To say I had an amazing time would be an understatement. Going on a safari was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life! Since most of my knowledge of a safari came from either; 1. Visiting the pachyderm house at the Denver zoo and going to the Wild Animal Park in San Diego 2. Seeing the movie The Lion King and 3. The safari ride at Disney Land. I really had no idea what to expect when I booked a four-night, five-day safari in Kruger National Park. I knew there would be some rides in a jeep to see some animals but I was blown away by what really happened. Seeing as I’m a hippie at heart I found an “eco camp” in a private reserve within the Greater Kruger Park. Kruger is about a 6-hour drive east from Johannesburg, South Africa. Nthambo camp is a small intimate camp in the Klasari preserve with only 5 tree houses, well not actually tree houses but tents lifted about 15’ above the ground with trees surrounding the area.
Me, with my morning coffee
This was not roughing it camping; this was a 5-star luxury camping in my opinion. I had a big comfy bed, my own bathroom (with a resident frog), a mosquito net, desk and private deck for yoga and deep thoughts. Ntambo is “off the grid” meaning there is no electricity – only solar power for a few lights in the tents and gas for cooking and hot showers. Because there is a maximum number of 10 guests allowed at any time everyone takes rides and eats together with the guides. I spent the first two nights with a family of 3 from Massachusetts and the last 2 nights with another family of 3 from Australia, a law student from Wash U and a funny woman (who happen to be from Colorado Springs) doing “angel” work near by.
Cloudy Day view from Tent 4
After we received our morning wake up call at 5am, which consisted of our guide hollering up to our tent, we spent our mornings on game drives. We had a tracker and a driver, but we also had our eyes like bananas – PEELED – looking for everything and anything that moved. There was always a morning coffee break strategically in an open area. Around 9am we went back to camp for breakfast in the communal tent with Ryan, our driver and guide. The communal tent consisted of a sitting area, a small bar, kitchen, dining table, fire pit and a small pool. After breakfast we had the day to lounge, snooze or simply be with our thoughts while we gazed off into the horizon. At 3pm we ate lunch and then went on the afternoon drive. We spent another few hours looking for animals then stopped for a sunset drink aka a sundowner. We continued the drive in the evening where the tracker used a spotlight to look for eyes, shape and movement; it was so cool how he could pick out a little chameleon, in the dark, on a tree while we were zooming past. We looked for animals who like to roam at night or are nocturnal. We returned around 7:30 where a fire and dinner awaited. We were always escorted back to our tents since there were no lights and it was impossible to see what could be lurking around a bush waiting for a late night snack!
I promise to tell you more, but I’m sitting in the Joberg airport and I only paid for a few minutes of wireless access to skype with my parents so they know I’m alive after safari. I’m headed south to Cape Town for 10 days, so I should have easier access once I arrive.
Stay tuned for more about the rides and the animals!