I recently spent a weekend at the Nsleweni bush lodge in the Imfalozi game reserve, this is a bit of a treat for me as it is a bit pricey in comparison to the main camp (Impila). Although Impila is lovely, the location alone makes Nselweni worth the extra bucks. It is a private bush camp located on the Imfalozi river and it occupies only a few chalets.
The days were hot, it was summer in Zululand and so averaging temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius is not unusual. Game viewing is hard in this kind of heat. When every breathing thing is trying to do as little as possible in a shady spot under a bush, things get tricky.
If you look closely enough at the photograph above you may just notice a spot or two in the undergrowth. This is the most typical hot day spot for a cheetah, who tried his best to hide from us but we did eventually managed to catch a glimpse of him. If it weren’t for the zebra and giraffes’ strange behaviour (they were not impressed with this lazy cheetah in their space) we would have driven right past. If an animal is acting weird it is always worth having a closer look.
The best option for game viewing in sweltering heat is always to find water, where there is water there is life. Something I always look forward to is the sight of splashing elephants. Their love for water is so powerful, like I can feel their happiness when they wallow around in the mud or splash water over themselves. I spent a long time with these ellies, just appreciating their size, strength and natural kind nature.
Our time back at the camp that afternoon was spent mostly trying to get cool, but in between the cold showers and icy drinks there is always opportunity for some birding. This gorgeous little pair of fire finches joined me on the deck and allowed me to photograph them for ages. This was so special to me because they are so tiny and shy and would usually flit away before you’ve even realized they are there. But these two were completely un-phased by my presence, the color of these birds reminded me of a bright pink, African sunrise that I witnessed that morning.
The sound of the bush in the evenings uninterrupted by voices is indescribable. Dinner always has to be cooked on a fire in the bush, it is just not the same otherwise. There is nothing better than enjoying a braai and glass of wine on the deck overlooking the Imfalozi river, except possibly what comes next. I have this thing that I do every time I stay in any of the camps in this reserve, after dinner I turn all of the lights off and sit quietly outside for a bit, and listen. It’s a strange thing to feel so vulnerable with no lights but the wonderfully cold shiver down my spine when I hear a lion roar in the darkness is hard to beat. Yes, I am an absolute sucker for the sounds of the bush, especially at night when the absence of sight makes it all that much more exciting. I always talk about being one with nature, my peaceful weekend at Nselweni helped me achieve this once again.
An unforgettable sunrise, thank you Mother Nature for views like this one – I dare you to find a sight more breathtaking then the African sky.