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Birthday Celebrations at Mkulumadzi Lodge
Posted on: Friday, July 29, 2016
Blog Category: 'Wildlife & Reserves'

Robin Pope Safaris supply us with this fantastic blog from the point of view of one of their guests - Caroline, who visited Mkulumadzi Lodge for an unforgettable birthday celebration:

Growing a year older doesn’t seem that bad when you’re surrounded by pristine wilderness, wildlife and endless birdsong. Immersing yourself in nature is the best birthday present you could give yourself. Robin Pope Safaris guest, Caroline, recently discovered this when she decided to spend her birthday on safari at Mkulumadzi Lodge with her husband, Ian, and was treated to some spectacular sightings. It was as if the animals knew it was her birthday!

Caroline and Ian share a little more about the experience:
"We had gone to Mkulumadzi to celebrate Caroline's birthday and on our first day we were all delighted to be surrounded by a small group of elephant, including a few young. We watched happily from the truck as two 'teenagers' played tug of war at the side of the road, obviously practicing for when they would grow and face the real thing! As we sat, a very large matriarch approached our vehicle from the front; apart from flapping her ears, she didn't appear to be openly aggressive, but she was awfully big! Our wonderful guide, Liwonde, asked us to be still and quiet and we didn't need further prompting as she came towards the truck, lifting her trunk up in the air in order to have a good sniff at the intruders! She obviously wasn't convinced as she then placed her trunk gently on the bull bars of our jeep and felt along the length of it. Only then did she gently turn away and amble off the road once more.

Liwonde explained that, like most elephants, she would have quite poor eyesight and would rely on smell to see if we were a threat or not. When that didn't allay her fears, she resorted to touch and decided that the jeep, engine switched off and its occupants as still as mice she deemed it to be quite harmless and allowed us to stay!

We were thrilled to watch a baby elephant running in and out of the road in front of us; mock charging, ears flapping, kicking up his heels in such a joyous way he seemed to be dancing for us - and Caroline's birthday was made!

Back at Mkulumadzi, we were spoilt with an excellent meal and champagne for our birthday girl and finished with drinks around the fire before settling on an early night.

Up at the crack of dawn we headed off, with Liwonde promising to find lion for us! After driving for around an hour, Liwonde was alerted by baboons making quite a racket in a clump of trees near the river and we stopped to look at fresh lion tracks in the road. Ian looked up and spotted two male lions about 25 yards ahead of us in the road and we swung into the bush to follow them. Without warning, one of the lions roared, fixed us with a pinpoint stare and charged.

Luckily Liwonde, our very experienced guide, knew exactly what to do and maintained eye contact while slowly backing away and the lion ground to a halt a few yards away, and padded back to his brother, who had settled seemingly unconcerned by the fuss, in the bush behind.

Whatever the reason, it was exciting, thrilling and very scary! Liwonde said the lion was 'making dust' i.e. it wasn't really going to pounce but we've all decided they're not called the King of the Jungle for nothing!”

It just goes to show; birthdays are always better when spent in the bush!

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