Saturday, September 13, 2014

Travels Abroad: South African Safari

No trip to Africa would be complete without a true African safari.  My husband, Jon, and I celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary by going on a 3-day, 2-night safari at the end of my work trip in South Africa.  We stayed at the Tanda Tula Safari Camp on the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in the Greater Kruger National Park.  It was an absolutely spectacular life experience.

We stayed in a luxury tent, which I thought was perfect, because you feel somewhat like you are camping out in the bush, but have modern conveniences like running water and electricity.  It did get down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night and there was no heat in the tent, but at least we had a heating blanket to keep us toasty.

Our tent

View from our deck - looking out on the dry river bed (we were there during the dry winter season)

Before we even went on our first game drive, we got to experience wildlife.  All animals, except for elephants, are allowed to roam freely on the camp grounds.  That means lions could be lurking outside your tent at we were required to have an escort (with a rifle) walk us back to our tent every night.

Warthog munching on grass on the camp grounds.

Vervet monkey being mischievous in camp.

During our very short safari, we were still able to go on four game drives, two in the morning and two at night.  Each drive lasted about 3.5 hours.  During our stay, we managed to see all "Big 5" animals:  buffalo, lions, elephants, rhino, and leopards.

The Big 5




White Rhinos

Leopards - the most amazing experience of the entire trip.

This baby was digging into the fresh kill his momma caught him that morning.

Baby and momma leopard

Momma leopard in the tree

The most amazing part of watching the leopards was when the momma leopard decided to bring the impala down out of the tree.  I guess she decided she rather take her chances with the hyenas on the ground rather than the vultures in the air.  But during the process of bringing the impala down from the tree, the impala got wedged in the tree and the momma leopard did nothing but hang from impala, hanging on by her tight grip of her jaw.  It was a pretty amazing thing to witness, and I even got it all on video here.

Other than the Big 5, we got to see many other types of wildlife around the park.  We even followed a pack of wild dogs as they were on the move to a different den with their pups.  Apparently, the wild dogs are very rare to see, since they are endangered and very elusive animals.

Soooo cute!  Unfortunately, the little guy at the back had a bum leg.  He was having troubles keeping up, and the whole pack would stop and let him rest a minute.  I'm afraid he probably didn't make it too much longer after we left.  But, that's nature.

The first couple of days we saw absolutely no giraffe.  Then, on the third day, we saw about 40 giraffe.  This tower of giraffes was the cutest, since they had a baby.

And a safari in South Africa wouldn't be complete with a kudu.  Their twisted horns are so interesting.

Overall, it was such an amazing experience and a wonderful way to celebrate 5 wedded years with my wonderful husband.  Here's to another 70 years!

Until next time, Africa.


  1. Saudades que eu tenho desses santuários selvagens!
    Obrigado pela partilha, ajudam a encurtar a distancia. Abraços

  2. Just when I thought you couldn't top yourself here you go with photos of The Big 5. Simply amazing and I'm fascinated by how the coloration of these huge animals are so in concert with their surroundings. Thanks for sharing part of what was obviously a truly memorable anniversary trip with the rest of us!