Aug 28 - Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

We rented a subcompact from Europcar and braved the drive to the game park. Actually, beside it being a manual shift and having to drive on the left hand side of the road, we found the highways well kept and the signage good. We ended up purchasing the "Rhino Card," which allows discounted or free entry into various parks, resorts and tours; it's good for one year; cost wise, we'll come out ahead on our very next visit to the park. At any rate, the highlight during the day was seeing a pride of 8 lions feasting on what we were told was an old cape buffalo they had killed earlier. We spent almost an hour watching them; several of the younger ones frolicked around in the water as well. Two adults, and their baby, rhino came down to the river and were very close to the pride, but apparently they leave each other alone. What a great siting! There are various accommodation choices in the park. Due to limited availability, we stayed in one of the tents, but believe me, we weren't roughing it. The floors of the main tent were wood with throw carpets; the roof was double supported with steel pole supports and tie downs; the ensuite bathroom facilities were completely tiles; the separate kitchen facility had a gas stove, fridge/freezer, sink with hot and cold water, and completely supplied pots, pans and utensils. The outside porch had chairs and a picnic table, and we sat there and looked at the distant hills. An impala wandered around at one point, which was fine, but the very large hyena who came strolling around close by got our attention until he left to check out someone else's tent area. In the evening, we took a guided night safari. No driving around on your own is allowed after sunset, so we bundled up and sat high up in a specially built jeep with four rows of seats. Did I mention that the weekend turned out to be the coldest of the year and that Richards Bay had winds exceeding 45 knots? Well, expecting worse, we had secured Infini and weren't overly concerned; our tent was probably shaking more than the boat. We didn't get much sleep, as the window flaps were going at it and the noise from the wind was constant. This is a beautiful park with lots of wildlife, and we'll be returning again.

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