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Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

1st November
2011
written by Hazel

We were very sad to leave Sabi Sabi.  It was such a beautiful place and we loved seeing the animals so much.

The same day we left the game reserve my mom had to fly back to Johannesburg and then on home, so we were also sad to say goodbye to her.

A driver came and picked us up and then took us to Nelspruit, a nearby town where my mom would catch her flight later that day.  But first we had another treat in store!  We met up with my aunt’s foster daughter, her husband and their new baby!  They gave us a wonderful lunch at their home and we had a great time chatting with them.  They also gave us some good travel advice, dropped my mom off at the airport and us at our hostel.  So kind of them!

We had a couple of days left before our flight out of Africa, so we decided to stick around in Nelspruit and see the Blyde River Canyon which is only a short drive away.  We rented a car and I was very happy to find that the traffic in that area was not so busy.

It was a beautiful day exploring the canyon!

Rock Pinnacle

Rock Pinnacle

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26th October
2011
written by Hazel

While the big cats were the main event at this reserve, we also had many, many other spottings.  Here are some photos of the other animals we saw:

Swimming monitor lizard

Swimming monitor lizard

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26th October
2011
written by Justin

The other main event in Sabi Sabi is the last animal of the Big Five that we had yet to see – leopards.  And what a show!  We saw a few different leopards on a few different days, including a fast-paced off-road chase of a leopard on the move.  We were amazed at how the guides were able to find the first cat – another car had seen it but it had moved a little since then.  They were right on and led us to it.  It took a while for me to see at all, and I knew where it was!  I’ll give you a sense of what a leopard laying in the grass looks like:

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

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26th October
2011
written by Justin

It soon became clear that the specialty of the Sabi Sabi rangers was to find big cats, take you to them, and then take you so close you can’t even believe your eyes.  We had our first encounter with big cats the first morning!  Our guide Neil told us that the lionesses had taken down a Cape buffalo nearby and that we would go to see them feasting on the carcass.  True to their word, there were several lions just hanging about!  They had seemingly eaten their fill at this time and were mostly just focused on digesting.

Relaxing Lions

Relaxing Lions

Lioness takes her turn at relaxation

Lioness takes her turn at relaxation

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25th October
2011
written by Hazel

I have to start this post out by thanking Phil and Joanna, without whom we never would have been at the Little Bush Camp in the Sabi Sabi private game reserve.  This is absolutely the most luxurious, incredible place I can imagine for seeing these animals and I feel beyond lucky to have spent three nights there.  My photos definitely do not do this place justice.  It was perfect.

Our swank room!

Our swank room!

The food was amazing (and endless) with lots of delicious choices for each meal.  I was stuffed constantly!

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11th October
2011
written by Justin

Highlights

  1. Elephant herd crossing the water – Chobe Natl Park, Botswana
  2. Feeling CLOSE to the animals on our Walking Safari – Mosi-oa-tunya, Zambia
  3. Finally getting the hang of mokoro driving – Okovango Delta, Botswana
  4. Camping out really made us feel like we were on an adventure!
  5. Lots of really cool people and animals accompanied us the whole time!

Lowlights

  1. Four whole days doing nothing but travel.
  2. Poor communication between our guide and Acacia Small Groups – this directly caused delays and low group morale.
  3. Getting lost on the way to the first night’s lodge — after 12 hours on the road
  4. Constant equipment issues.  We constantly had issues with tent zippers breaking and other people had to sleep in fleece blankets one night before sleeping bags were found!
  5. Livingstone sales pitch video for overpriced activities.  This sales pitch lasted for an hour and caused other members of the group to miss out on things – The Waterfront, Zambia
15th September
2011
written by Justin
HUGE Termite Mound

Huge Termite Mound

After our time in Hermanus, we had a day where we just did mostly nothing and got caught up with laundry and other things, because then we headed back to Joburg for our overland SAFARI into Botswana and Zambia!  We were super stoked, even though we had to fly to Johannesburg, stay one night, and immediately hop back into the car for a long drive.  But it was worth it!  Nobody ever said that it would be easy to be on safari.  We booked our night at the Backpackers Ritz, which seemed to be affiliated with our safari company, Acacia Africa.  We were happy with the hostel; they upgraded us from a 2-person room and a dorm bed to a room that could fit all of us and helped us to order food from Nando’s (my favorite South African chain restaurant).  We didn’t see too much of it because we left the next morning at 5am to embark on our safari! (more…)

14th September
2011
written by Hazel

The day after we visited the penguins I drove us down to Hermanus, a small town on the coast, where we spent the night and searched (mostly unsuccessfully) for the whales which are supposed to be plentiful there.

Our trusty rental car

Our trusty rental car

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13th September
2011
written by Hazel
Boulders, home of the African Penguins!

Boulders, home of the African Penguins!

We’ve done really well on penguins on this trip!  Yellow-eyed penguins here and here, and hundreds of Magellanic and Gentoo penguins here.  We hadn’t had enough though and continued our trip from Cape Town with a stop at Boulders to see a colony of African Penguins.  It was a good time of year to be there because the babies were not finished molting and still had big hunks of fuzz.  They were adorable.  We also loved seeing the penguins surf in on the waves and waddle up the beach.  This is a really good spot for viewing penguins because after you pay your entry fee you can walk along boardwalks that get you right up close to the penguins.  There are lots of great photo opportunities!

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13th September
2011
written by Justin

The day after we went up table mountain, we had another beautifully clear one – perfect for exploring Cape Peninsula, the bit of land that juts out to the south of Cape Town into the Atlantic.  Many people think that this peninsula is the southernmost tip of South Africa, but it isn’t, so you aren’t able to touch the Indian Ocean from anywhere near Cape Town.  We rented a car (thanks for driving, Hazel!) and started off along the coast.

On The Road Again

On The Road Again

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