Our arrival at the Kichaka Game Lodge was met by a most unexpected interloper: rain. Lots and lots of rain. So much that they had roads washed out and flooding across parts of the region by the end of the week we were there. Still, we were there for a safari adventure and we were going to have one. A little rain couldn’t hold us back. It probably should have.
We spotted what appeared to be a small break in the rain, changing from downpour to misting drizzle and decided that we’d like to have a go at it. Geoff, our steadfast and dedicated guide agreed to head out, though it wasn’t hard to see that he considered it a somewhat foolish plan. Still, in the face of our unwavering desire he agreed to suit up and take the truck out for a spin.
The roads were, well, not really roads in many areas. The rains had caused small ponds to overflow their banks, turning portions of the park lands in to rivers.
Shortly after our arrival in the park we spotted some antelope. This was incredibly cool to us. Geoff seemed less enthused. It turns out the antelope are everywhere and can be spotted pretty much anywhere and anytime on the reserve. As such, they weren’t nearly as special a sight. Still, they were very cool for us the first time.
An hour or so into the drive we spotted a light yellow splotch on a hill across the way. An animal? A rock? The only way to find out was to drive up and check it out. As we bounced across the hills the light yellow splotch didn’t move. We were convinced it was a rock. It was not. It was this carcass, recently killed by cheetahs and not yet fully picked over.
Looking at it from the road way was fine but not completely rewarding. Given all the rain it was somewhat questionable as to whether we should press forward off the dirt road. Geoff asked our thoughts and I replied with my usual thought, "What’s the worst that could happen??"
We were quite quickly axle-deep in mud, getting rained on, with no way out. And did I mention that we were about 100 feet from a fresh carcass that was not yet fully picked over? Ruh-roh.
We jacked the truck up, filling the mud pit under each of the four tires with rocks gathered from the area. We eventually were able to move about 5 feet before sinking right back into the same mud. Not good at all. All the while, we could feel the animals watching us from the brush, or so we thought. Turns out the cheetahs really were there as we’d discover the next morning. Zoinks!
Eventually another truck drove by and was able to help us out of the mud with a tow rope. And we made it back to the lodge in one piece to the warm welcome of the staff and the bar where hot toddies were consumed n front of the fire to restore warmth to our cold, soaked bodies.
We made it back to the lodge in one piece so the drive can certainly be considered a success. We even spotted a couple animals along the way. Still, it was most definitely not what we expected from our game drives on safari. Fortunately the drive the next morning was much better. Details on that trip coming soon.
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