South Africa – Part 2

Once we got to Thornybush we were floored. We booked our travel through a company that organizes trips using independent companies/ guides. They just do the planning. They’re awesome, and kindly enough upgrade our camping safari to a super nice one with private little houses, for free. Anyways, it was an incredible experience. Everyday we’d get up at the crack of dawn, have coffee and muffins, load up and drive around for 3-4 hours, come back, have breakfast, lounge it up, have lunch, lounge it up  all afternoon, around 4 o’clock go on another game drive, come back have dinner and go to sleep. It was not as I expected a safari should be (roughin’ it), yet it was amazingly pleasant. Of course, our safari-mates (the other people in the vehicle) were really fun, a group of doctors from Australia that all went to med school together, and our guide, Nick, and tracker, Jefferson, were amazing.

Nick was a little bit too into leopards though. I mean we spent hours and hours over the week tracking leopards. At one time Lauren said, “If we don’t see a leopard, so we can stop tracking it and look for something else, I’m going to scream.” To make it worse, the only one that Nick found, we only saw for like a minute before it ran off. We were able to see probably the most amazing thing I’ve seen, a mother leopard teaching her cub to hunt. Nick didn’t find this though, we got a call and drove over to it. The mother would creep up to a group of warthogs, and get incredible close. Then she’d look back and give her cub the ‘signal’ to try to get close. Of course, he wasn’t very good at it, so the warthogs would run off. Then he’d try again, and fail again. The mother would just sit watch, and then show him how to get close again. It was astonishing how sleek, agile, and stealthy she was, and how he was none of those things.

A mother leopard, right, teaching her son to hunt.

A mother leopard, left, teaching her son to hunt.

The leopard cub stalking a warthog. Not doing a very good job though.

The leopard cub stalking a warthog. Not doing a very good job though.

We saw a lot of animals over the week, including all of the big five. We actually saw a black rhino while in the taxi on the way into the game reserve! It was an incredible experience and I am so happy for my friends and family who gave me an awesome birthday present that allowed me to rent a 200-400mm lens to capture these pictures. It was the best investment in a while, and totally worth $300. Now if I could somehow come up with $12,000+ to get one for myself! haha.

King of the Jungle.

King of the Jungle.

Battled scared

Battle scared.

 

Just before I took this picture, this lion walked silently beside the truck and no one noticed til it was going around the other side!!

Just before I took this picture, this lion walked silently beside the truck and no one noticed til it was going around the other side!!

Hello, Mr. Elephant.

Hello, Mr. Elephant.

A different leopard.

A different leopard, Nick didn’t find this one either.

Different battle scars, this time a giraffe

Different battle scars, this time a giraffe

These monkeys would role through the lodge and try to steal food. We watched one take the lid off a sugar bowl and stick his whole face in it, before we had the chance to shoe him away.

These monkeys would role through the lodge and try to steal food. We watched one take the lid off a sugar bowl and stick his whole face in it, before we had the chance to shoe him away.

Guinea fowls

Guinea fowls

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Cape buffalo

Cape buffalo

Hippopotamus, on the night drive

Hippopotamus, on the night drive

 

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