South African Safari

Safari is truly a dream for nature and animal lovers. We were, as usual, quite lucky with our “game drives”, and got to see the famous big five: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhinoceros. Needless to say the baby animals were so cute! Hope you don’t mind the unusual amount of pictures in this post! Or maybe, it’s the other way around? Stop talking you babbling baboon and show us the animal pictures!

You could forget about sleep and slow mornings on safari. Drums wake you up at 5:30 every day. First game drive departs at 6:00. Try to keep your eyes open! But after a while you hand over the intense scouting for animals to the tracker… They were far better to spot everything amongst the green bushes and yellow grass anyway.

5:57. Time to go.

Our first interaction was with a female leopard and her baby cub of five months. They played around in the grass. The curious cub wanted to inspect the strange animal with wheels, but it was bath time for the cub, which he did not appreciate and let mommy know by growling in protest. We went to the same place next morning, hoping to find them again, and we did. Some time over the night, mommy had caught an impala, which the cub munched away on. Hyenas was hiding in the bushes below, biding their time for anything to fall. Literally anything. Bones and hooves, no problem for hyenas.

Play with me mommy! Nap time. At least for one of them. Next morning: mommy serving impala for breakfast. Long tail makes an excellent balance. Climbing down was a bit scarier. Especially with hyenas in the bushes below.

We saw lots of other animals as well such as hippos, elephants, giraffes, baboons, birds, eagles. Most common is the impala, a medium sized antelope, which is a common prey for carnivore animals.

Baby hippo. Daddy is a bit bigger…Quite small herd of impalas. Taking the kids to school.Heading home. This bad buffalo boy calmly walked passed us one morning.

Lodges work together, using walkie talkies, in the National parks to share information about animals etc. This is how we found out that lions were around and hoped to get a glimpse. We arrived to a far better scene than expected. A lion family rested together on top of a termite mound with full view.

Ey, stop that! Lion family, but where’s daddy? Oh, he is having dinner. Warthog is todays special on the menu.

Another call on the radio. Tracks of wild dogs, considered an endangered species in South Africa, and the hunt was on! They travel quite fast, so a change of gears was needed. Not too long after, we found them running somewhere and pursued the chase amongst the bushes, trying to keep up. They could easily criss cross trees while our 4×4 jeep, not so much.

Wait up for me guys! Luckily they stopped here for a minute or two before they continued. Perfect camouflage with my blue wind jacket…

Elephants. What can you cay. The babies were adorable. Swinging around their trunks, trying to work out how to use it and getting a bit frustrated in the process. These playful small rascal left their mommies to say hello!

Ooo look, what’s that thing over there? Look at that mom! Oh you two, that close to the herd. Bye!

Cats are always cats. Size doesn’t matter. If we had a cardboard box, I’m very confident this old lion male would be sitting in it within a minute. Even the largest male acted like a pet cat, scratching its belly, rolling around and stretching out. Wakey wakey.Oh, hi there.

Let’s go and find the cubs and bubba (name of a lion teenager) said the guide, they should be around somewhere. Guides know on a daily basis if an animal, say leopard or lion have been seen in the area recently. It’s still difficult to find, but lucky as we were. We saw them crossing the road a couple of hundred meters in front of us. Otherwise we would have no chance of finding them. It’s quite astounding how relaxed and chill they are with the jeep cars following them, despite their car sounds and noise from crushing bushes etc. They settled down in an open area and the lion mother gave her cubs milk just in front of us. Absolutely wow! Again, cats will always be cats.

Unless you know that the lions are in the area, its very difficult to find them in the high, yellow grass. Better stay close to mama. Milk time for the babies! The lioness reacted on a sudden sound and with that, feeding time was over!One, two, three lion cubs! Our loyal friend for many hours. One of many stunning sunsets in the African outback.

This male leopard was sooo majestic! He wandered around and marked his territory by squirting on bushes and trees. His fur looks amazing in the sunlight. Soft and shiny on top of that muscular body. If Minna were a leopard, she would had her eyes set on this male.

Probably the most beautiful creature there is! Totally relaxed, he laid down just next to us. Time to hunt again! See you later.

In between all the game drives, we took advantage of the amazing “glamming-tent” we stayed at and saved up some energy for the coming drives and took a dip in the pool, played Yates or wrote our daily diary. Then it was time to head out again! And here is a few other animals we got see, including the Rhino, which was the one missing from our Big 5 list! In other words, we were very happy once we spotted them.

We had our own veranda and sun bed facing the river where we occasionally spotted wild life. One evening after sunset, we heard noise just outside of our tent, and with our flashlight we could se a giant male elephant only a few meters from us! So cool. Rhino. Massive animals. A herd of impalas along with baboons. Two waterbuck antelopes.Zebra family. Waterbuck female with a newborn calf. She had just given birth when we arrived. Beautiful scene. The calf tried to stand up, but legs were still too shaky and it fell down again.

Sadly, nature takes its course. A waterbuck calf is born while another one is killed. We arrived to a corpse with the mother anxiously wating, not realising her calf is dead, for her calf to get up. One man’s loss is another man’s gain. That man was our Don Juan leopard from yesterday…

Scene of the crime: the waterbuck baby lying dead underneath the bushes.

The suspicious killer.

He was patiently waiting for the place to get quiet so he could sneak away with his prey in a tree. And he did! Next game drive, we found him up in a tree with a full belly. Again, very sad to see the mother waterbuck still (!) waiting in the background, just hoping her calf will jump of the branch and run to her.

Balancing with the tail. Sitting quite nicely in the tree watching over the surroundings. Look at the corpse. So brutal with the bum already eaten. Hyena with an insanely large stomach. He was waiting around the leopard to hopefully catch a snack. His family was not long from the scene. Hyena cub playing around.

Hyenas were surprisingly beautiful creatures as well. Here feeding her cubs.

It was moments like this we appreciated the most. To be able to see and experience a brief part of the circle of life was amazing. You never know what nature will provide you on a safari, and we feel as if we were in our very own nature documentary. Thank you Sabi Sand and Timbavati! It really was an experience!