Friday, February 24, 2012

South Africa: Bush Walk Safari

One of the reasons we felt compelled to go with Viva Safari Tours was for the opportunity to take an early morning walk through the South African bush. We really looked forward to wandering through the fresh morning dew with only our cameras and a few knowledgeable guides I really enjoy the outdoors and this was definitely a unique experience that isn't really possible without the entire safari package.

Along with various other safari drives, the bush walk proved an educational and exciting experience. We learned a lot about the local flora and fauna and many animals other than the famous Big Five. Setting out with such an early start made me reminiscent of my experiences at summer camp. Except this time it was in South Africa and a lot more fun than hanging out with Girl Scouts, let's just say I was more keen on actually paying attention this time around.

Since it's Friday and I'm joining Ellen + friends over at CompanyofClever for her list link up. This safari story will start out with a list of three necessities for a successful walk in the bush...

ONE: Obviously, the first necessity for any fun filled safari are short shorts. It's pretty self explanatory why they made all of  us giggle (the joke continued throughout our entire trip!) Spotting the elusive short shorts were probably one of the most entertaining sights to see. (If people at the Tremisana Lodge are reading this I know you're all laughing a bit now too. Thanks for keeping us so entertained!)

TWO: Sitting up front in the spotting seat, well at least it was a dream of mine! Can you believe no one else took their chance at a silly picture like this?! I mean come on, we're on a safari! Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me sit up there when the jeep was actually moving but it's also pretty great I didn't die, so that's a win-win for us all.

Three: Hmm, maybe artillery should probably be higher up this list. You know with all of those wild animals roaming around...but since shots weren't fired on this particular trip I didn't feel all that worried.

So yes, we felt safe because our insightful guides were fully prepared with rifles (and short shorts) and... blackberries!? Seriously? Can you even get service out in the bush? It's handy to have a rifle around just in case hippos tried to trample our group and I'm no outdoors expert but do the rifles still work properly while texting on your blackberry? Disclaimer: Don't freak out our guides we're totally on top of things and we felt really safe!

I was also surprised to learn that, apparently, it isn't lions, poisonous snakes or crazed rabid monkeys who kill the most people but instead the big fat hippo. These giant, lazy mammals just barrel over people who are gathered along the river bank.

Then, guess what we stumbled upon as soon as we approached the river...a group about 15 of hippos and their babies. We had a lucky chance to get up pretty close, now that's a moment where those rifles felt very reassuring.

Our guides stood at attention on either side of our group and communicated with some pretty fancy hand signals until it was safe for us, in quiet little clusters, to climb up to the river's edge and snap some quick pictures. Unfortunately, by the time it was my turn, most of them had caught on to our little plan and decided to slip into the reeds to hide. Despite that, it was a pretty exhilarating experience out there in the middle of nowhere with some humongous, wild hippos only a few yards away. Especially after the guides had only recently explained how dangerous these animals can be. One of the guides (yes, the one who rocks the infamous short shorts) happened to mention the only time he's ever had to shoot anything for safety it was an angry hippo. How comforting!

We trekked along the waters edge before stopping for a light morning snack around 8am and spotted another two fat hippo in the water. Then we continued on through the wilderness as our guides explained the brightly colored bugs, fresh animal tracks and different bird songs. 



This tiny velvet mite is even smaller than this image in real life. 
You notice them everywhere once you spot the first one...
Some type of poisonous millipede
Chinese Lantern, one of my favorite flowers
Dung beetles doing what they do best

How adorable is this teeny tiny flower? 

It was amazing what a trained eye can spot, the guides even found a tiny scorpion! The dew drops were so pretty that morning so check back next week for the second part of the bush walk with lots of nature photos. Hope you enjoyed today's post, have an adventurous weekend!

Want to read more about South African? Check out what to pack, Safari in Kruger Park part one and part twoJohannesburg, the Cradle of Mankind and Sterkfontein cavesPlus, close encounters with a cheetah, elephants on paradepetting baby lionsflora and fauna, driving the garden route to Geofrey's Bay and the Addo Elephant Park

*Don't forget to head over to Company of Clever to see which other bloggers have linked up today!

Company of Clever


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  2. OMG "Some type of poisonous millipede" = best caption ever. hilarious. i can't believe they were using their blackberry devices, they couldn't possibly have service! these pictures make me want to go on a safari stat!

    1. Yessssss, if you do get down to SA for a safari then you must must must take a drive down the garden route, probably the most beautiful drive I've ever taken. I'm posting about that starting next week.... AND I'll be back in Amsterdam soon so we can grab a coffee and talk about traveling :)

  3. That looks like so much fun. Scary but fun. I'd love to go on a safari one day.

  4. Ha love the short shorts on his Blackberry! So dialed in even in the South African bush....