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The coolness of winter seems to have passed and each day gathers a warmth that is both comfortable and pleasant. Here at Hwange the bush captures the hearts and minds of all and like any fascinating woman, she is many-faceted, with appeal for every taste and level of intellect.
We have been full each day with expectant guests wanting to have the most spectacular game viewing experiences in Zimbabwe. Ivory Lodge along with Hwange National Park has not disappointed and we have produced some amazing sightings.
The popularity of Ivory is evident from the familiar faces that are returning to the lodge on a regular basis and we welcomed back an Ambassador who is a regular at our property. Once again they visited us with large amounts of humility and little expectation of the wildlife they eventually discovered. Also visiting us this week have predominantly been Swiss nationals and on particlar family with three beautiful children. They joined the Ambassador on a game drive that was to prove breathtaking.
The game drive began in the National Park in the mid afternoon. As the vehicle was leaving Ivory’s conservation area, they spotted a pack of 5 painted dogs no more than 3 meters away. Stephen described the children eyes as “wide as sauce pan lids” and they appeared to be so excited at seeing the pack. With the help of their mother and father’s interpretation skills, the children managed to ask nearly 50 questions about the pack along the way to the National Park. Stephen was absolutely amazed at the level of interest from these young children. However there was more to come and after entering the National Park near the entrance at Sedina Pan they found a “Laughing Lion” as the children affectionately called him. The Lion was so close to the game vehicle you could almost touch him. Of course, this is how the children described their experience to the capsulated audience at the dinner table. This was not the finale of the game drive though and at Boss Pan at the second platform at Guvalala (15KM from Main Camp) they spotted a Leopard.
Birds are also in abundance here and the children in their best English tried to explain their sighting of the beautiful Lilac Breasted Roller, the Butler Eagle, the Brown Snake Eagle and of course the Gymnogen…..a falcon.
Sometimes at Ivory guests decide to stay put and allow the wildlife to come to them and our “hide” is perfect for a close encounter of the game. This week we have had Eland, Tsessebe, Wildebeeste, Lions and of course hundreds of Elephants from the presidential herd visiting us. Here at the lodge, Stephen spotted the very rare Crimson Breasted Shrike – Yellow Form. Incredible!
As previously mentioned, we are now joined by a new guide named “Zulu” who has proved a bit hit with the guests and our large family here. Due to our popularity we have another guide to help us in this busy period. “David” also comes with many years of experience guiding in the Dete Vlei and Hwange National Park. He is a powerhouse in stature yet softly spoken and comprehensively knowable about the game, bush and birds.
That’s all for now!