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Mkuzi Munyawana Game Reserve

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While in S. Africa we were able to stay at a friend of a friend’s game farm (thanks Ali and Steve!) in Eastern South Africa. Mkuzi game reserve borders another famous reserve Phinda and several years ago both reserves negotiated to “drop fences” between the two reserves. The gracious man who allowed us to stay, Steve, has built a house and took us along with his mother and 3 others to the park. It was originally a farm owned by one man who ended up selling it off in twenty properties with the opportunity to build a house and have your own game park. We took game drives each morning and evening in a customized Land Rover (bean bag chairs which are BRILLIANT!) and saw amazing animals – cheetah, rhinos, hippos, lions, warthogs, monkeys, elephant, cape buffalo, kudu, impala, jackals, birds, and all kinds of different plant life. We had barbeques, called a braai here, once on top of an amazing lookout. Steve was a game driver professionally for a year and a half and still has the knowledge and passion of this time. He provoked thought especially in thinking how animals interact socially and even how the impact of a changing environment and fences has changed life for them and may eventually be disastrous for us. One story that sticks out was of some adolescent male elephants that took over a herd because the lead male was poached. These males started becoming violent, mating with young females (too young), destroying land, and becoming a threat to other animals. A decision whether to terminate all of these males was being considered. Suddenly another thought occurred. Why not bring in some old 50 yr old males from Kruger down to see if they would take over leadership. Within days the younger elephants, after being knocked around by the older dominant males, were now behaving much better. Just one of the stories of how animals I thought could perhaps teach us about human sociology. Ultimately, the best part of the weekend was meeting amazing people that are now lifelong friends. We’ve been extremely blessed in this first week to have locals that have taken us in like we were family and showed us some amazing sights.

Some pics for your enjoyment… click on individual pictures for a slideshow.

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