08 June 2009

Two outta five ain't bad.

Saturday night was a great time out on the town. Stephen took us to a great restaurant, Mama Africa, for a traditional dinner. I ordered the ostrich filet (flavorful, but tough) and tasted Annie's crocodile kabobs and Stephen's kudu steak (both delicious). Because it's traditional, I ate the pap with my fingers (not my fork). Pap is like bland mashed potatoes, just clumpier, with sauce on top for flavor--very good. We were out much, much, much, much, much later than we intended because we had to fly out early Sunday morning for the game drive. Sunday was rough...
Our stay at Lalibela Game Reserve was incredible. The amenities were beautiful. We stayed in one of three lodges, Tree Tops nestled into the hillside. The camp is built on stilts; all walkways and rooms are built up with thatched roofs, canvas walls, and netted windows. I like to describe the setting and decor as rugged chic. I think my favorite meals were enjoyed here (I'm still thinking about last night's dinner and this morning's breakfast...mmm mmm).
During our short stay, we were taken on two game drives. It is winter here and very cold. We were bundled up with hats, gloves, and blankets, and armed with...our cameras. We set out and soon encountered two baboons (yes, blue-testicled baboons!) and lots of impalas. We were on a lion hunt, search the elusive pride. A lot of time passed, and I was beginning to think my biggest fear would come true...what if we don't see any animals?!? We rounded a curve on the trail, and right in front of us, blocking the road, an elephant (this same elephant crashed through our camp the night before we arrived snapping some of the railings--he even visited the room we stayed in). It was amazing! Although the evening drive didn't produce the big game I was hoping for, I did get to watch the sun set behind the hills of the South African bush only to then watch the brightest moon rise in its place. Our wake up call was early, starting another drive at 6:30am. Still searching for that pride of lions, we saw hippos, giraffe, lots and lots of impala, warthogs, ostrich, monkeys, and my favorite sighting, rhinos. We were about 12' away from one of the big five. "The Big Five"are lion, leopard, water buffalo, elephant, and rhino which are given this name because they are the most dangerous and hardest animals in Africa to hunt. Soon our drive was over. And, I'm still searching for those lions...

HIGHLIGHT: Sitting on the deck at our camp on a cool, crisp autumn night with a wool blanket across my lap being warmed by the pit fire looking into a clear sky sprinkled full of stars in the southern hemisphere learning about the Southern Cross star formation. And thinking, I'm on safari in South Africa!"

LOWLIGHT: A printed welcome card greeted us in the room..."The Lalibela Game Reserve would like to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Coutras." Annie made it clear that she was the Mrs. Later that night they were kind enough to split the king size bed into two twins. I have confused many South Africans because of my male name, Robin.


  1. I just keep saying "WOW"! This sounds fabulous! I am so glad it was an enjoyable time. If it helps, I will take you to Grassmere to see a lion! Not quite the same is it??
    Take care.
    Mom C

  2. HA HA HA HA HA!!! Mr. and Mrs. Coutras! You need to have a South African a.k.a. or something.
    The safari sounds amazing! Happy travels!

  3. Wow Robin, what a highlight - seeing the stars of the southern hemisphere while sitting by the fire of an African camp. I would have been thinking the same thing you were. Very cool!

    Katie R.