Mala Mala

In most respects Mala Mala has been the very best of the best. We saw “The Big Five” several times over, large herds of water buffalo and zebra. Lion prides, leopards mating, a leopard mother and cub, leopard kill, eland bulls who are normally very shy, towers of giraffe, herds of elephants, chameleon, monkeys, mongooses, amazing raptors, secretary birds, rhinos and more rhinos. Incredible place. We even had armed escorts back to our Cabins one night as there was a leopard in camp.
Our rooms are round bomas, very lovely and huge with thatched roofs; Barb and I had to meet in the middle in order to hear each other talk.
The photography was absolutely incredible and I have Louis to thank for that. I have learned more from him over the last couple of weeks than I ever have from taking courses. Of course it didn’t hurt that I was using his top of the line Nikon either. Remember when I said we had weight issues with Phil and Janes 172? Well at Polokwane, my luggage and cameras were sent back to Lanseria with one of the aircraft with a busted vacuum pump. So I arrived at by far the swankest lodge on the trip with one shirt, one pair of slacks which convert to shorts, a bathing suit and a couple of pairs of undies in a pillow case! I got mightily tired of rinsing things out at night and putting the same thing back on again in the morning!
Having said that, over the course of the trip vanity has not played a part. You are dressing for practicality, warmth or coolness or both in the same drive and to keep the sun off. Everyone is dusty and sunburnt and in “bush colours” of various shades of khaki, brown etc. Nary a brightly patterned or colored outfit for the duration. It’s kind of refreshing in a way when the focus is on something completely unrelated to how you look.
It has been an interesting trip in another way as well, everyone on the trip with one exception is married and long term with the same partner. The exception is Mike and Sylvie who are madly in love in a new relationship. Cute to watch but a little jealousy arises on my part. I am going to see my sweetie in Rome but it isn’t the same. Well I suppose Louis is an odd man out too but he must be madly in love if he is planning to propose soon. Anyway watching the dynamics of some of these lifers was really interesting. They all seem to have mastered the art of being in a long term relationship, maintaing themselves as individuals and keeping respect for their partners. Coming from an ultimately dysfunctional and failed marriage it was all very heartening to watch these guys in action.
Barb and I discovered at One point that some staff thought we were lovers so then we made an effort to drag Xavier’s name into the conversations as much as possible – quite funny how the attention changed suitably once they got it!

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