Yesterday was laundry day again… The best laundry day ever! I kind of live for laundry days at the moment. It is such a welcome change of the ordinary lock-down-life routine. A routine that most Krugerholics would absolutely love to experience, I am well aware of that. And we are not complaining at all. We have a big yard, a fantastic view of the Kruger and animal friends that come and visit. It is just nice to get out twice a week!
We had a bit of a slow start yesterday morning. We had a lekker family breakfast together and it was only at about 10 that I finally left for camp.
Driving under the thatch roof of the gate I had a good chuckle. You know the area in front of the reception? That piece of rock-garden in the fork of the road with all the aloes and impala lilies? There are a few rows of rocks on the edge where the garden meets the tar road. And the elephants have pushed a lot of those rocks into the road. They even moved the buffalo skull over, right at the entrance of the reception! I am telling you: they are loving their free reign of Kruger!
Before the T-junction, I was greeted by a big breeding herd of elephants. They were busy feeding and slowly making their way to the river. It promised to be a warm day! On the fringe of the herd, two bulls were having a stand-down. One bull was significantly bigger than the other one, both in body size and the length of his tusks. While the rest of the herd was going about their business (I saw three ellies that looked like they were having a snooze in the shade of a Marula Tree), the two bulls had a bit of a wrestling match. The sound of their tusks clashing together was impressive. I wonder what a full-blown fight for dominance would sound and look like!
The jostling bulls disappeared in the thickets and I continued my journey to the Laundromat. As there was on my previous laundry trips, the road was littered with elephant dung and discarded twigs and branches. Then at one of the wallows right by the side of the road, another breeding herd of elephants was having a mud bath. I could see more elephants making their way to the wallow – with haste in their gait and obvious excitement at the prospect of cooling down. The other elephants greeted them with trumpeting and tummy rumbling. Ahhh, I could watch elephants for hours… but I had my washing to do.
While I waited for a gap to slowly move past all the elephants, I saw a troop of baboons further up ahead. They were also all over the road, running up and down, youngsters chasing each other, the adults quietly grooming each other in the remaining shade on the road. I could also watch baboons for hours! They are so entertaining!
With the baboons leaving the road and moving further away, I also continued my drive along the empty road to camp. The grass on the side of the road is starting to dry out and is getting this beautiful golden colour. One particular reddish-golden tuft of grass caught my eye and as I drove past it, the tuft moved and turned into a big male lion! He was fast asleep in the last bit of shade on the side of the road, using a pile of elephant dung for a pillow.
My heart skipped a beat or two as a stopped my car and slowly reversed to get next to him. Seeing lions never gets boring! Even for us Kruger residents!
The sound of my handbrake woke up my sleeping beauty. You know how you sometimes have pillow creases all over the side of your face after a particularly good nights sleep? Well, that was exactly what this lion looked like when he lifted his head off of his elephant poop-pillow. His regal mane stuck to his face and I could not help but laugh at the pillow-crease analogy that popped into my head. The lion looked at me all sleepy-eyed for a few moments and then fell asleep again; Head on his massive paws.
I sat next to this sleeping lion for quite a while. People in Malalane have reported hearing lions roaring close by for the past week or so. And I wonder if it could be this male patrolling his territory al night and then sleep during the day.
The little patch of shade the lion was sleeping in was getting smaller and smaller. I was getting hot inside the car and I could see the lion was feeling the heat too. He started yawning, scratching the back of his head and finally got up for a good old cat stretch… Not long after that, he disappeared into the bush, leaving my heart pounding in my chest. This was a big guy! And you can really only appreciate how big lions actually are when they stand upright next to you!
Right when I was thinking that this trip to the Laundromat could not get any better, a bright green blob on the road caught my eye. A chameleon was crossing the road in typical rocking back and forth chameleon style. I took a few pictures of him and made sure he got to the other side of the road safely.
Best laundry day ever!!
PS. Keep an eye on our Facebook Page for some video’s I took on yesterday’s laundry day!