Unfortunately, my day 5 started much earlier than anticipated. I awoke in the middle of the night with a horrible case of what felt like the worst case of food poisoning! I’m not sure if it really was food poisoning or what doctor’s call ‘traveler’s stomach’. My friend is a true friend and was trying to nurse me back to health in the middle of the night. She ensured that I had my Gatorade to replenish/rehydrated. After the first hour I felt okay enough to take a dose of the Cipro the doctor prescribed for just this situation. After about another hour I felt like all I had left in me was to climb into bed and pray I could get some sleep. Thankfully I was able to get a few more hours of sleep before the alarm went off at 5:30 AM for our 6:30 AM game drive.
My friend was questioning me if I should go on the game drive after the night that I had, but I was feeling better and I felt as if the worst had passed. We headed up to the main lodge where they were serving coffee and tea before we went on the drive. I had a cup of tea and was looking for water bottle to bring on the drive with me, but the people at the front desk could not get it for me. Again, Johnathon was incredible and was able to get us a few bottles of water! While we were waiting we heard that another member of our car was sick during the night and would not be joining us that morning.
We set off in the dark with bundled up in several layers of clothes and the poncho/blanket, we headed off into the bush in search of lions! The lions are kept separate from the elephants and giraffes so that they do not attack them. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise in the bush on the way to the lions side. The scenery in the bush is breathtaking and definitely a sight like no other.
While driving through the gate to the lions we all felt like we were in a scene of Jurassic Park where they enter the park through the gates and the music swells! George was tracking the lion’s print to find them, but in the mean time he got a call that there were cheetahs on the other side! So we raced out of the lion side in search of the cheetahs. We were lucky to see 2 male cheetahs walking along the road at a leisurely pace and taking breaks to just lie about. George informed us that the cheetahs are the only animals that are tracked on the game reserve for their own protection. Cheetahs are at risk of being poached and skinned or they are at risk of escaping.
After watching the cheetahs for a while we were then off looking for the lions again. George started tracking the lions prints again and lo and behold he found us a lion! We saw a male lion walking in the bush. George told us that the pride of lions usually travels together and the pride at Mabula is a pride of 6 which includes a cub. He stated that they were probably father in the grass and that is why were unable to see the entire pride. We were all in awe of the male lion and were hoping that on the next lion drive we would be able to see the whole pride.
We then left the lion side and went back to the other side to head back to the lodge for breakfast. On the way back we saw more impalas, the rhinos, hartebeest, and a special appearance by the giraffes! Unfortunately we were not up close and personal with the giraffes as we were with some of the other animals, but we were able to catch a glimpse of them eating. On the way back one of our fellow travelers fell ill with the dreaded ‘travelers stomach’. There must be something there that caused all of us to get ill.
We then headed back to the lodge for breakfast. It was a light breakfast of tea and toast for me. Afterwards we spent most of the day trying to catch up on rest that we were unable to get the night before. When we got to our room we were unable to stay since the maid had not been by to clean it yet (and it needed a cleaning). So we grabbed our books and headed to the main lobby and sprawled out on the couches there. We were getting updates on our fellow travelers who were ill and took a bit of a nap in the lobby. We eventually wandered back to our room where I decided to take another does of medicine. This was probably not the best call I made – antibiotics plus a pretty empty stomach was not a good mix! I ended up getting sick again and missing the afternoon drive. I heard George provided another great drive!