Monday 21 May 19.
Well here we are on our first drive since getting back from a wonderful stay with the family down at Collisheen in KZN. It’s got drier and colder while we’ve been away and the early mornings are nice and brisk, great May weather. After our usual car swap we set off down the airstrip and the usual herds of impala are dotted about both on parallel clearing and on warthog plains, we head down the palm and on serengeti another herd of impala, left up the short cut and down kudu, finding a lone elephant bull, we then turn left along the beautiful new road that joins kudu with red duiker drive, goes
through some lovely bush, unfortunately we are almost at the other end when our way is blocked by a very large tree, pushed over by some ellie, so back track and continue along kudu past idube, which is dry at the moment and down to the river, passing a small herd of waterbuck, a couple of kudu, more impala and a herd of 3 nyala, and finally as we
come onto the causeway we spot a lion, as full as a tick, coming down to drink from the north side. He comes down to the river, then crosses under the causeway and drinks a little way down before returning they way he’d come, Arnold and Joan are just in time to see him, we do a search for him without luck.We enjoy our breakfast at the little look out on north before heading down to the office to say a very sad farewell to Mario and Meagan, who leave for good on Wednesday.
Mario and Meagan were at Olifants for 26 years. Their contribution to the success of Olifants is immeasurable, both have excelled in their respective areas, Mario on the conservation of Olifants and Meagan on the administration side, both of them ran the staff with respect resulting in great rapore and work ethic. Mario’s love, knowledge and commitment to all things wild has resulted in a reserve that is a gem in the low veld,. His willingness to share is love and knowledge, whether it be about a tree, flower, rhino, lion or bird or even a dog, or an insect has been appreciated by all. So much has happened under his watch, some major highlights are, the development of Olifants North, the removal of the our fence with Klaserie, and with it came a large influx of elephant, the electrification of all of Olifants, the rhino war, that brought with it so much anguish and horror and finally the removal of all horns and of late the opening of new roads, in all of these Mario has played an important part in ensuring that our reserve has remained as pristine as is it can possibly be.
Equally important has been Meagan’s roll on the admin side, her attention to all things financial has been paramount in ensuring that Olifants is on a stable footing, plus all things pertaining to the smooth running of day to day tasks required to ensure that when members arrive, their units have all been serviced and their stay happy and successful, always there to help and advise, and to go that extra mile, she has been a wonderful foil to Mario and they have been an unbeatable team.
A quote by David Attenborough,
“An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfilment”
I firmly believe that Mario has always understood that and achieved it.
We wish them both Good Health and Happiness in their retirement at their new home in the Cape with their and Saba, may their future be bright, happy and successful.
Friday 24, An overcast sky starts the morning but it clears up during the morning, A pretty quiet morning, the usual herds of impala on parallel clearing and warthog plain, we head down the palm, more impala on the serengeti and a couple of kudu, we take the short cut up to the e/e and head south for wild dog pan, impala, a couple of giraffe on the way and at wild dog, a pair of jackal, we continue onto our cutline with drifters and then right along the new road that takes you past the old lion pan and the the road down to natures valley, just the odd impala and 2 kudu bulls, along madrid, up hippo way and past the airstrip and we follow the road to mikes crossing and then onto malope dr, find plenty of impala on the open plains opposite and the same for sable plains close to Q’s corner a couple of elephant, around the wallows, along mashatu dr and more impala at rhino pan. Up and onto the four pylons and along here more impala, 6 wildebeest, 3 adult and 3 calves, right along mpisi, more impala, we go left on the klaserie cutline and left again down fungwe dr, plenty of impala here, as there are at both big and double. Running low on fuel so straight along red crested drive for the office. Back to the garage, swop and home.
I end this weeks blog with my sincere apology for inadvertently pressing the publish button before completing my remarks to Mario and Meagan, the letter had not been properly edited by Morag, leaky brain I’m afraid, so sorry about that.
Roars and Trumpets, Neil & Morag