Safari Girls on the Go!
Trip Start Aug 15, 2011
13Trip End Sep 02, 2011
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Where I stayed
Ryokan Sakuraya Gonohe-machi
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Our first day was a full day safari starting at 10:30 a.m. when we entered the southernmost gate of the park to board our safari vehicle. Right out of the lot we had our first sighting -- a herd of elephants crossing the road! This was a large herd of about 20 and we were within 10 feet of them as they thundered across the road with feet pounding and trunks flying. Our vehicle shook with the force of their collective weight and it was an awesome sight to see them so close up! About 260 animals (not counting Impala) and 7 hours later, we ended up at our lodge at the Kruger Gate of the park feeling very satisfied with our tally of animals for the day!
The Protea Kruger Gate hotel is like something out of a movie set -- it looks like the treehouse from Swiss Family Robinson the movie! Open air structure of wood beams with thatched roofs and wood walkways from place to place with lots of trees, flowers and other plants around to make ti seem as though you are sleeping and living in a tree house! We especially loved the animal viewing area where you could see herds of animals go by while reading a book, sipping a drink or just enjoying the beauty of it all.
Our top safari moments included spotting a leopard in a tree with a fresh kill he had made during our sunrise drive on the second day in Kruger. While it is a bit gory, this is extremely rare to see and was like watching National Geographic happen right in front of us! He was very high up in a tree with a full size antelope carcass which was could see him raising and lowering as he ate his breakfast. Really quite incredible to watch although a bit graphic first thing in the morning!
We also happened upon a mother lion alongside the river which was also rare as usually the lions are not active during the day. She came within 5 feet of our vehicle and it was incredible to see her that close up! We also loved the multiple herds of animals who halted our jeep as they crossed the road -- giraffes, zebra, elephants, wildebeests, Cape Buffalo and baboons were all animals who came within 10 feet or less of us as groups of anywhere from 5 to 50 of them crossed the road. It brings a whole new meaning to braking for animals!
We are becoming experts on safari protocol now and even are beginning to recognize the footprints of the animals and their dung (not that this is something to become expert in
5:00 a.m. Wake up disoriented and stumble out of bed then into adventure wear
5:35 a.m. Get much needed coffee or hot tea along with a biscuit before hopping in Jeep
6:00 a.m. Enter park and ooh/ahh over sunrise
6:20 a.m. Spot first animal of day with great enthusiasm (Stop! There is an ......!)
7:00 a.m. Try to distinguish between bushes, trees and actual animals in early morning light -- often the exclamation of look there is an elephant is really just a large bush! Use binoculars to search for game and adjust safari hat to keep ears warm.
7:30 a.m. No longer care about stopping for impala or other common animals, begin to dream about hot beverages and bed until a rhino or leopard is usually spotted which brings you back to reality.
7:45 a.m. Begin to lose feeling in fingers from cold
8:00 a.m. Wonder if camera card will hold the 18000 picture that you cannot stop yourself from taking as you encounter the umpteenth picturesque animal doing something photo worthy
9:45 a.m. Head back to lodge for breakfast cold, fingers calloused from photo snapping and covered in dust from the roads, but very happy!
Having trouble uploading pictures given intermittent internet, but will try to get up as soon as possible! In the meantime, hope you enjoyed the written image and will try again at the next stop! Your safari loving, game tracking, photo happy travel correspondent
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