I realized that we were doing so much talking about what we were seeing animal - wise but none about what is happening, what we're experiencing, expectations etc. Here are some general observations about the African bush.
It is winter here and although 40's at night it is quite pleasant (t-shirt weather) during the day in the sun. It is also their dry season so while driving through the bush you see lots firebreaks.
The landscape is not Out of Africa but dry and grassy with tall trees, some cactus, small bushes etc. I guess they call it "the bush" for a reason. The grass is short in some areas and really tall in others, it is hilly and there are some rock outcrops. There is this one bush/tree variation that has long thorns that look like it is covered with white toothpics.
The safari vehicle is a Land Rover and is amazing! It is a 4 row totally open air vehicle that can move over trees, climb sand dunes (coming up out of the dry river bed) and just about navigate anything. At one point I thought we were stuck and while trying to get up a sandy incline had the same sensation as when driving on snow. You can feel yourself slipping but know exactly when the wheels grip and you're not sliding anymore.
There have been zero mosquitos! We're taking malaria pills just to be safe but honestly, I bet it wouldn't matter at all.
There is a time between dusk and nightfall that the bush becomes totally silent. No birds, no crickets - nothing. It remains that way for a minute or two and then all the sounds come back.
Yesterday when the head female lion came over (we saw a pride of 9 lions) to check us out and walked right up to the vehicle my adrenaline spiked. She calmly looked at Wil and I kept thinking...please don't eat him. That would ruin my trip. The whole time Lucky kept saying, "Don't move!"
The first morning when we saw the cheetah chase the impala it was very exciting but I couldn't decide who I was rooting for. I don't like blood and guts (can't even watch CSI) but I've heard a kill is something impressive to see. My feeling is I got the best of both worlds where I saw the exitement of the chase but no blood or guts.
As for our typical day it goes as follows...
We receive drinks to our room just before 6:30am. It is whatever you choose and we get a pot of coffee, pot of tea and an orange juice. We sip on that while we get ready and then head to the breakfast room (in the Main Lodge area) for 7am. We do EVERYTHING with our ranger, Lucky. He meets us at breakfast and eats with us.
From breakfast, we head to our safari vehicle for our morning drive. It is old time tracking where Lucky can tell us what animals are where by tracks and we follow the tracks, drive into the grassy area etc. We drive from about 7:30ish- 11:30/noon. We have some free time until lunch at 1pm, which is served on a large deck overlooking the river and the bush.
After lunch we have more free time until 2pm when tea is served and then we head out on another drive from 2:30pm-6:30/7pm. It may seem like a lot of driving and I was worried about that but it simply flies by, even for Wil.
Cocktail hour in the main lodge is at 7pm (or really any time as the barman is always around). 8pm is dinner and they serve it in the boma which is a round 18ft high wooden stick fence. Mala Mala was originally a hunting lodge and the boma was where they stored their kill. Even though it is chilly, there is a very large fire in the middle, they have blankets on every chair that you can drape over your shoulders and they offer you a hot water bottle for your lap. After dinner people often go back to the bar or down to the Monkey Room which has a satellite tv, a library etc. From here we head back to bed however we aren't allowed at night to walk ourself to our room. Lucky has to walk us back in the event we encounter (and we do!) wild life as there are no fences around camp.
There is so much more but it is lunchtime so I have to go!