After a conference session in the morning, we set off on our first safari. We all piled into these open trucks and off we went to the Pilanesberg National Park, which was only 10 minutes away from the resort.
It’s a very pretty place. The park is full of mountains, dams, streams and beautiful views practically everywhere you look.
It was so special to share all of this with my sister. We shared a room when we were growing up but after those halcyon days (not) we haven’t really had the chance to spend a huge amount of time with each other. We reconnected and didn’t even have one fight, even though we were sisters sharing a room. She was the only one from her area to qualify for the trip, so she hung around with us and got to know the people I work with, which was also great.
Impala herd. Obviously not all the animals are going to obligingly present themselves by the side of the road.
This was very exciting. Our ranger said that there were two male lions whoi had made a kill earlier that day, so we drove down winding dirt tracks to see if they were still there. Every other bus just saw the two of them lying down under two different trees – out truck was the only one to see one of them get up and walk over to join his brother.
This is pretty much how a safari works. Your truck drives around, with the ranger and everyone else scanning the scrub for any animal sightings. Every time there’s a truck or car coming the other way, the drivers stop so they can compare notes about what they’ve seen. There’s also radio communication as well.
So you hear, “No, no giraffe up this way”, or, “elephant in this direction” and so everyone gets the best chance of seeing a greater variety of animals.
This is how we got to see a leopard. Too far away for photos, but we saw a mother leopard pulling an impala head (we could see the horns) up into a tree to feed her cubs. Our ranger was very excited by this, saying it was a once in a lifetime event. Once she reached the branches she was completely hidden. Five minutes later and we would’ve driven past and never even known she and her babies were there.
However, some animals are very cool about traffic.
Here he is. This wildebeest just wouldn’t move, so our truck had to edge around him.
Later on we saw a few herds of them. The wildebeest, impalas and zebras are regularly restocked in the park, as these are what keeps the predators fed.
This lone zebra was all we saw on the first day.
Prickle bush that giraffes eat. These spikes are dangerously long, especially when they grow on the side of the road near the truck. Those giraffes must be crazy.
After a couple of hours we had a rest-room stop near a lake with a lot of birds coming home to roost. I loved these little orange birds.
We walked out to a hut built out on the end of a walkway into the lake. I like this shot.
This was a really exciting end to the safari. It was getting dark when we suddenly saw a dark shape ahead, very close to the road. It turned out to be a rhino and her baby. Amazingly, she led the baby right past us, coming closer to the truck before she turned and led the baby back into the bush. We could hear them squeaking to each other and hear them breathing.
Once we got back to the resort we had a big buffet dinner with entertainment.
A good time was had by all.
I was the only one in my group to agree to get her face painted. I think it adds a certain something, don’t you?
Thermomix Recipe: Roast Vegetable Stock Concentrate