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.
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)