Apr 9, 2012


Next stop on our agenda was a visit to PheZulu in The Valley of a Thousand Hills. I haven't been there for years but thought it might be worth a visit. So off to the hills we went - Kyle and Emma, Chez and myself. Ciaran was working and Caelen opted to give it a miss - not quite his thing!. I must confess it was a bit of a hairy trip because I was worried about my car. The clutch is not right and I struggled a bit with the gears but we made it there and back safely.
The entrance
Chez checking out the entrance to the Zulu Village
It certainly has changed since I was last here. It looks very neat and orderly and they even do 4x4 safari rides.
Another of the buildings - they have accommodation round here
Kyle and Emma 
We began with a visit to the reptile section. There were some very large crocodiles basking in the sun.The oldest crocodile there was born in 1905 and weighs 600kg. The female wit him was 60 years old. They are not with these youngsters but have their own enclosure.
Getting a good look at the crocodiles
Wouldn't like to get too close to these two!
The two on either side of the middle one kept slipping in and out of the water. They are silent when they slip into the water and glide just below the surface. A trail of bubbles lets you know where they are.
Wouldn't fancy having a dip in here with this fella. I find crocodiles very sinister.
The entrance to the traditional Zulu village
In the first hut we entered our guide, Patrick told us about the daily life in a traditional Zulu household.
When we entered the next hut the women had to sit on the left side of the hut and the men on the right. Patrick explained that this was so that the men could protect the women from any intruders by throwing their spear with their right hand. 
You can see why they call it the Valley of a Thousand Hills
Patrick telling us how a Zulu courtship is conducted
The couple when they first meet and start the process
 The girl accepts the boy by placing a beaded necklace around his neck
 A sangoma (witchdoctor) and her apprentice
 Doing a dance after having been consulted by the groom to see what the bones have to say
The bride (the one wearing the hat) and her maidens dancing
 Now it's the turn of the men to celebrate and show off their dancing prowess
 More dancing to impress the maidens
Everybody is happy

It was very interesting watching the dancing and hearing the story of a traditional Zulu courtship. Nowadays things are very different. Many Zulus living in the cities have become westernized and Zulu is no longer their mother tongue. There are Zulu children in the school where I teach who cannot speak Zulu as English is their home language. Others have both and speak English at school and Zulu at home. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I will leave that for you to decide.

Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve

My previous post did not include any animals for a very good reason. I took over 300 photos and decided one blog would be about where we stayed and the next one would be more about the animals we saw, otherwise the blog would be too lengthy. Plus I had to decide which photos to choose. We were very lucky because on our way from the gate  entrance to Hilltop Campsite we saw quite a few animals. Before we had even reached our destination we saw warthog, rhino, elephant, zebra, water buffalo and buck.

Come on - let's get going
Our first rhino
Our first rhino then went on to join these three as they made their way deeper into the bush
Not much further on we came across this mother and baby crossing the road
They too headed off into the bush
This fella was our next "spot" after the elephants - slight difference in size!
I forgot about these guinea fowl - a bit out of focus but they were on the move
Zebra and buck - we saw a lot of these two animals
I love how each zebra has its own individual markings - no two are the same
Blue Wildebeest
How Ciaran spotted this little chap on our way to the hide I don't know - must have good eyes
Turned out there were a whole lot more!
Ciaran at the entrance to the hide - we did wonder about where the wild animals were. Thought this would be a great ambush spot for them!

Luckily Chez didn't spot this guy sorry, gal, above us. The guy is the little fella next to her leg.

As we came around a corner we encountered these two in the middle of the road. The one on the left was not happy to see us. If you look at his back right foot you can see it is in the air. He did a stamp and a jump as we stopped. They look like they have just come from a mud bath. We watched them for a bit but could see they were very edgy. They started coming towards us. We reversed a bit but they kept coming. Kyle was driving and I was next to him. Chez said just drive past them but I said no - I did not fancy being charged by two rhino! Right move - they got tired of us and disappeared back into the bush.

Come on - I dare you!!!
...and off they go
.....only to be replaced by the next group!
A totally unperturbed giraffe. There were a whole lot of them munching away.
Don't you love the markings? Each giraffe is different. I thought his were quite unusual.
This little chap was not happy to see us and made his displeasure known
Happy now that he has let us know how he feels
This one's bright blue plumage really stood out
A hoopoe
Another of Caelen's shots - not too sure what it is though!
...and he's away
Our final stop before heading home was a waterhole but as we approached this big baboon came bounding down the road closely followed by the rest of the troop. Change of plan - skip the waterhole and head off home! It was getting late anyway and the gates close at 6pm. so we had to be out of there pretty soon if we were to make the deadline.
...and here they come

Well, I must say we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the game reserve. I was glad that Emma got to see some of our wildlife. Something to talk about when she gets back home.