The Game

We spent Easter weekend searching for big game at two private game reserves in South Africa. On Saturday, we left the dock at Richard’s Bay and drove about an hour and a half to Hluhluwe Private Reserve. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that name. It was massive and the terrain was not like the terrain of any reserve we have ever visited in Africa. It was also surrounded by a national park which, in reality, made it an enormous place for the animals to roam. The area was mountainous and covered with lush vegetation of all kinds. Yesterday, we left the ship in Durban and traveled a little over an hour to Tala Private Game Reserve. Tala is about seven thousand acres, much smaller than Hluhluwe, and the terrain was hilly and somewhat arid with low brush and lots of grass, which the animals seemed rather fond of. From the size of those rhinos, it’s obvious that even vegetarians can get fat. I am going to post some of our favorite photos from the weekend. I am not posting a picture of hippos as they were all under water to protect their hides from the mid-day sun and couldn’t be bothered to come up for a photo op.

Don’t you just hate it when your kids act like baboons in front of total strangers?


These are white rhinos. Someone finally explained why some rhinos are called white and some are called black when they all look gray to me. The black rhino has a hooked lip which is better for browsing and helps them munch on leaves. The white rhino has a square lip which is better for grazing, which is what is going on here. There are other physical differences, but just so you know, their names aren’t derived from their color.


This little cutie is six days old.


The king.


A good old reliably ugly wildebeest, the “spare parts animal.” They are rather social and will hang out with any of the other animals, even their enemies. They were hanging out with impalas yesterday.


Of course, the warthog isn’t exactly beautiful either. They are very adaptable and can roll with the punches life throws at them. However, lions love to munch on them, so clever and cunning are excellent traits to develop.


This water buffalo looks bored.


Someone once said, “If you are tired of London, you are tired of life.” I say, “If you are tired of seeing giraffes, you are tired of life.”


I looked into the endangered/threatened status of the animals we saw this weekend and here is my report.

Warthogs – nope.

Ostriches – least concern.

Wildebeests – least concern.

White  rhinos – not endangered, but “near threatened.” (Black rhinos are critically endangered.)

Giraffes – vulnerable.

Elephants – endangered.

Wild water buffalo – endangered. (Domesticated water buffalo are not endangered.)

Hippos – vulnerable.

Impalas – not endangered.

Zebras –  as a whole, no, but some species are more vulnerable.

Baboons – are you kidding?


There was a species of animal that was annihilated in suite 830 on Easter. It’s extinct now but it’s pictured below. Rick “Mike Tysoned” his ears.

Grand Lapin de Pâques au lait (AKA Easter bunny rabbitus chocolatus)




  1. Melinda Young on April 10, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    Wonderful. Was the elephant charging?

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on April 11, 2023 at 1:31 am

      Nope, I just zoomed in closely, but there were two males that seemed to have pressing pecking order matters to deal with.

  2. Judy on April 10, 2023 at 6:28 pm

    Awesome pictures! Loved the post!

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on April 11, 2023 at 7:19 am

      We had a spectacular weekend riding around in the jeeps looking for animals. There is nothing like seeing them close up.

  3. Donna on April 11, 2023 at 1:32 am

    These are amazing photos and info. The animals are magnificent…….but the chocolate bunny must have fallen into the hands of human predators..such a fate!.

    • Ruth Anne Lawson on April 11, 2023 at 3:17 am

      Yes, I’m afraid it was a case of human encroachment!

  4. Pam Morgan on April 11, 2023 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for sharing your fabulous pictures!

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