Meet me down at the watering hole

Trip Start Nov 03, 2011
Trip End Nov 11, 2011

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Friday, November 4, 2011

We were up by 6 this morning. We wandered out in the terry cloth robes the Lodge provided. Cory went and got us a couple of cups of coffee and we sat and watched the activity of the watering hole.   there is an excitement to knowing that the animals we are seeing live here in the wild. There isn't a way to describe it. This morning we saw a troop of 25 or more baboons. The water-buck visited all day. There were different types of birds. The highlight this morning was the Sykes monkeys who terrorized the balconies. One ran by so close it brushed my nose as it flew by.

We heard a scream from a few balconies down and saw a thief of a monkey running with his confiscated piece of cake. He sat right under our balcony savoring his sweet treat. That is until his friends decided he should share. When they came flying at him he startled and dropped his cake.

One of the lovely things about the Lodge is the Champagne served with breakfast. We decided to take two glasses of it back with us to our room where we sipped it on the balcony as the animals sipped from the watering hole. After talking to some of the other people on our tour, I am very thankful we have a balcony. Though all the rooms face the watering hole there are many of them that only have a window. We lucked out with the balcony.

Many of the people from our group booked an optional walking tour but my research of the walking tour made it seem like it wasn't worth it. The info I found said that it was more about the flora of the woods and that you wouldn't see many animals. I wanted to stay near the watering hole where the animals seemed to congregate. We also took the leisure time to explore the lodge.

Videos taken at the Serena Mountain Lodge

We ran into Nick in the gift shop. He could be the twin of a guy I worked with at Disney. I guess I should say triplet because Nick is already a twin. Even his mannerisms are the same. I liked him right off of the bat and was pleased that he decided hang out with us as we explored the lodge.

There are several places to view the watering hole and my favorite was the hide. There is a tunnel from the Lodge out to a few feet away from the watering hole. You are concealed but able to see the animals up close and personal. It was here that we saw our first bush buck. We also got to see some of the birds up close like a hamerbok, Egyptian geese, little bee eaters, and a few others.

We are still trying to figure out how to tip. The info that we got from the tour agency was that we were to tip the lodge staff a certain amount, the porters an amount per bag, our driver an amount per game drive and 10% on meals. The problem was that the meals were included in the tour but the servers were not part of the rest of the lodge staff. We made sure that we tipped them on every meal. This was a more expensive trip for us but that didn't mean that I was going to short those that were doing such a good job of taking care of us.

Nick sat with us at lunch along with Dueane and Cathy. The conversation turned to guest service horror stories that seemed to have Duane and Cathy amused. Nick used to work for the airlines and both Cory and I used to work concierge of the Disney resorts. It is just two days into things and I am still trying to get to know everyone. Dueane and Cathy are very understated but very like-able but after lunch I hope that they don't think the rest of us are obnoxious.  

The baboons came back in the afternoon. They hung around for some time longer and it was a joy to watch them play. There was even one young baboon who made friends with the bush-buck. He walked right up to it, petted its leg and then licked its leg. The water-buck came back and this time we got to see two males lock horns. We watched until the sun set. We were talking to another guest in the bar when Josh came in and let us know that a leopard had come to the watering-hole unfortunately by the time we got out there he was already gone.

Dinner was fabulous and with a full belly I can barely keep my eyes open. Looks like it is time for bed.

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