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Archive for January, 2020

A Close Encounter

In 2014 Lee and I made our second trip to South Africa with a side trip to Kruger National Park to see and photograph more spectacular African wildlife. I was excited by the prospect of what we were about to see but had no idea how exhilarating it would become.

Kruger is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and covers an area of 7,523 square miles in the provinces and Limpopo and Mpumalanga. There is a huge variety of animals in Kruger, including the “Big Five”–lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, and rhino–and we were anxious to spot them all.

Detailed Map of Kruger NP

We were driving along with our friends (and guides) Andries and Steffi Van Wyjk when Steffi grabbed her camera and exclaimed, “Lions!” It took a moment before I saw them, but when I did, my jaw dropped and my heart quickened. There in front of us, coming right down the middle of the road, came a line of eleven female lions.

They continued coming until they passed right by our vehicle. They couldn’t have been more than three or four feet from us. Our hearts were hammering and four cameras were clicking furiously as they meandered on by. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have such a close encounter with a pride. This wasn’t the entire pride I’m sure since there were no males with them, but perhaps these ladies were on the hunt. It is the females, after all, who are the hunters.

Later in the day, we finally spotted the king of the jungle. He’d found himself a nice little shady spot for his cat nap, and though he was quite a distance away, it was a thrill to see him. Seeing these magnificent animals at home in their own environment is an honor and a privilege.

Nap Time

So, one of the “Big Five” down and four to go.

To be continued…

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South African Adventures

South Africa

As my husband, Lee, and I plan our fifth trip to South Africa, I am excitedly looking forward to many new adventures and experiences. I am also reflecting on our previous four visits and how incredible each has been.

The first time we traveled to this mysterious continent, I must admit I was somewhat apprehensive. I didn’t know what to expect, and it was only the reassurance I received from our hosts at Van Wijk Safaris that assuaged my concerns. The sights I saw on the drive from Johannesburg to the lodge near Vaalwater in the Limpopo Province were amazing, but imagine my surprise when we arrived and I first saw where we’d be staying. Not bad, right?

Lodge and pool

It wasn’t long before we were acclimated and ready to explore.

Me

I saw so many animals I’d never seen before or only seen in zoos. Possibly the most memorable adventure of our 2012 visit was the elephant experience. Not only did we learn more than I’d ever known about the world’s largest land animal, but I got to interact with and even take a long ride on one.

With elephant

And then there was our excursion to the Entebeni Game Reserve where we got to see many more animals up close and personal.

rhino

As evening fell on the last day of our ten-day excursion , we knew this wouldn’t be our last visit to the captivating South Africa.

sunset

Just two years later we embarked on our second adventure with Van Wijk Safaris. But that’s a story for another day.

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