It was an early start to my day on Thursday as I had quite a long drive from Hillcrest to Ballito to collect my client for the day. Denise is a young girl who just spent time on a volunteer program teaching young children and had certainly earned some time off.
I collected Denise from Ballito on what I thought was going to a pretty overcast and miserable day, but lucky for us the sun started to burn through the clouds and things warmed up. Leaving Ballito we headed straight for Tala Game Reserve, the first stop.
Tala Game Reserve
On entering the park, we spotted two White Rhino on the hill within the first 5 minutes which I figured was a really good sign of things to come. Denise had seen Rhino on her travels before, but never close up so she was in for quite a treat. Over the next hill when bumped into a “crash” for Rhino about 6 strong all slowly making their way towards a nearby water hole. At one point, the Rhino were within a few meters of the car!
One interesting moment kept us captivated; a group of men were working alongside the road and the Rhino that had just wondered past us seemed very curious as to what the men were up to (much to the distress of the working men!). All the Rhino stood at the top of the hill and seemingly “inspected” the work done by the men before nodding their approval and heading off on their way!
The rest of the morning continued to be really interesting, spotting Kudu, Zebra, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe and more on the hillside. Rounding off the morning we headed off to the Hippo pool. Although the sun was out, the day wasn’t too hot so a number of Hippo were out the pool and on the bank, making for an excellent photo opportunity!
We left the park at about lunch time and headed towards PheZulu Safari Park. Along the way I swung by Monteseel in order to give Denise an opportunity too look out into Nyswa Valley at the modern Zulu village below. As a climber, Denise was also interested in the massive cliffs we stood on.
PheZulu Safari Park
We made our way to PheZulu Safari park where a spot of lunch was in order. Denise was feeling a little adventurous so she tried the Impala steak. I also got her to try some “samp” and beans (crushed corn kernals) both of which she enjoyed!
We had a look at the small traditional huts of the Zulu village and then enjoyed a short talk by our guide about Zulu life. From there we headed to the small arena where a group of Zulu dancers took us through a Zulu courtship and wedding ceremony.
After the Zulu dancing we made our way to the reptile section of the park and listened to our guide telling us about the massive Nile Crocodile that are housed at the park, one of which is 100 years old and weighs 600kg’s! We also enjoyed a short talk about the numerous snakes displayed there, including a Burmese Python that Denise was brave enough to touch (I did as well, but then the snake moved and that was it for me!) I thoroughly enjoyed the day out as I’m sure Denise did, looking forward to the next time.