Rhinos, Reefs & Turtles (Part 2)

In Adventures, Animals, Articles, Gallery, Places by Dale MorrisLeave a Comment

For once, Frank didn’t have any stories of danger or near death to tell (after all, I don’t think anyone has been attacked by a turtle) but both men were in awe of the animal who had hauled herself ashore and was in the process of depositing dozens of golf ball sized eggs into a hole in the sand.

“Imagine!” said Malcolm. “This has been going on unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. I’m so glad this wasn’t all destroyed by mining.”

The next day we drove through a spidery network of seriously sandy tracks, past the beautiful lake Sibaya with its crocs and hippos and then onto the weird and wonderful Kosi Bay.

Here, on a dirt track overlooking an estuary far, far below, Malcolm filled me in on the history of the ancient fish traps that sprawl like hieroglyphics across the shallow waters.
“They are passed down from father to son over generations” he told me

We then went down to the Kosi Bay mouth, a tropical paradise of palm trees and golden sands made famous for its good kayaking and snorkeling.
“There once was a lovely reef at the mouth of this estuary” said Malcolm “But sadly in recent years it has mostly silted up”
Regardless of this regretable fact, we still went snorkeling and saw all sorts of beautiful marine creatures. There were angel fish, and box fish too, as well as star fish and brightly coloured anemones with tropical crabs scuttling hither and dither.
There were no sharks though, but even if one or two had shown up, I wouldn’t have been worried. Frank would have sorted them out with a manly punch to the snout no doubt.

A day later down the calendar, after time spent fishing and swimming, we found ourselves in a treehouse overlooking a waterhole in the Tembe Elephant Park; a wildlife sanctuary that straddles the border with Mozambique and is home to the largest elephants in Africa
“Have you ever seen such amazing tusks?” said Frank.
Below us, sucking up water with their trunks, were two of the most enormous bull elephants I have ever seen.

A Clan of Great Narrators

Frank recalled some of his stories from his days as an anti-poaching officer and how such elephants as these were always on the risk list.
“You rarely see elephants with big tusks these days” said Frank “That gene is being poached out, but here in Tembe they are well protected”
“So far” said Malcolm
“So far” agreed Frank solemnly

As always, all good things must come to an end, but not before spending an additional two nights at the little known yet stunningly beautiful Ithala Game Reserve.
Both Frank and Malcolm have a history there as well, and as such, they knew the place intimately.

As in iMfolozi and iSimangaliso, we gained access to little known back roads and I got to meet the rhinos, eles and other wild beasties through Malcolm and Franks eyes and memories.
On our last night together, the men made a camp fire and yet again, I found myself surrounded by a clan of great narrators. Yet again, some old buddies had been invited along, game rangers and guides, ex rangers, lodge managers and wildlife vets.
And of course, once the beers started flowing, so did the stories.

“You Remember that cantankerous old rhino Malcolm?”
“Which one was that?”
“The one that chased us into that aardvark hole”
“Oh that one……of course. Who could forget!”

To travel in your own vehicle with Frank visit www.mpafa.com and navigate to their RHINOS REEFS and TURTLES tour.

This fully catered 7 nights 8 day tour visits iMfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserves, iSimangaliso, Tembe Elephant Park and Ithala Game Reserve

Phone 044 2728672 email info@mpafa.com

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