After depositing out bags in our room we went back to the main building of the lodge for our first safari. We were scheduled for 4 over the course of our stay – 2 evening safaris and 2 morning.
When we got to the lodge entrance, there were two jeeps waiting for us. With 25 people we couldn’t fit into one.
Our transportation. Of course the group split naturally – young ones in one ans us old foggies in the other. We were off for a three hour tour of the game preserve.
This is the first thing we were shown.
This is a Shepherd’s tree, the namesake of the lodge. It turns out that this tree has many uses. The shepherd would bring his flock to the tree. While they grazed on the low hanging leaves, the shepherd would sit in the shade of the tree to cool off. The leaves also have medicinal properties as well. If you had an upset stomach, eating the leaves would provide relief. This tree is an evergreen and is often called “the Tree of Life” because of its use by both humans and animals.
Now it was time to look for animals.Shepherd’s tree is considered a transition reserve because it is located between forested areas on one side and a desert region on the other. Because of this, animals from both regions coexist on the preserve.
The first group we saw were the impalas.
Wherever we saw impala you could be sure the wildebeest weren’t far away.
Even though there weer elephants back at the lodge, it was still something to see them roaming around the preserve
Here in PA in is not unusual to see deer crossing the highway while you are driving around. There we had baboon crossings.
Another common sight was the zebras.
I will say that for me the most thrilling part of the safari came during the first morning ride. This little guy and his friend crossed the road right behind our vehicle.
Halfway through the three hour trip we stopped at a rest area for refreshments and a potty stop. Here we are enjoying something to eat and drink.
On returning to the lodge we were greeted with warm damp washcloths so that we could wipe the dust off of our hands and face. Because the sun had already set while on the evening safaris we also had the choice of a cup of hot chocolate or warmed sherry. Then we went for dinner.
While we were at the Shepherd’s Tree Lodge someone in our group celebrated her 70th birthday. So of course unknown to her our wonderful guide arranged for a cake at dinner that evening.
The young people couldn’t let it go at that so after dinner they arranged a little party for the birthday girl. Even though we were tired and I was ready for sleep we had to go.
This brings our 3 days at the Shepherd’s Tree to a close.
Next week Soweto, the Saxon, and on to Livingstone.