Douglas & Elmarie Seton
Erindi Private Game Reserve, July 2022
Erindi was way more than anticipated… the leopard on the verge outside Old Trader’s Lodge and the young elephant bull that took exception to our passing set the scene for an unforgettable African bush experience.
At 16:00 on our first afternoon game drive, we joined our guide, Carel Steenkamp, in his Land Rover for the evening.
A Damara Dik Dik (the smallest species of antelope on Erindi) living in the lodge confines entertained our departure. Just beyond the gates, we encountered a group of giraffes, and Carel (who honestly looked too young for his driving license) stopped the vehicle and commenced his didactic…
Rarely in life does one meet so young a person with such ingrained enthusiasm for his professional future as this young man. He fielded our questions with alacrity, and neither failed nor hesitated in all our subsequent sightings whether they be natural, geographical, ornithological, anthropological, or astronomical. We learned about giraffe circulation and blood flow and the chemical communication of trees related to their grazing habits. The anecdotes and facts kept coming.
At the first waterhole we encountered, there was an elephant bull on the left and a pair of giraffe on the right. At first, the elephant intrigued us a little bit more than the giraffe did. Carel stopped to speak about the elephant for a while but noticed later that the giraffes were getting ready to mate. He then very enthusiastically pointed it out and moved our vehicle to get a better view. Sure enough, after a period of hesitation… the gent had his way. A very rare event considering the 15-month gestation.
The trip was interspersed with the recognition of interesting and unusual bird species. We ended our evening with a wonderful sundowner and a spectacular sunset on a dolomite ridge. On our return to the lodge, we spotted a Honey Badger and were entertained by a lone elephant bull below the orb of a smoke-covered full moon.
The morning drive as again with Carel.
We were excited at the prospect and arrived kitted against the cold (that never really came).
Within the first 20 minutes of our drive, Carel spotted the spoor of a male lion and we readily agreed to track it down. Two crossroads later, just when Carel was about to get out of the vehicle to check for tracks again, the lion roared! It was a mere 5 meters away, almost completely concealed behind a low shrub! We spent a fantastic 30 minutes with the big cat in a charming and wide-ranging conversation with Carel.
The remained of the trip was a rare learning experience for all of us as the conversation waxed and waned over diverse topics, interspersed with interesting facts about the local fauna and flora.
Erindi is spectacular, but Carel Steenkamp made it unforgettable! We will be back!