It was Mark's birthday and for a special treat we were going to stay in Planet Baobab. A strange name for a very different place This is a themed lodge bordering on kitsch which has its own attraction. Th bungalows are designed after the local homes, round with a thatch roof and decorated walls. The interior has two built in concrete beds and the walls have a few shaped shelves. I say concrete but they may well have been made from mud...I am not sure. They reminded me of the Mongolian ger! They were charming and it was a fun experience. The camp is situated in a Baobab forest! There could have been about fifteen magnificent baobabs!
These trees are reputed to be about four thousand years old! There are many legends about these unique and magnificent trees including one about God dropping them from the sky and they landed on this earth in an upside down position, thus their alternate name 'the upside down tree" ! As a child living in Rhodesia we loved to eat the fruit from the tree called cream of tart!
The attraction for us was the guided trip offered by the lodge to see the meerkats and the Kgaligadi pans! We had a very experienced female guide who drove miles and miles on little windy roads until we came to a lone figure standing out in the bush. This fellow was paid to look after the meerkats and to follow them where ever they go. I wonder what we would call him not a shepherd, not a cowboy but a .......? This fellow told us that originally there had been three families but now there is only this remaining one!
The meerkats have to be the busiest of little creatures ever. They scurry about scratching for food, mostly spiders all the time. The adults take it in turn to find a mound of sand on which to elevate themselves and lookout for predators in the form of large birds, foxes etc. What a treat it was to spend over an hour watching these creatures at work. mark and Carol had wanted to do this for ages so it was a pleasure to share this experience with them.
After a lovely breakfast which our guide supplied we drove to the Kgaligadi pans where we spent another while playing and marveling at these salt pans! It was just miles and miles of white salty sand. It gave me a surreal experience of what it must be like to be stranded and thirsty in a desert. We even had the experience of seeing a mirage in the distance! How special this last morning of our Safari was.
Not to let an opportunity go by as soon as we had lunched the car was packed with "Tea" and sundowners and we were off to explore the Kgaligadi National Park. I don't think we saw another vehicle in four hours! But we did see thanks to Mark's amazing observational powers, a breeding pair of vultures in the palm trees with their baby! We saw Springbok which for a South African is very special being our National Animal! And the best of all was coming across the Great Migration of Zebra! Miles and miles of zebra. As the sun was sinking the silhouette of these animals was such an amazing sight and a VERY special experience.
The week with Mark and Carol was jam packed with the most wonderful treats one could imagine. Seeing Roan, Sable, Oryx, Lechwe, Tsessebe, Springbok is so special apart from hyena cubs, leopards, eles, ...the list goes on. This is a once in a life time experience and we have done it twice thanks to these wonderful friends. They keep saying "don't wait another eight years" and maybe we won't! Thank you to these very special people who have chosen a career in the most wonderful treasure chest Africa can offer! We love you and thank you so much!!
My little point and push camera worked overtime but Mark has a more sophisticated camera and he has put his photos up on the net for all to see.