After a few days in Johannesburg we hopped in a van and rode five hours through the mountains before arriving to our camp at the Tremisina Lodge near Kruger Park.
Like most travelers, I tried to be prepared for anything but just couldn't shake my excitement for and secret expectations of what our safari would entail. It just so happened everyone really was dressed in khakis, while seated in the a big study jeep with cameras charged and ready, waiting on baited breath to spot one of the 'big five'...but I could swear that image also included lots and lots of sunshine!
Instead, our first day on safari started off with chilly winds, grey skies and you guessed it, a lot of rain. At one point the rain got so bad we lost power and almost missed out on the bush walk, but that's a story for another time.
If you're going on a safari, be prepared to spend a lot of time sitting, waiting and gazing. Looking back, I'm not sure what else I had expected to do while animal watching but wow, after 6+ hours riding in a bumpy jeep we were exhausted by days end. The cold, damp weather we experienced while heading out for our first day on safari wasn't exactly ideal...or so we thought. In the end, it was perfect because cold weather meant the animals were foraging instead of hiding in the shade from the sweltering South African heat.
After an early morning rise, light snack and a quick cup of coffee we piled into our jeep. The thrill of anticipation was one of the exciting elements of going on safari. We expected to spend a lot of time driving round and round waiting for action to change at any minute...
Thanks to the delightful weather and lack of windows on the jeep, we spent 45 minutes trying to survive brutal winds and stinging rain by taking refuge under ponchos and blankets. Fortunately, we were a resourceful group and attempted to fix the front windshield by sacrificing one of the blankets, a genius idea!
Making the most out of whatever adventures bring...
Since you never know what animals you'll stumble upon so it's best to start your day with low expectations, this way even spotting one impala (the most commonly spotted animal) will be a delight! It really all comes down to being in the right place at the right time and striking luck in spotting an elusive wild animal. As time goes on (if you're lucky!) you'll end up needing to delete loads of photos from earlier in the day after getting better shots as time passes. For once, cold grey weather worked in our benefit.
At first it my eyes were so overwhelmed with the blur of green and tan that I could have sworn every bush or branch was some kind of hidden animal but as time went on it became easier to spot what we were searching for. Before arriving to Kruger Park our driver brought the jeep to a halt, revearsed, stopped and hopped out, much to our confusion! Our group was mixed with intrigue (we couldn't spot anything) and fear (maybe a flat tire?!) until the guide reached down and picked up an adorable, brilliant green chameolian! Don't ask me how the heck this chameolian cought the eye of our guide while zipping down an empty road at 60+ mph. After plopping him in our truck, one of the German couples kept the little guy warm until we arrived and had a fun time posing with this surprisingly calm, sweet creature.
I still can't believe how lucky we were with the animals, everyone was out to visit! Check out a few more Kruger Park photos below...
And just incase that didn't satisfy your need to see wild animals on safari I'll be sharing more pictures and stories soon. Next up: Our close encounter with a heard of 20+ elephants!
Tell me, have you ever been on safari? What was your favorite memory?