South African Vacation: Safari Adventure!

We had an AMAZING time on Safari!!  Here are some of our pics:

We flew from Capetown to the Bush and took a 3 hour drive into our lodge.    We missed the last ride of the day by a half hour because we were slightly delayed but we got to explore the lodge and watch the sunset over the waterhole and get settled.

We stayed at an incredible lodge called Arathusa!  It’s in the northern end of Sabi Sands and backs up to Kruger National Park.

Here is a pic of our private bungalow!

While we missed our first safari ride on night one…we got to see plenty of animals at the watering hole out front!!    A baby elephant came to drink, a hippo and her baby came out of the water and walked around and we watched 3 monkeys play in the trees!

There is a great communal area where everyone hangs out in the afternoon, before dinner and after dinner.

They have an infinite pool overlooking the watering hole!

We stay at the lodge for 4 nights and did 5 days of drives.  The lodge is all-inclusive so it included all our meals, drives, and guided walks.   We only had to pay for beverages and massages!

Safari works on a pretty set schedule:

Wake up call at 5:30am when its pitch back out and enjoy a quick cup of coffee and hit the road!  During the first ride in the morning we always watched the sun rise over bush!    We would stop for coffee to warm up mid way through our three-hour drive!

At 9am we had a communal breakfast with all the other guest (only 22 others).   We loved dining with everyone.  We met such incredible people from all around the world (France, Canada, South Africa, Chicago, Philippines, and Italy).  It was one of our favorite parts of the trip was getting to know people from everywhere!

Then we had free time from 9:30-2pm.   One day I got a massage, another day we went on a nature hike with our guide where we encountered a herd of elephants!, other days we just read by the pool!

We had a communal lunch at 2pm.    The lodge has the most incredible chef on the premise.  Despite being in such a remote location, the food was gourmet!

At 3:30pm we would go on an afternoon drive for 3 hours where we would stop for a cocktail and watch the sunset.

One night all the guys decided to have a spitting contest to see who could spit the impala poop the furthest!  Yep…impala poop.  They only eat grass so they justified it as not that gross.  Our guide Britt won the contest!

We would return to the lodge by 6:30pm where everyone would gather at the main lodge to retell stories from the afternoon drive, have  pre-dinner cocktail and again enjoy an incredible meal prepared by the chef.   We were usually in our rooms and asleep by 930 or 10pm so that we could be up the next day by 5am to repeat it all over again!   Safari schedule is soo great and so relaxing!

We had a great guide named Britt and our tracker’s name was Chris!   The two of them were incredible!  We saw the Big Five and everything else multiple times!    We would ride around in open air jeeps that had stadium seating!  The great thing about Sabi Sands is that its a private reserve so you can go off the paths in your vehicle!  That was my favorite part!  We would track animals into the bush and follow them as they hunted their food or looked for a place to rest.

Hands down the elephants were both our favorites!!  We saw them everyday!  On two occasions we were surrounded by huge herds of over 50 elephants.

We saw them at our watering hole a few times.

We also saw tons of a Zebra’s, or “Pajama Donkeys” as our guide called them!

There were always Hippos in our watering hole and we found them in many others. This big momma has a little baby resting on her left side!

This guy wanted us to drive on…he kept an eye on us the whole time we drove past and then did this. I don’t think he wanted us there!

We only saw Rhino’s once.   They looked like dinosaurs to us. 

We saw two monitor lizards mating!

Often times our tracker would get off the jeep and track an animal by foot! Only sometimes would he bring a rifle for protection.

On this particular day…he was tracking this leopard.  It was amazing. I would not have wanted to be on foot.  She was abesolutly beautiful!  We saw leopards on four different occasions.

We saw lions on 3 different occasions.  This guy was all alone when we saw him.

We found a pride of 9 lions all sleeping together and cleaning one another.

They are so cute you can almost forget how mean they can be!

This is the African Water Buffalo and one of the Big Five!  They are mean when they get mad.  If you see one when on foot, you are supposed to climb a tree!

There were not a ton of a giraffes but we did see them on two different occasions.

This is a water buck and they have a white bullseye on their back side!

We came across a hyena’s den with four of them sleeping outside and there were babies inside the den but they never came out!

As you can see, you get really close to the wild animals on safari…closer than we ever expected. It isn’t a zoo…they are very much wild animals free to roam. They are just accustomed to humans being around so they aren’t spooked. That said, you definitely don’t want to get out of the safari jeep!

We saw many other animals but this blog post would be too long if I included a photo of all them:   We saw kudu, Steenbach (a mini looking deer), a white tail mongoose, a chameleon in the bush at night in the pitch black, jackals,  Wildebeest,  Warthogs, Walking catfish,  and the very rare wild dog, amongst others!!

 This was our final pic at Arathusa — what an incredible place!

We began our journey home with a flight in a VERY small plane, a 6 seater, off a small air strip at the lodge.  We flew 9 minutes to a slightly larger air strip, got in a bigger plane that seated 10ppl and flew one hour to Johannesburg!   Then we took a 15 hour flight to JFK and a 5 hour flight to LAX.  We got this incredible view of Arathusa from above!!

We loved safari and would definitely recommend it to everyone!   It was soo relaxing and yet exciting!  Its so incredible to see the animals in their natural habitat and observe them.   We hope to visit Africa again one day soon!

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2 Responses to “South African Vacation: Safari Adventure!”

  1. Nicky Says:

    How exciting! It is even exciting to read about what you did and to see the incredible pictures. How will you top this trip?

  2. Mamacita Says:

    Fascinating! Loved this post!

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