Although I would have liked to stay at Kosi Bay Lodge for another day or two in order to take advantage of the comfortable, affordable lodging, we felt we had seen and done what there was to do. We considered staying another night, going back to the beach for the day, but it was cloudy and windy so it wasn’t much of a beach day. Also, I have been anxious to get back to some wildlife parks so we drove out the 4K’s of deep sand road to the tar road and made it to Tembe Game Park by late morning. Although we had been told on the phone that they accepted the Wild Card, when we arrived they said they didn’t. I persisted and after discussing the mater with a number of staff I finally got one to call the big boss who said they did accept it. It isn’t that I mind paying $25 every time we want to enter a park but we paid $200 for the Wild Card, hoping that much of the money would be used to help the animals. We like to consider that money–along will all that we spend on food and lodging–to be our contribution to the wildlife and local economies.
There was great elephant and antelope viewing at the first blind we visited but then the day got too hot and we didn’t seem much except Impala and Nyala antelope during the two or three hours driving around the rest of the park. We did see a really big bull elephant in the distance at one of the mostly dry pans and for some reason this was more exciting than seeing 10 elephant up close at a watering hole while we sat in a blind. It seemed more real or wild. The only other blind we visited was at the edge of a large natural swamp but it is late winter, one of the driest times here, so there was only a bit of water. Since it appeared we were the only visitors to this 5 square mile park on this particular day and there didn’t seem to be any game wardens around for miles, we left the blind and walked through the forest for a while. It is so interesting how most of the antelope aren’t scared of you at all when you are in your vehicle, in fact you sometimes have to encourage them to get out of the roadway, yet when they see you on foot they disappear into the brush the second they see you. We seldom seem to get enough walking in Africa since most of the game parks discourage or forbid it, usually it is posted clearly that you can’t get out of your vehicle. This park didn’t have signs but I suspect it was written in some brochure somewhere that you aren’t supposed to get out of your car. There aren’t any big predators in Tembe but there are elephants and rhino so we were very careful as we made our way down a game trail through the brush. When we got to the edge of the big marsh we could see zebra, birds, wart hog, and various antelope. In the distance we saw a family of elephant moving our way so we watched them until they got lost in the tall marsh grass. Although they were still a mile off we decided it was time to get back to our car since they had been moving in our direction and they can cover that distance quickly.
Just before we left Tembe we saw some giraffe, which were the first we’ve seen in their native territory, so that was exciting. It is much more dramatic to see them in the semi-wild, compared to a zoo, because they walk and browse their way through forests of tall trees and they tower above them. Bob commented that it was like seeing a dinosaur as there is nothing else in the animal kingdom so tall. They do resemble the brontosaurus in many ways.