Last month, I had the chance to spend two nights at a lodge in Limpopo. Khaya Ndlovu Manor House also happens to be one of the homes of property developer Trevor Jordan, who is doing so much to develop and promote the area – this includes having a hand in the fight against rhino poaching.
If you love the bushveld and wildlife, this corner of Limpopo is the place to visit. Nudging Kruger National Park, it has its own Big Five game reserves that are well worth visiting.
Fellow journalist Kerry Simpson and I had a great game-watching experience in Thornybush Game Reserve – we were taken to see a lioness with a wildebeest kill.
Her cubs, about a year old, still young enough to have some spots on them, had already eaten and their mother was feasting as we arrived. The cubs were either lazy or simply in a stupour.
The lioness nervously let us photograph her for about half an hour, then she got annoyed and pulled the wildebeest carcass deep into the bush.
On my last day in Limpopo, Mike Lawrie took me to Moholoholo, a wildlife rehabilitation centre. For various reasons, the animals here cannot be released into the wild immediately – or, in some cases, at all. The non-profit organisation is ‘home’ to lions from a Mozambique circus, a gorgeous leopard, restless cheetahs (they love to pace), caracal, serval, vultures, crowned and martial eagles and a black rhino calf that was trapped in a mud wallow in Kruger and was unable to get out. Abandoned by its mother, it might have died had it not been for its rescuers, who took it to Moholoholo.
Orphaned, poisoned or injured wildlife rely on visitors to keep them alive, so donations are very welcome. Moholoholo has its own blog here: http://moholoholo.blogspot.com
To my mind, the leopard is the most arresting cat – perhaps not the most beautiful, aesthetically, but form and function have given it a completeness, a self-sufficiency, that inspires not a little bit of terror.
Here I am with the rhino calf and one of the vultures. I had a wonderful day and I only wish I could work with animals every day of my life.