… but before we do that, let me show you around our new South African home. 🙂
After hours of searching for safari lodges (and getting distracted by photos and blog posts of people on safari), I finally decided on going for the Kapama Southern Camp (part of the larger Kapama Private Game Reserve family). Lloyd is usually the one who does the planning when it’s just two of us, otherwise Georgia is pretty good but for the first time in a long time, I was in charge of booking everything for this trip!
Booking a safari is slightly trickier than I initially realised as there are quite a few options and variables available to choose from (I’ll try to cover this in a post soon) but after weeks of going back and forth, I’d made a decision and was hoping that the place would live up to the expectation.
I’ll cut to the chase – I needn’t have worried at all about my choice here! Apart from that amazing transfer from the airport, everything from start to finish was pretty fantastic. I mean, I knew I would have a great time going on safari anyway but when you’re staying somewhere as nice as this, it just makes the whole experience worth it!
Let me show you around…
We skipped past the bar with a promise to return.
We made our way past the pool, which as it turns out, we would end up not using… for reasons you’ll realise when you scroll further down.
We walked in to the soothing cool air-conditioned room and one of the nicest hotel rooms I’d stayed in, in a while…
…complete with our very own pool! (Now you see why we never made it to the other pool).
Within minutes of stepping in here, I knew I’d made the right choice and I was not coy about getting the praise out of Georgia and Lloyd. I kept asking them pretty much every 5 minutes how good I was at making travel plans and even though on a good days, it would be struggle to get a compliment out of them, even they couldn’t stop raving about the place and had to give into my “I told you so“s.
After a quick freshen up, I gathered the troops and we made our way to the restaurant for some much needed lunch…
…after which went back to the rooms, ordered some wine and spent the rest of the afternoon splashing in the pool!
Before we knew it, it was time for our very first safari! We popped into the bar area for tea and cakes, found our ranger and trackers and piled into the 4 X 4 jeeps!
Within minutes of finding our party – we were off. When you go on safari here (and I suppose this is the same everywhere else too), you tend to have the same ranger and tracker for your time there. You also have the same team of fellow-safari-goers too on each trip and for dinner so it’s a great way to meet new people!
Our very first sightings were the impala… (they’re everywhere!)
… followed by some rather skittish warthogs.
… more warthogs
… and then, out of the blue, our very first of the big 5 – the white rhino!
The white rhino is pretty much the same colour as the black rhino. The name white rhino is believed to have come from a mistranslation of Dutch to English (it was meant to mean “wide” not “white” depicting the wide mouth of the white rhino compared to the narrow mouth of the black rhino).
In any case, it was fascinating to see these amazing animals in the wild! They’re endangered and threatened by poachers even in private reserves like this so it was not only great to see but also drove home the importance of doing our best to help conserve the species (here’s how you can help).
There was a baby rhino with it’s mother followed by a bull vying for the attention of the mother rhino who wasn’t having any of it!
We carried on further down the road where we saw some rumbling in the tree and what – our number 2 of the big 5 – the African elephants!
Initially there was one…
… and then the others started to come through! It was utterly magnificent to see and I’ve wanted to see a wild elephant for as long as I can remember.
Lloyd was on cloud 9 as he LOVES elephants (he has elephants everything – he even managed to pick up this elephant souvenir when we went to Berlin).
How cute is this baby elephant?
Can you see the hippos in the river above?
Eventually, we stopped the jeep in the middle of a clearing for what I now know to be a sundowner (i.e. drinks and snacks while you watch the sun set) but at the time, I was like “Whaaaaat? We can’t stop here surely? Aren’t there Lions and Cheetahs just running around everywhere?” As it turns out, we were fine where we stopped and I would soon grow to particular enjoy these sundowners.
I explored the neighbouring areas, glass of wine in hand
… after which, we took turns testing out the tracker’s seat (which is surprisingly high and unexpectedly comfy) before eventually setting off for a night safari (which is apparently when the big cats usually come out to play).
Watching the sun set on our first safari trip and seeing the animals we’d seen so far was definitely a seriously memorable experience and even though I’m not a fan of early mornings, I was already looking forward to getting up at 5am for our next safari ride! 🙂