we had a pretty awesome time safari-ing through kruger national park. it is just really something else to see huge/ dangerous/beautiful/rare animals in the wild.
we booked our safari though african budget safaris. we were picked up from the airport (where we had dropped off our rental car) for the drive out to kruger. we were pretty crammed in a van with our fellow safari-ers and i was not feeling well (for the first time on the trip!), but the scenery was really beautiful. we stopped for lunch along the way, got to know the other travelers with us and our drivers, and got excited to see the big five roaming the african bush.
we were running a bit late for our sunset drive in a private game reserve (where we were staying before heading to kruger in the morning), but right as we drove into the reserve, this is what we saw!:
and then he started charging towards us! ^^ it was pretty exciting to see elephants right off the bat. we dropped off our stuff and the lovely lodge where we were sleeping and got in the jeep to explore right as it was getting dark. we saw lots of antelope-type animals, some smaller creatures, some cape buffalo, and then we saw a sleeping lion. it was really hard to get pictures, but it was really exciting, and quite magical to be cruising around under the dark starry sky, with the warm wind, on a treasure hunt for wildlife.
we had a delicious south african barbeque (braii) in the most charming setting, under a canopy of trees with hanging lanterns. we could hear the sounds of the bush all around us, the stars were gleaming above us, and it was enchanting!
the lodge where we stayed was wonderful! we loved our room and the grounds, which are shared with lots of monkeys! after a good night’s rest, we headed out on our full day drive through kruger national park. we were looking diligently for cats (lions or leopards, two of the big five) all day, following advice from different drivers that had seen them, but we never did catch a glimpse! (the boy and i were glad we’d seen the lion the night before and the lions and leopards – and rhinos – at the nature preserve earlier!) we did see lots of other amazing creatures though!
^^ first sighting among entering the park – a perfectly poised vulture. ^^
^^ we saw hundreds of cape buffalo. aren’t their crowns of horns so interesting? i think they look like a cool slicked back and up hairstyle :) ^^
^^ so i remember looking at this lake and being excited to see something on the shore (a crocodile or a hippo) but now looking at this picture i can’t even find any animals – ha! the watering holes are always a place to look with a good chance of something interesting being around, and this picture reminds me that a lot of times it took some work to see the wildlife – part of the experience! ^^
^^ our views of elephants went from quite far away to closer and closer and closer…
^^ you can’t tell very well in the pictures above, but we did get to see some baby elephants, which were adorable and probably my favourite sight of the whole day. ^^
^^ during a quick bathroom break. ^^
^^ now this watering hole definitely does have hippos. see them popping up a little out of the water? ^^
^^ and a few sunbathing on the shore? so blobby. i kind of love it. ^^
^^ meanwhile, giraffe crossing! ^^
^^can you spot the croc on the far bank past those beautiful lilly pads? ^^
^^ warthogs (hi again, pumba!) and ostriches, too! ^^
^^ some photos outside the jeep and another spectacular african sunset to end the day! ^^
we had another super yummy dinner (i really dig south african food) at the place we stayed the second night…which was a treehouse camp! pictures of the darlingest, coolest treehouse that we slept in coming up next!