Our next stop, after Rawdons in the Midlands, was Leopard Mountain, about a 4/5 hour drive from Nottingham Road. We drove, only the four of us, in two cars !!!! .. both cars packed with wedding stuff … hubby and I in his car and Terry and Paola in my car following behind … seemed ridiculous to cart all the bits and pieces all the way to Hluhluwe, then all the way back home again, but what else could we do?!
Leopard Mountain falls within the Zululand Rhino Reserve.
Once inside the gates … at the time of our visit they had had no rain, hence the very very dry conditions. Many areas were blackened after fires, some controlled and others caused by runaway fires. A pity, as game viewing was not the best with animals having ventured to better ‘pastures’. A huge difference from our previous visit when all was green and lush with abundance of game – except for lion, cheetah and the illusive leopard .. oh yes, also elephant) Not a single buffalo did we see this time whereas last time we saw several large herds. Nor did we see cheetah and the illusive leopard
BUT, it was fantastic .. the bush smells, the sky, the trees, the grass, animals in their natural habitat … and the peace and quiet !!
All the 9 secluded stone chalets have been renovated since our last visit in Dec 2011 (there are three posts in Dec 2011 archives). Love what they’ve done …. even have their own private plunge pool !! literally a plunge pool!! Marvellous for sipping something chilled while gazing out at the magnificent view with the Msunduzi River meandering through the valley below ..
Pathways to the chalets from the main Lodge are safe during the day. A female Nyala took a liking to the new green shoots on the vegetation close by on several occasions. We could almost touch her, as we quietly walked passed without disturbing her, but at night, a Ranger accompanies visitors in case larger animals come snooping !!!
Despite the lack of rain, new shoots were sprouting on trees and bushes ..
A day or two after we left, the rains came and I believe now, the Msunduzi River is flowing, whereas it was a dry river bed when we were there – we even drove along it in the game vehicle
Hubby walking to our chalet .. on his right ..
No front doors on the chalets … you gotta put the Do Not Disturb sign somewhere !!!
Our chalet ..
I took photos of the main lodge in 2011 – not this time, even though there were small changes. Although how can you stand on the deck and not take a photograph !!!! The panoramic view is amazing and irresistible for a photo or two ..
Wide-angled lens came in handy !!
Lounge and dining area of the lodge on right ..
What used to be the swimming pool is now a fish pond!!! With all chalets having their own secluded plunge pools, there was no need for a communal guest pool. It had been stocked a day or two before .. so it’s early days ..
I mentioned earlier about close encounters with a female Nyala along the path … there was another – as we were setting off for an evening game drive, a female warthog was giving her friend a spa treatment from ‘top to toe’, or should I say the other way round, in the shady ‘garden’ between the car park and the front entrance to the lodge ..
… a drink of water from the bird bath before going on their way …
Sunset on one of the evening game drives before dinner ..
Dinner is served around the boma at the main lodge. It’s dark and quiet .. a little chilly when the sun goes down … delicious meal .. excellent choice of wines .. roaring fire … sand in your shoes .. and chatter about the sightings of the day !!
More to follow …. more African landscape … game drives, carnivores and herbivores … sunrises …. sunsets … … … .. !!