Walking with lions

lions walking

cubs walking 1

While at Sondela Nature Reserve my mom and I decided to walk with lions. My mom has walked with lions before and played with tiger cubs and I have always longed to do that. We arrived early and met with the 2 handlers who would take us for the walk. They called the 3 lion cubs who knew exactly what activity was up next. They ran excitedly out of their enclosure and lead us on our walk (occasionally getting  a little distracted by more interesting things in the long grass).

tan with cubs 6

tan with cubs 2

tan with cubs 12

mom with cub 5

These 3 lion cubs are 3 months old and were abandoned by their mother. The rehabilitation centre is raising them. The cubs are 2 sisters and a brother. While on the walk I kept thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe I was walking with 3 lion cubs – up close and personal! They were quite happy to let my mom and I scratch them, tickle them and talk to them.

At the beginning of the walk we were warned that they could bump us over. The looked so cute and fuzzy and were about the same size of my two dogs. I didn’t believe they would knock me over as my dogs can’t. Well I got such a surprise when one ran into me and I nearly fall on my tooshie. We were also told that if they tried to bite us or jump on us we were to smack them on their nose. They took a liking to my mom’s leggings and jumped up on her a few times.

cubs with bowl 6

cubs with bowl

We walked for a while and then stopped to give them some water. They lapped it up and then ran to the shade. Two of them enjoyed chewing on the branches of a thorn tree while the third one enjoyed jumping up and down a sand mound.

cub resting 4

This mindblowing experience was so much fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone who goes to Sondela. We paid R100 (about USD10) which really was affordable and the money goes to the rehabilitation centre where they live.

A week in the bush at Sondela

welcome sign

dung beetle sign

hide

In February my mom and I packed the car and headed out to Sondela Nature Reserve, near Bela Bela, for a week in the bush. All we wanted to do was get out of the city for a bit, put our feet up, read, do arts and crafts and do some animal watching. We’d had such a crazy busy week before we drove out on Monday afternoon and on the drive there we couldn’t wait to get there and have a G&T. We stayed in a gorgeous chalet and made ourselves at home immediately. The patio was my favourite and where we spent most of our time relaxing.

patio

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main room

We couldn’t get over how tame the animals were! On our first night there the Nyala females walked right up to us and I fed them pellets that the reserve had left in the chalet for us. The next day my mom and I bought some more pellets in anticipation of many more visits by the Nyala. It was such an awesome experience as they ate right out of my hand! The animals all came right up to the patio and during the heat of the day would sleep under the trees surrounding the chalet.

me feeding nyala

nyala females 5

feeding male nyala

nyala males 2

We had a few other visits from a family of warthogs, male nyala and some birds. It was extremely hot there and the one morning the cleaning lady filled a bucket of water and put it outside. When I asked her what she was doing she said she was giving the Nyala some water to drink. As she walked away from the bucket the Nyala walked right up to it and started having a drink. I am sure they were only too grateful for that in the heat. We went for a drive through the reserve but found that we saw more animals while sitting on our patio.

warthog

nyala drinking water

At night while we sat on the patio we could hear all the sounds of the bush especially the zebra calling out to each other. The bush sunsets are breathtaking and the peace and quiet so relaxing.

evening in the bush

me braaing

Another mindblowing experience for me was walking for an hour with 3 lion cubs! I have ridden an African elephant as well as an Asian elephant, walked with a baby hippo and held a vulture and bushbaby. I grew up in the bush and was exposed to many amazing animals. I’m going to do another post all about walking with the 3 lion cubs with some great pics.

tan with cubs 6

The week away was exactly what we needed and when it got to the Friday we wished we had one more week there. I will definitely head out there again before the end of the year.

zebra

wildebeest

impala

Merry Christmas

merry xmas

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today. I hope you all have a wonderful day with your family and friends!

Our family had a hot Christmas dinner last night and we enjoyed every mouthful of it! On the menu for last night my folks prepared roast lamb, turkey, roast potatoes, butternut and peas. We all ate so much we didn’t even touch the Christmas pudding! Today we took gammon, lamb and turkey to family and we all sat down and enjoyed cold meats and salad for lunch. I also made trifle for us which I do every year. My whole family loves trifle so needless to say we finished the first bowl in no time.

Now we are all relaxing and watching TV (some are on their second helping of trifle) and I’m sure a few of us will take a nap soon.

This year we were overseas on holiday in the beginning of December and got back a few days before Christmas. We didn’t put any decorations up or a tree which is a first for us and we never gave any gifts either. This year’s Christmas was more about spending time with family and enjoying a meal together.

Here’s a pic of my trifle that everyone loved (even though I put a little too much Amarula cream liqueur in it – oops!)
Trifle

 

 

 

 

 

Going on holiday soon

I have really neglected my blog the last while and this was not by choice. Life has simply been chaotic the last 6 weeks! The good news is I am going on holiday in 2 days and while I soak up the sun in the jungle where my folks live I plan on posting a few things.

On Saturday my brother and I fly out to Papua Indonesia where our folks live. We haven’t been to the island for 5 years and are really looking forward to going back, enjoying the jungle air and sights and clutching out a bit. After a week we are heading to Vietnam for a few days and I can’t wait to explore there. I also plan to do a few posts on the sights there and let you know what it’s like where my folks live. Such a fascinating place!

2 more sleeps until I climb on a jet plane to jungle heaven!