It’s Monday 3rd August 2009 and the caterers chill in the bush

“When Jo heard that we (Lucinda and Emma) had some days off together she asked us to let you all know what we do when we have these precious days. It is very rare for two caterers to get time off together so we were determined to make the most of it. We also knew that Simon (Manager at Tena Tena) also had days off so we planned them together. We were going to take advantage of Simon in two ways – firstly his enormous knowledge of the bush as he is a guide, and secondly his car. Simon owns ‘Dobbin’, Robin’s original game driver, so we booked ourselves into a camp further north in the park, Lion Camp, and off we set.

Lucinda and Emma on their breaka chilly winter swim?

On the way up we did a game drive – taking in ever-changing scenery and Simon had made it his mission to get us to learn our birds – so our lessons began. We were rewarded with some great sightings of bateleur’s, vultures and martial eagles, Lilian’s lovebirds, lilac breasted rollers and spoonbills. In total we were to see 58 different types of birds and by the end of the three nights we were even recognising a lot of the more obscure ones – Simon is good!

male bataleur soaringLilac breasted roller

We spent our days relaxing in the camp, and even braving the swimming pool – which was cold but refreshing! As the camp that we were staying at was quiet for a few days we were lucky to have the camp to ourselves and could truly take over! We even had the bush version of the Ashes (cricket for those who are not followers). In total there were eight of us at the camp – and conveniently 3 Aussies and 3 ‘Poms’ so the snooker Ashes was played. If you are English you can relax with pride as the Aussies lost dismally, possibly as more beers than balls were sunk! We spent most evenings going out into the bush to find the perfect spot for an essential sundowner – all this relaxing is hard work!

Lilian’s lovebirds swarming with red billed queleathe regal martial eagle

African spoonbillvultures chilling out!

In the mornings Simon would bribe us to come out of our deliciously comfortable beds around 8 o’clock, a veritable lie-in, by bringing cups of tea and coffee to our rooms – a perfect gentleman He then took us out in ‘Dobbin’ to explore the area. We were richly rewarded with some fantastic sightings of kudu, buffalo, giraffe, elephants a-plenty and a beautiful lioness, plus numerous other species. It was lovely to be able to take the time to enjoy were we are living, but with an expert who could get us into the right position for some lovely photo opportunities by second guessing where the animals would be appearing after disappearing into the bushes.

lioness also chilling!greater kudu with magnificent horns

The camp that we were staying at had a winterthorn tree in the middle that has begun to lose its pods. The elephants love these and therefore there was a pretty permanent elephant in the camp cleaning the decks of all these pods. As we were heading for lunch we were able to watch this elephant at quite close quarters as we were on the raised decks. Nobody was particularly worried by his presence – there was another walkway so we did not have to jump the trunk, until the elephant decided that he needed to get to the pods that had fallen in the middle of the walkways. This he tried to do by brute strength – taking out the rail before we realised what was happening. At this point he was politely asked to leave – but was seen later sneaking back in! No lasting damage, but the carpenter was busy mending that afternoon!

elephant, pods, Simon & Emma and the walkway

After three nights here we returned to base – doing a game drive on the way of course, with Simon testing us on all that we had learnt. We were truly refreshed for the next month and it was a lovely way to spend four days.”

Thanks Lucinda and Emma. Great that you had such a lovely break.

Have a lovely week……

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