Hiding in plain sight. Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa, Welgevonden Game Reserve

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The rhinoceros stood ... about 500m away ... not a twentieth-century animal at all, but an odd, grim straggler from the Stone Age.Winston Churchill

 

Lockdown…When every day feels like a Sunday! Much like the movie Groundhog Day, here in South Africa, the COVID-19 lockdown has turned each household into a remake without the comedy aspect.

 

Not quite the long walk to freedom that ex-President Nelson Mandela undertook, but a 65m stroll to the underground hide at Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa. The door at the top of the stairs leads back up to the lodge main building. Seeing that the lodge is set well above ground level, there are a series of steps that take guests downwards. And for those who are concerned, the walkway is made on bricks, concrete and steel reinforcing…enough to take the weight of a small herd of elephants!

 

Literally the light at the end of the tunnel… With the water reflecting off the roof of the hide.

 

With the hide in the foreground and the lodge building in the background. Not a view normally seen by guests, but it puts the layout into perspective.

 

If there are no game species to photograph, then one must make do with whatever lands in front of a lens. In this case, it was a large fly that kept me entertained while I waited patiently for something larger to arrive.

 

If like me, you had forgotten a bean bag, then a folded up padded jacket will work just as well. Luckily for me, it was a warm day and I did not need to be wearing it. Rugged Wear clothing to the rescue…

 

“Is THAT what I look like”? A Red-billed Oxpecker looks at its reflection while waiting for a host animal to stop by for a drink.

 

This Cinnamon-breasted Bunting caused me to dig deep into my birding book as it was a species that I had seen before. I found it, eventually, on the FINAL page (447) on my SasolĀ  Birds of Southern Africa book!

 

And I thought that Buffalo could look at you as if you owe them money…This Speckled Pigeon seems to be as good a job of giving me “the eye“.

 

It seemed to be a time for the animals to kneel to drink. First this rather skittish Blue Wildebeeste.

 

Followed by warthog and entourage.

 

Once all the larger game and birds had come and gone, it was back to photographing the small stuff that was sharing the hide with me. This was just one of many Skinks that were basking in the sunlight on the warm concrete and rocks.

 

 

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