If there is one thing in South Africa that it doesn’t lack, it’s nature reserves. I mean, we have so many stunning animals on this continent and us city folk love to see them close up. So, last weekend, Flip and I joined my parents at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve. We arrived late Friday evening, owing to horrible traffic all the way from Johannesburg, and spent the rest of the weekend relaxing on the 12 500 ha game farm.
Now, Mabalingwe means spots of the leopard – the words itself is a combination of Zulu and Setswana and would be pronounced Mabala ya Ingwe. But I think that the reserve should rather have been called Mohatla, which is the Setswana word for the tail of a warthog. We saw so many of them, and on Friday evening was greeted by a couple of warthogs right at our house. He came back the next morning and when I spoke to him, he cocked his head from side to side, like a dog! He also walked to the stairs on our stoep and allowed me to scratch him behind his ears, which he loved! Another frequent visitor was the cutest little squirrel! I could just eat him up!
The reserve also has an abundance of antelope, including kudu, nyala, impala, zebra and a whole lot of antelope we didn’t even see. We did spot one giraffe though! It was still a baby, but his mom was nearby. Everyone except for me could see the bigger giraffe.
Upon arrival, I asked if I’m allowed to jog in the lodge area where we stayed, called Ingwe camp, and was told by reception that I am, but if an elephant or hippo pitches, I’ll have to run really fast. They told me that elephants had visited the reception area just the night before, and that hippos were there the morning.
Although we didn’t see any elephants, it was a blessing in disguise. My mother is deathly afraid of big animals, unlike her brave daughterchild who pulled on a crocodile’s tail in her youth. Case in point, she freaked out when we were almost 700 m away from the hippos at one of Mabalingwe’s dams. They were just lazing in the sun.
This weekend, we are off to another famous reserve: Mabula. Hopefully I’ll see some lions and elephants there.