An African Safari has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and my first experience in South Africa was nothing short of amazing.
We were picked up bright and early from our hotel on the first morning of safari, and drove for 6 hours from Johannesburg, through the South African countryside, and all the way to Kruger National Park. Before leaving Melbourne for Africa, our 4 day safari was definitely what I was looking forward to most. I had been dreaming of being on safari for a very long time, and I was beyond excited to be embarking on one!
After a very long drive through South Africa we arrived at Tremisana Lodge in Balule Game Reserve. Balule is part of the Greater Kruger area, and with a beautiful lack of fences, animals are able to roam freely between all areas of Kruger and Greater Kruger, and are extremely relaxed in the presence of the safari vehicles. Thankfully, it has been a long time since hunting has been allowed in the Kruger area, and the animals are noticeably relaxed and phased by tourist taking photos of them.
Within an hour of arriving at the Lodge we were already loaded up on an open 4×4 for our first sunset safari. A small group of only 6 people allowed for a more intimate experience, as there was more opportunity to ask questions and really understand the place we were in. Our driver Luke was incredibly knowledgeable about the area, the animals that inhabited Kruger and their daily patterns. Our first game drive was relatively quiet compared to the ones that followed.
Despite note seeing a significant amount of animals we still enjoyed every moment of the drive. We saw a few giraffe and lots of wildebeest and impala. We also saw lots and lots of different species of birds, as well as heaps of animal tracks – so we knew they were around somewhere! We spent about two hours driving around the reserve before making our way to a bush braai (traditional barbecue) at Marula Tree Boma in the middle of the reserve. On our way down the driveway to the braai we spotted a huge male elephant! It was almost completely dark so I wasn’t able to get a good photo, but he was definitely one of the biggest elephants I have ever seen – and he was so close! It was incredible to be eating dinner so close to this beautiful animal, eating his dinner in his natural environment.
The bush braai was a beautiful intimate dinner by candle light in the middle of the reserve. You could hear monkeys and elephants talking to each other in the far off distance as you ate your dinner. Watching the end of the sunset over the mountains just topped off the whole day. We made our way back to the Lodge completely exhausted and joyful after such an amazing first day!
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