Clearly he and I had not got as much connection as I thought. Monate baulked at the ditch I was aiming for, perhaps I had not made it clear because it was not where the others were jumping; he stopped, veered sideways, depositing me on the floor. I narrowly missed a thorn bush! I was determined to hang on and not have my horse going home. I felt a real twerp, being a so called rider and the tour leader. I was the first and hopefully only one to fall off. Only my pride was hurt, and we were soon off, cantering across the bush again, with me determined to be a little less ambitious until Monate and I had "bonded". I was secretly glad that if anyone had to fall off, it was best it was me, and equally pleased I had bounced with only a bruise to show for it.
Our morning, after that was wonderful with good sightings, close interaction with elephants, lots of birds and everyone happy with their horses. We returned to a delicious lunch and time for a swim and lazing about before a game drive with a guide from Mashatu main lodge. We had been informed of lion sightings about an hour away and decided we should go and investigate. Off we went, driving at speed unless we saw anything of interest. The birds were stupendous and we also enjoyed the river views on the way. Even better, somehow in difficult terrain, we did find the lions. There was a pride of 9 siblings lying in a most inhospitable area full of bumps and lumps, created by elephants when it had been wet and boggy. It would have been impenetrable had it not been so dry. How exciting for us all, but especially for Nicky and Charlotte, first timers to Africa and only seen a lion in a zoo.
As it grew dark and the lions went off in search of dinner we left and had the best sundowner ever. G and T tastes so good when watching the sun set in Africa, with the warm breeze, like silk massaging your shoulders and the smells and sounds of the bush all around.
Supper and bed were on the cards after an early start. How happy we all were!