Lion and Rhino game park
Johannesburg Travel Blog› entry 3 of 25 › view all entries
We knew that the current owners of Amadwala lodge had only recently turned it from a function centre in to traveller accommodation, and there was a sense that they were still trying to figure out some of their tours. They proposed that the lodge owner himself, Dudley, could take us for a tour of the nearby Lion and Rhino game park for 700 Rand each (about AUD$120 each). If you sat back and looked at it, that does seem quite expensive, however we were happy with what was on offer and it ended up being a great day so no complaints!
Our fellow traveller Nick had decided to join in too, so we all jumped in to the truck, however had also told Dudley that we couldn’t pay for the tour until we made it to an ATM. Dudley knew of a place we could safely go, so drove us back out past the settlement we’d seen on our first night.
He dropped us at a shopping mall that was obviously incredibly secure and had the banks all in one little zone. He had successfully instilled fear in us though, telling us about a time when he was at an ATM last December (in an industrial area, not where we were going J ) and had a gun put to his head.
We had always planned our Africa trip around animals so it was great to finally be able to see some of them in the flesh, even if it is in a contained game park. Some of the sightings included Sables, Waterbucks, Oryx (gemsboks?), warthogs, ostriches, lions, cheetah and a white rhino. All of these animals and it’s only our second day!
The trip had timed well with several predator feedings on that day so we got to see dinnertime for lions, cheetahs and wild dogs (look like hyenas but aren’t). The lion feeding was particularly unexpected, with a ute driving down a dusty road towards this one metal stake, at which point the park ranger hooks a zebra appendage to the stake and quickly drives off again.
During the cheetah feeding we were watching the session so intently that we weren’t really looking right along side the car. It came as quite a shock to our fellow traveller Nick in the front seat when a cheetah crept past the side of the car, where Nick was leaning his arm out to get that perfect photo! It’s ok we don’t have to call him ‘Righty’ but it was close J Dudley said that just last year a tourist had been killed by a lion when they got out of the car to take a photo, suffice to say it is frowned upon J
In the middle of the game park they have set up an animal crèche for sick or orphaned baby animals.
The crèche had many other creatures there too, a jaguar (who didn’t look all that happy actually L ) flamingos, incredibly cute baby white lions and a baby hippo! There was also a tiger show, which the guide made clear was a way to get the sick tigers to exercise rather than a performing circus.
As we drove out of the game park there was another enclosure you could visit but this was just depressing. They had fully grown white lions and Benghal tigers in much, much smaller enclosures. None of the creatures looked happy so I wouldn't complain if I heard that this place closed down and just stuck with the much larger game park.
Last stop of the day was a little unexpected, and in no way animal related, but involved a trip to a ‘wonder cave’. It was this massive underground cavern, complete with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites and well worth a visit. Apparently Italian workers used to work in the cavern just dynamiting chunks of it away, then hauling their load all the way back up to the top of the cave, sounds like hard work!
The tour was over the day, so it was back to Amadwala Lodge. Knowing that we were heading for Kruger, Dudley told a story in which a hyena had reached into a tent and dragged a woman out by the face. So….best not to think about that really…..
There was just enough time for a quick shower and then to the bar for the Intrepid de-brief which basically talked through what we’d do every day of the tour so we knew what we were in for.
Another big day was finished up chatting away to our fellow travellers in the restaurant, but it was time to get some sleep so we would make our early morning Intrepid start. The tour is beginning, can’t wait!!!