And finally, here’s the second part of our Safari experience in South Africa.
(See previous post for the details of the first part, Into the Wild in South Africa – part 1. )
After much anticipation, The Hubby and I were finally set to go out on our first ever Safari game drive!
Going on a Safari game drive is the best way to explore Kruger National Park’s flora and fauna. Being billeted at the ultra luxe Singita Lebombo Lodge, they made sure that we were spoiled to no end even during these game drives. Every day, we would go out into the wild in an open-air safari jeep, accompanied by a trekker and a very knowledgeable tour guide, who is also a park ranger and who served as our driver. Because they were with us, we were able to see many wild animals which wouldn’t have been possible if we were just left on our own!
Our park ranger and guide.
Meet our park ranger (guide) and trekker assigned to us for the duration of our whole stay. The Hubby and I were so impressed with both of them! Our trekker and park ranger served as our eyes and ears throughout the whole experience. On every game drive, we found ourselves literally right smack in the wilderness! There were no roads, no signs, nothing but the wildlife…yet they both knew exactly where we were at all times. We were so fascinated by how our park ranger could know the exact location of an animal just by the noises he heard or the scents he picked up on. He recognized specific animal tracks too and spotted them right away! The Hubby and I had no clue where we were but we felt safe and secure always because it was obvious that these two men who were with us the whole time, knew the wilderness like the back of their hands.
In game drives, everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by the beauty of nature.
Even though we were in the middle of the African wilderness, everything just seemed much more peaceful and serene here.
When out on game drives, we were able to spot many, different wild animals depending on what time of day it was…Here is a run down of some of the majestic creatures we were fortunate to have seen :
These were Impalas in a tranquil state.
But there were also Impalas we saw in action! This was the mating season after all, so the male Impalas would fight and whoever wins, gets to mate with the female Impala in waiting.
This one is a mother feeding her child.
The Elephants or the Gentle Giants. They were such huge, imposing creatures! Notice how the photo above looks like it was lifted from a postcard? From the beautiful blue sky to the puffy white clouds to the perfectly positioned three elephants, everywhere we looked here was just picture perfect!
But as we got closer to the elephants to take better close-up shots, we seriously hoped that none of them would run after us as they were really gigantic!
Elephants can get pretty scary too when up close!
I even tried to take a photo of this huge elephant in black and white setting, until he noticed me and my black camera…I almost fainted right then and there!!
We also saw a lot of these beautiful Giraffes…
They were such tall and majestic creatures! They were always gracefully prancing about, peacefully eating and minding their own business.
Every time we would run into them, we could not help but smile at its graceful charm!
The Hippos we saw were always just cooling off in the water. They seem to be pretty relaxed all the time! 🙂
Hippos submerged in the water, hiding from the rest of the world.
Rhinoceroses were also pretty hard to spot since they blended in with the environment quite well.
And no one can really go near them as their horns were scary and intimidating, to say the least.
Zebras were a common breed to chance upon on our game drives too.
I love how they would stare right back at us as soon as they know we were right behind them!
Look at their movement! They were such visual feasts with their beautifully patterned stripes moving along as they did! 🙂
As we were driving along, we also spotted a dead impala across the road.
Our park ranger suggested we go down from our jeep so we can see the dead animal up close. He used this opportunity to teach us what this all means in the big circle of life 🙂
The lions’ den. We were careful not to move too much as we got closer and closer. Although lions are perhaps the fiercest predators of the wild, here they looked deceptively lazy while they lay asleep on the grass.
We were told that the lioness is very, very protective of her cubs! (Sounds familiar to me! :))
This is a baby lion or a cub, up close.
Sibling cubs playing…they will soon grow to be as huge and as aggressive as their parents!
Of course, a safari is no safari without running into the king of the jungle himself!
My heart was positively racing when we saw a lion for the first time!
We went near him as quietly as we could!
We couldn’t move too much as we were scared of him jumping into our safari jeep! But what I noticed though was their lush mane…It was so thick and beautiful!
A picture of a lone owl staring into the night sky. Our night game drives would allow us to see nocturnal animals, which would otherwise be asleep during the day.
And this is the Hubby and I trying our best to run after a Giraffe to capture them in action before the sun finally sets down! (Look closely and you will notice that yes, there is a Giraffe in the photo! :))
And thankfully, I was able to capture one last photo of the Giraffe against the beautiful backdrop of the African sunset! For me, this dramatic photo encapsulates everything I felt about our whole Safari experience.
Everyday, when we would go out into the wild and unknown and when we would encounter the vast and seemingly endless beautiful nature, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Where did all these come from? And how did they all come into existence?”
This experience made me think about how there must be really Someone up there, higher than any of us human beings, who has that power to create this amazing picture of life. I realized that what we saw was actually just a glimpse of the whole of creation. What we saw was just a snippet of what the world has to offer…and yet we were already floored by the beauty and magnanimity of what stood right before our very eyes. Surely, all these weren’t created just by some coincidence or by an accident or by some Big Bang explosion. There must be a good design behind it, a real reason for it and a great purpose to all this wonderful glory of nature. In the end, I felt that indeed, this was all part of the Creator’s masterful plan.
This African Safari definitely opened our eyes to the bigger picture. This wasn’t just some big zoo where we saw wild animals. We saw these animals out in the wild with no cages, no restrictions nor limitations at all! They were unprotected in their real environment, and yet we witnessed them moving so freely and living so naturally. After having gone through this experience, I don’t think we will ever look at the animals in a zoo in the same way again.
We may not know much about nature, nor are we big animal lovers (neither the Hubby nor I ever owned a pet!), but this journey into the wild made us feel like we were actually one with them and one with nature. We now understand that as human beings, we all simply play a small part in this big and mysterious circle of life.
After this trip, we were more than happy to to tick another one off the bucket list! It is something we highly recommend to anyone who would want to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Actually, it is more than an adventure. It is an eye-opener, a real life-changing moment. It is something that not only changed our perception of the world and of life in general, but it is something that truly and wonderfully moved us.