Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lion in a Tree

We had read great things about the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve but only decided two nights before going that we should squeeze it into the road trip. We spent 4 hours driving to Mtubatuba where we stayed the night. We woke very early, getting to the park when the gates opened so that we'd have sufficient time there before our drive to the mountains. We were amazed by how much we saw in the 6 hours we drove ourselves around. Immediately we saw a mammoth white rhino, several giraffes and zebras. Then a nice man told us that in the bush were two male lions just beginning to grow their manes. We were very close to one lion lounging in the shade before we suddenly realized that his brother was 5 feet above him in the tree! This man in the neighboring car was some kind of lion expert and said he'd never heard of a lion climbing a tree, so this was quite rare. It seemed the lion was a curious teenager who enjoyed not playing by the rules and we enjoyed every minute of watching him.

Soon after, we saw a herd of white rhino nibbling on the grass and sending us glances. They all looked to me like they were wearing gray sweat suits because of the gray folds in their skin. We loved watching the peaceful giraffe whose bird friends helped pick bugs off his long neck. The impala had the same friendship with these birds. Later we pulled up to a magnificent cheetah lounging in the shade. We stayed long enough to see him get up, scratch himself on the tree, look around and then resume his napping. In the few strides we could sense his elegance and strength.


foster said...

What glamorous bird friends! And I love that so many of the animals are looking right at the camera - ready for their close-up!

Bett Addams Williams said...

That teenage lion in a tree is an absolute hoot!!!

Isn't it an amazing country; hard to imagine how BIG it is until you are there!

Addie said...

If I was a lion I'd be like the pictures!

Mary Moore said...

The lion in the tree was amazing, as were all the pics. What a great game viewing day!!!