When blogging, there’s nothing like free internet access from afar!

Sorry for the lag, but the five days in the province of  Kwa Zulu Natale were internet-challenged: we were able to get email via the lodge’s computers (for a fee), but spending the time and money for a blog post wasn’t in the cards. We’re back in Johannesburg again today (free WiFi at our airport-area hotel), toured Soweto and  a museum dedicated to the deadly June 16, 1976, student anti-apartheid demonstration, met up with our OATS (Overseas Adventure Travel) fellow-travelers of the next two+ weeks. Most from CA (Walnut Creek predominates), as well as Oregon. The Zululand experience was the one we bought at a charity auction in 2008 (as did everyone at the place; Eli is curious about its business plan). Not an area most people get to (Indian Ocean proximity), but cool. There, most of the people were from Seattle or Alaska. West Coast people gravitate to Africa–why?

Anyway, I’m downloading a small portion of our photos from Kwa Zulu Natale. You get the picture (so to speak). We hear every area has its unique safari experience. We won’t bore you with TONS of similar photos.

As for the Big Five: this is the term used to describe the ultimate aspirations of safari-goers. According to our guide in Kwa Zulu, it means the Five Most Dangerous African animals to hunt. They are lion, leopard, elephant, water buffalo, and rhino. We saw all except leopard, although we tried to track the latter in the reserve. Maybe in Botswana?  As for hunting, the nyala (a graceful deer-like creature, described by one of the guides as the most stupid, because it will stand in a road not try to feel until the speedier cheetah–or even a vehicle–is much closer) is prey lowdown on the food chain in the bush. Not only did we witness two cheetahs devouring one on the first morning drive out (could make me consider becoming a vegetarian), but we met a guy named Bill from Arizona who was there to hunt. The reserve culls out prey when there’s an imbalance in the species, and guests at the lodge can participate. Kind of creepy when we had lunch with him one day and figured out that his was the gunshot we’d heard the day before. That night the nyala steak  he bagged was marinated and served up! I hope that end was less traumatic for the nyala than the attack of the cheetah.

Don’t know what the next week or so will bring blogging-wise, but stay tuned.

Cheetahs eating their kill, a nyala

Nyalas -- not too bright prey for both cheetahs and hunters from the US

Eli joins nyala hunter and wife as platter of its steak is served

Feeding time comes in all forms

lounging lions at Phinda reserve

Same cheetahs NOT in eating mode; they only hunt and eat every 2-3 days (how’s that for a diet plan?)

Elephant crossing

Beach at St. Lucia on Indian Ocean

Coral tree

Group swim on St. Lucia estuary

Time for sun bathing

Boat excursion on St. Lucia estuary

Croc alongside St. Lucia estuary. His peers were on the menu for lunch afterward.

Our game drive group at Zulu Nyala Lodge

This guy sure doesn't have his head in the sand!

Watering hole mates

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