SHOOOO"....... Mr Baboon-Nemesis turns and bolts out the door......

Well that's that, you may say...
And why was I using an electric toothbrush as a weapon.... well I was in a bathroom in a chalet, one uses electric toothbrushes there, maybe If I was in a tent I wouldn't have had an electric toothbrush, but rather a sword, who knows......

So off we go again, into the bush for a leisurely drive, the afternoon before had somewhat in the extreme exhausted us mentally and emotionally, the conversation ran something like this....

Me: Don't know about you but I am exhausted after yesterday
Pam: Me too
Me: I wont mind too much if we don't see anything
Pam: Yes, we can drive around a bit and then maybe come back and relax at the chalet
Me: Sounds good
Pam: I hope we see something
Me: I'm sure well see lots
Pam: Hope so
Me: but if we don't its also OK

And so it went on in that vein until ..... OH MY GAWD..... there's a black backed Jackal.... and then the search was on for more game....... 

Black backed Jackal

Can't keep good spotters down.... NO SIREEE BOB.

Off to Sun City and the Valley of the Waves for the afternoon as the game was scarce due to the heat of the day - May month in South Africa - start of Winter - 35C heat

Sun City - Valley of the waves

Sun City - Valley of the waves - a beach in the middle of the bush

Time for a spot of dinner at the Cascades hotel and a bit of entertainment.

I think my aforementioned Nemesis or one of his cunning band of cut-throats and thieves - Mr. Baboon has followed us and is now  wreaking havoc on the hotel 

One of the hotel guests at a table next to us was laughing and joking about Mr. Baboon, and "Oh Look, someone has left their window open... HA HA HA.... HA... OH MY GAWD ITS OUR ROOOOMMMM" and off dashes the husband while we are further entertained to said baboon entering and exiting the room with an apple firmly clutched in his hand. 

I'm absolutely sure when he reached his room he grabbed for his electric toothbrush and proceeded accordingly... then again... maybe not

Mr. Baboon on his vantage point

Long empty road in the park



Where we stopped for breakfast on Saturday morning

Warthog wallowing


Zebra at the salt lick

Banded Mongoose

I can seeeeee you!!!!

Little bit of slow hoof shuffle


Kudu bull

Rhino in the bush

They still have their horns, but the rape of the bush continues unabated with rhino being poached at an alarming rate even though the authorities are doing there utmost to prevent it.


And the elephants came out two by two

Actually the elephants came out four by four

" If you don't behave I'm sending you home to grandma's"

"Does this bush make me look fat"

Grass or veldt on the side of the road

Bush scene

All was quiet well as quiet as the bush can get, when all of a sudden elephants came pouring out of the bush right next to me, I didn't know that I could get an automatic car into reverse so quickly and peddled back the way we had come with much alacrity

And they poured out playing and tussling and pushing and shoving...........




"OK everyone calm down and into into the bush, you've had your fun"

Vervet Monkey

Warthog foraging

Terrapin just hanging out 

Pied Kingfisher

Cormorants and terrapins just hanging out together


  1. Looks like an awesome trip. I also like the Pilanesberg best out of the game parks this side of the country. Never been to any out west, so can't comment.

    Electric toothbrush, hmm, I would have probably thrown my slippers at Mr Baboon.

  2. Fantastic blog... always such a treat reading your blog!