The last of my “Big Five!”

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(This is part of a trip report to Africa, flying United Global Business/First, costing $87 and 120,000 miles which were Ultimate Reward points from my Chase Ink card, transferred to United.)

Since I had seen all the “Big Five” except the rhino, we went on a rhino hunt one day! And it’s quite obvious, we did see them. You’d lay your head down too, if it weighed that much (2,000 pounds)!

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Rhino horns are worth as much as gold on the black market and consist of the same thing as your fingernails. Some cultures value them highly…they were non-existent in Zimbabwe because of poaching. But Mala Mala is a private park where they are somewhat protected.

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Remember the male nyala near the pool in the last post? This is the female, they are totally different, and this was taken right outside our patio.

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And here’s a klip springer perched on the rock…

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This lilac breasted roller is just beautiful, so very colorful, and even more pretty in flight!

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Not sure what kind of bird this was, but it was just hanging around one afternoon when we had “tea” in the bush. We loved tea and especially the home-made potato chips! Our guide was very careful not to leave ANY crumbs…they don’t want to mess with animal habitats.

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Mala Mala has a private airstrip, but we saw (or heard) only one plane in four days. An impala, with the runway in the background…

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This bridge over the Sand River is sometimes impassable in the summer (our winter) because of all the rain!

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These jeeps can go OFF ROAD! When following a leopard, we went down a sixty degree angle into the creek bed! I closed my eyes, but Joe was a fantastic guide and a great driver too!

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Speaking of leopards…

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This female leopard was about seven years old, they are just unbelievably beautiful in real life!

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Leopards are shy, cunning, and dangerous…also very solitary.

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DSC_0060-002The difference between a leopard and a cheetah is the cheetah has the black “tear drop” from eye to mouth.

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I just love how the tail curls…

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The owner of Mala Mala was forced to sell his property, so it can go back to the community. It was sold for one billion rand (ninety million USD). He leases it from the government now, continues to operate it, and he was staying at the property when we were there. We did speak to him and told him thanks for a lovely stay.

Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful holiday with your family!

One last post on my African trip coming soon…


Comments

The last of my “Big Five!” — 1 Comment

  1. You have some fabulous photos of the rhino and of the leopards! Obviously you were quite close to them. Thanks for all you shared!

    June

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