South Africa – Safari Photos … The Big Five … Well Four Of Them Anyway …

_MG_1179-1Well I’m finally posting about the actual Safari part of our South Africa Trip … but before I do I thought I’d give a bit of a background as to how we ended up deciding to do this trip and the thought process behind it … if only because it started out as a completely different idea and over the course of a couple weeks its evolved and changed into what we ended up doing …

The whole idea of doing a Safari was the instigator for this trip in the first place … we were originally planning on going to Kenya but at the time of booking the trip the Foreign Office advice was to avoid travelling to Kenya so we decided to do that one another time … A number of Perry’s colleagues are from South Africa and they advised going there … and South Africa had been on my travel bucket list for the longest time …

So we finally decided this was our destination … we then had to choose between going to Johannesburg and Kruger National Park (the main Safari Park in SA) or Cape Town and Addo Elephant National Park (a much smaller Safari Park) … in the end we decided to go with Cape Town as it was the more appealing City to visit for the both of us … and the road trip from Cape Town to Addo was much more picturesque with things to do along the way compared with Johannesburg – Kruger …

I did some research and looked at different Tour companies and the itineraries they did to get an idea of what would be worth doing and what we could comfortably do in the time we had … we decided to go it ourselves rather than book with a tour group … it wasn’t a money issue as after doing the maths on it after getting back it ended up costing about the same as if we had gone with a tour group … but by doing it ourselves we got to do exactly what we wanted, when we wanted and stayed where we wanted … without having to worry about other people … plus it felt like more of an Adventure this way …

Perry’s always been a fan of driving holidays and this trip suited that very well … driving in SA is really easy and honestly the route is pretty straight forward from Cape Town to Addo … honestly we both had such an amazing time we wish we had had an extra week to see more of the Country … definitely a place we will be coming back to …

_MG_1139-1While we stayed at the Kuzuko Lodge … we did four game drives over the course of the 2 days were were there … it was great and I was very very glad I’d bought the jacket in Cape Town … a real life saver when it got really windy in the open sided car … so over the 4 game drives we saw a whole bunch of different animals … the main ones people look for on a Safari trip are the Big Five … the Lions, Cheetah, Buffalo, Elephants and Rhino …

_MG_1642-1We were fortunate enough to see four of the five on our trip and in some instances we saw some on more than one occasion …

_MG_2462-1We didn’t get to see the Rhino as the Rangers explained they are solitary animals that tend to hide in the brush so its really hard to spot them even if your right on top of one … it wasn’t helped by the fact that we were there during the winter when the foliage is really dense and full making it even harder …

_MG_2015-1One thing I should note here is that the Addo Elephant National Park is a mountainous Safari park with a lot of foliage so not your traditional African Plains type of Safari location … but as a first Safari experience I couldn’t recommend it enough …

_MG_1158-1 _MG_1165-1So on our first Game Drive outing we came across Saracen the oldest male Elephant in the Kuzuko Lodge area of the Park …

_MG_1179-1_MG_1593-1The next morning we headed over to find the Lions … Matt and Kalahari (both male) … honestly these two were seriously lazy that morning … barely bothering to lift their heads as we rolled up in the car …

_MG_1594-1 _MG_1605-1The above photos are of Kalahari who was brought to the park a few years before … and Matt below …

_MG_1614-1 _MG_1625-1When the two were first introduced to each other they didn’t get along and Matt’s Jaw was injured by Kalahari where part of his Jaw muscle is no longer attached properly to his mouth so it looks like his mouth is always open … although the Rangers told us this hasn’t stopped him from being the better hunter out of the two of them so it doesn’t seem to be slowing him down …

_MG_1664-1We left them sleeping in the sunshine … and went off to try and find the Elephant herd …

_MG_1817-1Well the herd decided to hang out halfway up the mountain with no access for us to get any closer … its quite hard to see them but they are the little grey blobs right in the middle of the photo above … honestly this was taken quite close up but the Ranger spotted these guys from miles away …

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We also came across one of the other Male Elephants at the bottom of the Mountain grazing away …

_MG_1845-1You can see the some of the herd a bit better in this picture … can you spot them behind us in the picture below?

