It is now really winter in Hoedspruit. This is clearly demonstrated by the amount of animals that pass by the dam of our house and the large dam next to the airstrip. In fact, we often don't drive much further than within a radius of 1.5 kilometers around the camp. Most things happens here. One evening we see ‘our’ group of lionesses with cubs when a large herd of elephants comes out to drink. At first I'm especially concerned about those few small elephants in the group. 8 lionesses can do whatever they like you would think. But the opposite happens. One by one the lionesses disappear with their young into the riverbed and later they are also chased out of there too, so now we fear for the lion cubs. It is since that moment that we only have 4 little ones instead of 5. But yes, a week later the story is a bit different. We happen to see a giraffe with a very little one drinking at the dam that we see from our office. I'm still filming it because it's been a long time since we've seen such a little giraffe-calf .
4 days later, mother and baby are clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. Double to see how the cubs feast on this giraffe young and 8 lionesses feasting on the mother. But yes... that's the circle of life!
The 48 hours that follow we can film and take pictures as much as we like. Such a moment you realise how special it is to live in this environment. It is sometimes a bit more challenging to find animals here, but you do not stand in line with 6 cars like in Sabi to view the occasion .
Marcel and Monique are unfortunately in the Netherlands. This is not exactly something we see every month of course!
In the meantime, our search for materials for the new house continues. We fly together to Johannesburg to look at aluminium windows and marble and a day later also we fly to Skukuza to meet with a potential supplier. There I have 15 missed calls from different numbers half an hour after landing. It was understood on the radio that I was going to Kruger International instead of Skukuza. Because I had not arrived there, the search & rescue had been activated!
After that, a short trip to the Netherlands is on the program. Mainly for our vaccinations
(because as a non-resident we probably won't get that until 2023) and a visit to Spain, where we sold our house.
The planning is 2 weeks in Europe, but the number of infections is shooting up here again in South Africa. With the long lockdown of last year still fresh in our minds, we are not taking any risks. We handle everything that is absolutely necessary and fly back 8 days later.
New measures are immediately announced, such as another curfew from 9 a.m., restaurants closed and of course a new alcohol ban. For the time being, the borders - except those of Gauteng province - remain open.
Patrick has meanwhile completed his website and has recently been online. It was a lot of work but I think the result is worth it! For those who haven't seen it yet: www.ximuwu-pictures.com
The garden is a dream now after 4 years. Especially in winter the most beautiful flowers bloom in the AloeVeras and that also attracts many birds. The Canon is therefore on standby all day long on a tripod.
The dry winter also comes also with a danger. Especially now that the grass is still so high after the heavy rain last summer. We have been warned about this before in our reserve and last week it hit a nearby reserve where a major fire broke out. The local neighborhood watch made a call and en masses were helped to put out the fire. As a kind of disaster-tourist I fly over it the next day with Monique. Dramatic to watch. Fortunately, the fire is under control after a day.
Yesterday the construction team arrived to start with the staff quarters.
There will be new rooms, but also common areas for cooking and watching TV, etc. It is a complete migration with a trailer full of mattresses, tents and a temporary shower / toilet room. The new fence is now also being placed. Perhaps a good idea for the builders because those lions continue to find Ximuwu a nice place.