I have been quite lucky enough to visit South Africa twice now, and it is definitely near the top of my top places to travel. The people are friendly and welcoming, the landscape is breathtaking and the animals have a certain attraction which entices thousands of visitors each year. It is coming towards the busy season of the animal kingdom in Africa, the migration. Around September time in central Africa, hundreds of thousands wildebeest make the trek around the Serengeti and Masai Mara. But not to worry if you don’t make it for that time, you can visit Game Reserves through out Africa.
On both times I visited South Africa, I enjoyed a safari each time. You can not get enough of spotting animals in the wild, well semi wild. Safari camps are usually located in Game Reserves (Game meaning animals, and Reserves meaning a fenced off area). These fenced of areas can be host to 5 or six Safari camps. The two safaris I visited were very similar but very different at the same time.
The first one I will talk about is the Springbok Lodge. The lodge is located in the Nimbiti Private Game Reserve in the KwaZulu Natal region. The drive from Durban is roughly 3 and a half hours with most of the road being sealed except for the last few kilometres. The game reserve itself has 20,000 acres of bushland for the animals to roam about and for you to also hop in the safari jeep in search of the big 5. The day I arrived I was greeted by the friendly staff and a welcome drink. From here, we were shown to our safari tent to freshen up before the afternoon game drive. The afternoon game drive will last for a few hours before finding somewhere to have ‘sundowners’. You will drive up to a high point in the park and before stopping and having a bottle of beer or glass of Champaign to watch the sunset. The morning safari will start on dusk and will give you the opportunity to watch the animals wake up too.
The second was the Shamwari Conservation Experience located in the Shamwari Game Reserve, an hour and a half drive from Durban. This is not like a normal safari. This is one wear you give back to nature and get behind the scenes of a game reserve. It is a volunteer project where you can stay from a week to six months. At any time, you can be counting impala to taking measurements on a resting elephant. Other days you may be removing weeds from an area. If you choose this option, don’t be afraid of a little hard work and be prepared to meet some interesting people.
Things to remember when on safari:
Meals are at a set time, but don’t worry, you will be well fed
It will get cold when driving so take something warm to wear
Go on both the morning and afternoon safaris. You will see different animals each time
Tip your ranger, they don’t get paid much
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