_MG_1847-1We stopped here for a tea break … we had some tea and biscuits while taking the opportunity to stretch our legs a bit too …

_MG_1853-1 _MG_1860-1 _MG_1861-1_MG_1939-1 _MG_1919-1For the second evening game drive we started off trying to go see if the herd had moved down the mountain at all to get a closer look … as it turned out they had decided to stay up there for the evening … but we did come across Saracen again … this time he was munching away on some leaves …

_MG_1923-1 _MG_1926-1 _MG_1949-1 _MG_1954-1We tried to go find the Buffalo … but to no avail … we pretty much found them but they were so well hidden in the trees and bushes we couldn’t spot them let alone get close to them … so we moved on …

_MG_1980-1We then headed over to see the Cheetahs …

_MG_1983-1 _MG_1986-1Batman and Robin were a little more active this evening walking around …

_MG_2015-1 _MG_2023-1 _MG_2047-1 _MG_2030-1It was interesting to see them again from the height of the car after having gone for a WALK with them earlier that same morning …

_MG_2037-1 _MG_2079-1We paid a quick visit back to see the Lions again to see if they had decided to wake up a bit since we saw them in the morning …

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It says a lot that they were pretty much in exactly the same place we had left them after we saw them in the morning … Matt did get up a couple times to stretch and yawn …

_MG_2202-1 _MG_2206-1 _MG_2209-1Honestly just like Hugo or Derek when they yawn …

_MG_2241-1Followed by a big stretch … you can see here how his jaw doesn’t close properly in the picture below …

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_MG_2262-1 _MG_2267-1 _MG_2270-1

He then moved over to settle down near Kalahari … the Rangers told us that they had recently made a kill a couple days earlier so they were just conserving energy and digesting … which is likely why they have pretty much stayed in the area …

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We stopped for a quick stretch of our legs and a drink as the sunset before heading back to the lodge for the evening …

_MG_2301-1 _MG_2307-1The next morning there were a bunch of new people who had arrived at the Lodge so we actually had a full car for that morning’s drive … as most of those in car had just arrived we headed back to see the Lions first thing … again they really hadn’t moved much …

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Told you seriously lazy big cats these two …

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Kalahari’s eyes are just really piercing (see above) but he is really rather handsome …

_MG_2330-1 _MG_2340-1The Rangers were explaining that before they did have females in this part of the park but because of the drought the Prey population had taken a real hit and in order to allow time for the Prey to increase in numbers and make the population more stable the female lions were moved to a different part of the Park managed by a different Lodge … they explained the whole Addo Park is part of the South Africa National Parks (SAN Parks) and that they ultimately decide which animals go to which reserves in order to best maintain populations … it is to ensure that no one species is over hunted etc …

_MG_2346-1 _MG_2350-1 _MG_2355-1Once Matt had gotten up and relocated about 5 steps closer to Kalahari he settled down and both were back to napping in no time … so we left them there basking in the sunshine and went back to look for the Buffalo …

_MG_2387-1The Buffalo again are kept separated from the Cheetah and Lion’s … this is to allow their numbers to grow … the Ranger’s explained if they were in the same area as the Cheetahs or Lions the herd would be quickly wiped out … they currently have around 14 Buffalo and would need to allow the numbers to increase to over 40 in order for the population to be stable enough to withstand being hunted by Lions/Cheetahs …

_MG_2466-1 _MG_2462-1We found them pretty quickly this time … they had come out from behind the trees and bushes into an opening so we could get quite close to them …

_MG_2452-1Using a tree to scratch an itch …

_MG_2472-1This little baby had an Oxpecker perched on his head for a while … they clean off the ticks and other parasites so are actually quite useful to the Buffalo …

_MG_2433-1 _MG_2435-1There were a bunch of small monkeys jumping around in the nearby trees … this little guy in particular kept poking his head out to stare at us before ducking back down again … only to pop a couple minutes later and repeat the process … he was pretty adorable …

_MG_2399-1 _MG_2397-1Another Oxpecker on the back of this Buffalo …

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This Buffalo decided to use his horns to anchor down a tree branch either for shade to hide … I couldn’t quite tell …

_MG_2402-1After a while the Buffalo started to move back into the trees and brush … clearly they had had enough of us staring at them … so we finished up the rest of our game drive and headed back to the Lodge …

That is going to be that for this post … its turned out to be much longer than I’d anticipated so if you’ve stuck with it this far then congratulations and thank you …

I will be back tomorrow with photos and descriptions of some of the other animals we came across on our game drives …

Till next time …

Mina X

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One thought on “South Africa – Safari Photos … The Big Five … Well Four Of Them Anyway …

  1. Pingback: South Africa – Safari Photos … All The Other Animals … | Our Adventures In The Middle East

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