January 2016, South Africa – We don’t know why it took us so long to getting around to making a South Africa safari. After all, we have friends there and our best friends from England have been trying for years to get us to accompany them on a game viewing safari. The first half of our trip was spent in two private game reserves. We made the drive from Johannesburg to the Thornybush Game Reserve in time to join the afternoon ride into the bush. Within ten minutes of driving out of Kwambili Safari Lodge, we encountered elephants and to my surprise, several of them walked within two feet of our truck.
A few minutes later, our ranger received a call from another truck that mating leopards had been spotted, but he didn’t tell us that was what we were racing off to see so I, seated next to him, protested every time we sped past Impalas and Warthogs. “We’ll come back,” he reassured me. I didn’t realize until later in the week, how rare it is to see mating leopards. Elephants and mating leopards – in our first half hour!
We saw loads of zebras and this little youngster was my favorite. It seemed to be torn between staying with mum or watching us.
After a few days at Thornybush, we moved over to Kapama Game Reserve, where the animal viewing was just as spectacular. We saw many lions, including mating lions and lions on the hunt. On the last evening, our ranger and tracker pulled up to a sandy depression to show us something we’d been asking for all week: baby lions. It was dusk, so the light was low, but there they were, at least two mothers and five babies:
I took all my photos with my little Canon G-16, so I don’t have the fantastic animal portraits that everyone else got, but I still managed to get shots of some of my favorites, including this gorgeous Leopard Tortoise:
And this beautiful, endangered African Wild Dog, a.k.a., Painted Dog. I love, love, love the round ears:
I could show a thousand photos (yes, I really took that many) but I’ll stop with my absolute favorite: dung beetles! I have been fascinated with these ever since I found one many years ago here in Florida, rolling a ball of my dog’s poo across the back yard. Here, they were on every fresh patty of animal dung. I could have spent hours watching them but am very happy that my ranger and tracker (and fellow travelers) obliged me for a few minutes every day: