Hello and happy Monday lovers! I hope everyone had a great weekend- we had some fantastic weather in DC and I definitely took advantage! I took a nice long walk Friday evening with the bf and Saturday evening my roommate, her bf and mine all sat outside and grilled. It was glorious!
First- congrats to the Rhino Bracelet giveaway winners at the bottom of this post!
Well the much anticipated Part 2 recap is here of my South Africa trip! In case you missed it, click here to see part 1!
The very first full day began bright and early with a 5am wake up call. After a quick muffin breakfast we boarded our game vehicle and drove to the gates of Kruger National Park. We were super lucky- no one else signed up from our lodge for the game drive so we got an exclusive VIP game drive experience- just the two of us!
Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed for our first drive!
Game drives begin before dawn so we can watch the sunrise over the park (well, mainly because the animals are up at dawn to feed before it gets too hot, but the sunrise notion is much better, don’t you agree?). Isn’t this amazing?
Not 20 minutes into our drive and we saw the first of the ‘Big Five’- the holy grail of animals people fly from all over to see, which include Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard.
A white rhino munching on breakfast! Robert, our amazing guide, told us that the Rhino was actually named the Wide Rhino by Bushmen, by contrast the very rare Black Rhino has a more narrow head. But when outsiders started coming to the area they misunderstood the Bushmen, thus the White Rhino name stuck.
A few minutes later Robert spotted some cheetah tracks- and said they were fresh!
We did end up seeing a cheetah for a brief moment, and I did snag a photo- unfortunately it’s really difficult to see her tiny head in the grass- they are definitely well camouflaged. I decided to post the photo- can you spot her?*hint- look to the left of the horizontal branch, the top of her head/ears is right in the middle pf the photo!
Even though we only saw her for a few moments, it was so neat- we saw her stand up and then lye in the grass contemplating going for a kill!
After watching the cheetah until we couldn’t see her anymore, we went off deeper into the park and crossed crocodile bridge. Sounds like a Disney ride!
While sitting on the bridge a herd of elephants came to the pond for their morning drink. It was amazing timing, like they waited for us to stop on the bridge to arrive! And check out the babies!! So cute! That’s two/five of the Big Five!
We also saw a bunch of these guys crossing the road. Monkeys are so cute!
We drove around for a bit on some different back roads, seeing a variety of different plant life and birds, including eagles and Zazu!
Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the real bird…so Zazu will have to do
When we came across quite a few vehicles stopped in the road we knew something good must have been spotted!
And indeed- number three on the list spotted- a male Lion, basking in the sun! There were three bachelors total, the others were a bit shy hanging out in the shade. We watched him for a bit until he joined his mates in the shade- his paws were enormous!
After second breakfast/rest stop, we drove around the park, spotting a few more amazing animals:
The zebras and giraffe, along with impalas, were quite plentiful in the park and we saw them quite frequently. On our way out of the park headed back to the lodge, we saw the best sighting ever:
A leopard! Hanging out in the shade on the side of the road. How lucky is this? We had seen four out of five of the ‘Big Five’! We were even more excited/grateful for the leopard sighting as Robert said some people come to the park for weeks and never see the big cats!! He said leopards are pretty rare to see, so this was certainly a treat!
What a great way to end our first game drive!…
Or so we thought…
Buffalo! The last of the ‘Big Five’! Bam!
We came back to the lodge for lunch and regaled our fellow lodge mates with our sightings, making everyone jealous that we saw the ‘Big Five’- PLUS a cheetah!!- on our very first game drive!!
The next day we planned on something S really wanted to do since we booked this trip last year- an elephant interaction including a ride! I had never done this so I was pretty excited as well, especially when we got to say hello up close!!
Behind the ears are super soft!
After meeting this big guy and kicking back and forth the soccer ball, we climbed aboard his mate for a ride!
It was such a blast! She gently walked through the park, pushing over trees ‘showing off’ according to her handler, and her mate behind us picked up and handed S a branch- which the handler said is a sign of affection- the handler joked he proposed to S with the branch! She gladly accepted Even our elephant picked some branches and handed them to her handler. It was so cute! Stay tuned this week for Part 3- a photo sneak preview:
Now for the recipe as promised! This dessert we sadly only had once on our trip- but man will I remember it for the rest of my life- it was THAT good! Malva pudding! It wasn’t like our Jell-O pudding, many other countries call all desserts pudding like we call them desserts! It was a luscious, moist cake that was out of this world!
Malva Pudding (adapted from food.com)
Ingredients (for the pudding):
3/4 C Sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1/2 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter (a generous tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup milk
For the sauce:
3/4 cup fresh cream
Scant 1/2 cup butter
1/2-3/4 C sugar (to taste)
1/3 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease an oven dish. i used a pie pan. I suggest something with bigger sides and mine was a bit thin.
- Beat or whip the sugar and eggs. It’s quickest in a food processor, or use electric beaters. Beat until thick pale yellow, then add the apricot jam and blend well.
- Melt the butter (don’t boil) and add the butter and vinegar to the wet mixture.
- Sift the flour, soda and salt.
- Add this mixture with the milk to the egg mixture in the mixer. Beat well.
- Pour into an oven-proof dish and bake until pudding is brown and center is not jiggly–depending on your oven and oven dish this will be between 30 – 45 minutes. (Mine was done in 30 minutes with my shallow pan).
While the pudding bakes:
- In a pot, melt together the ingredients for the sauce, and stir well.
- Pour it over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.
- Leave to stand awhile before serving. Serve warm. Attempt to not consume the whole cake yourself
Have a marvelous Monday- hopefully with some Malva pudding for dessert tonight
Question of the day: How did you spend your weekend? What was the best thing you saw on a vacation? What was the best dessert you’ve had that you’ll always remember?
Rhino Bracelet Winners: I had a bonus bracelet I found while finishing unpacking- so we have three!
Alison: ‘I would like to win to help bring awareness to what seems like a very good cause. The thought of poaching animals just makes me sick and I feel so many people know so little about it’
Wantsmorepuppies: ‘Really fantastic post. Be the Change for Animals had a post about elephant poaching in Thailand last month (http://btc4animals.com/weekly-cause/tell-thailand-ban-illegal-ivory-trade/), so I’m definitely interested to read more about the Rhino Force and the situation in South Africa.‘
Sarah @ Nourish and Flourish: ‘Wow, this post breaks my heart. I had no idea that rhino poaching was such a serious problem, but I’m now inspired to spread the word. So many people in the Western world are ignorant about practices like this; imagine if we all banded together to promote awareness and change! I’d like to win a bracelet so that I can start doing just that. Hugs! <3′
Congrats! Email me (email@example.com) your mailing address so I can ship them out to you!