An Unexpected Treat

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2013

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

27-28th July – Monate Game Lodge

Once again, Louis was an angel and had planned to pick us up from the bus stop on the Friday evening. Unbeknown to Louis, he was kept at work unbelievably late so enrolled Sias, his friend we had met when initially arriving in South Africa, to pick us up.  Luckily Sias was available and picked us up from the station and took us back to Louis' house for us all wait for him to arrive home with KFC.

The weekend took a nice turn as Louis had planned to visit his parents at the farm (their word for narture park or ranch) that they manage, run and live at; Monate Lodge, pronounced Monaté.   The drive there didn’t consist of much other than stopping for a Wimpys breakfast which we treated Louis and Sias to, and food and drink shopping at the local shops near the farm.  Once we arrived we met Louis’ parents again, Marlene and Niko, as well as a girl working in the office with her puppy!  Little did we know it was going to be a weekend of dogs and puppies!

No sooner had we arrived at the farm, we were on our own private game drive, Laura and I on the open backseats of the van, soaking in the sun, sights and the dust!  Having not even expected for this to happen, it just got better and better.  We went to a watering hole to see hippos (which are soooo unbelievably big!) on the shore quickly rush into the water as we arrived, to then be stalked by a crocodile that got closer and closer the longer we stood there.  We also saw antelope, giraffe and then... rhinos!!!  Rhinos are being killed at an alarming rate at the moment, with more than one a day being killed due to poachers.  Within a year there may be no rhinos left, so the opportunity to see one rhino, let alone 4!!! was amazing.  And they came so close to the car.  To be honest, at first when a shout of 'rhino’ came from the car, I could only see rocks!  These rocks actually turned out to be the rhinos.  They are amazing animals which I feel so privileged to see in the wild.

On a natural high, we then went back to Louis’ parents for a massive Braai and a rather large amount of brandy and wine.  At the braai there was Marlene’s 2 dogs and then one of their family friends turned up with 2 gorgeous little puppies which Laura and I were infatuated with for about an hour, before we became a bit more sociable...maybe because they went for a nap!  The wine flowed, the food was amazing, but naturally, and as always at the moment it would seem, Laura and I were shattered and flat-lined at about 10:30 much to everyone’s disappointment.  But a brilliant, brilliant day and a result of amazing generosity from Louis and his family.

On the drive back from the farm, we went via a rehabilitation centre where we’d rang ahead and they said we could go in with their baby lions; finally!!!  But sadly a complete let down by 1 week as the lion cubs were too old and too feisty for people to go in with them anymore :(  And this was my last chance to go and hug baby lions.  Gutted doesn’t really describe how upset I was...but what can you do.

Not the best ending to the weekend, but a brilliant dinner followed the journey home made by Louis and a brilliant addition for the weekend we thought we would just be spending in Joburg at Louis’ house!  Good times.
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