We embarked on our Safari adventure with one backpack (and another small bag for me because my backpack is tiny). We started our day at 5am, and had to be ready to be picked up by 6am. We stored our remaining luggage at JoBurgBackpacker’s storage room. Our guide from Intrepid Bundu (our safari company) was a bit late by 15 minutes, so we spent the time eating Ice Cream (Haggen Daaz from yesterday) and our leftover pizza. It was a healthy breakfast for sure. Soon, when we were picked up, we knew we had a long ride ahead of us. However, we were the only passengers in the minivan, which made it very comfortable for us. We stopped at a gas station – and FINALLY, I can use the ATM. Reminder to self: need to use Nedbank rather than ADSA for ATMs. We also picked up some chips and water for the road.
About 2 hours in, we stopped for a washroom break and then weirdly enough, there was a rhino outside. It was found out that the rhino is placed there by humans after cutting its horn off. Another couple hours more, we finally met our safari guide – Israel. He showed us our safari vehicle – and it seems like we’re the only ones on this safari. Our own little private safari – that’s always nice to know! We get to stop and start whenever we want without bothering other people. After meeting our guide, there was about another hour drive until we got to the entrance. At this point, we saw many impalas along the way. When we got to the gate (Orpen’s gate), we stopped for lunch, where I bought fruits, coleslaw, dried mangos, and gummy coke candy. There wasn’t much – it was just a little shop. It really wasn’t much of a lunch, but the choice was decent compared to Malawi. After lunch, it was about 1:45pm (our drive to the gate took 6hrs and 45 mins). We then set out on our very first game drive, which lasted for about 3 hours. Our first decent sighting was on a giraffe with its majestic beauty. It’s dark spots tell its age, and its horns differentiate males from females. We sat in awe and took pictures of our first sighting. Then we saw an elephant probably about 3 metres away eating leaves, and then it decided to cross the road right in front of us. That was pretty nice – one of the best sightings of the day for sure! As we’re driving, we also saw some wildebeest, two or three waterbucks, more impalas, plenty of giraffes, a lot of zebra, and probably about ten elephants. We even saw a herd of elephants eating grass about 5-10 meters away. It’s quite used to humans around it because our presence didn’t bother it. Our second Big 5 sighting is the buffalos, which we must have seen at least 100 of them. They are supposedly the most aggressive of all Big 5s because of its short-tempered nature. We saw them at a watering hole and it was just bathing in water to cool itself off. We drove very close to their watering hole – and it was just staring at us. Our third and final Big 5 of the day is the rhino, which we saw only from a distance, so that wasn’t too interesting.
After this, we went to our camp (which was literally a tent, but with BEDS). The camp is called Satara Camp – it’s definitely better than typical camping as there are clean washrooms and showers. We checked out the gift shop and bought some more snacks. After this, we head over back to our campsite and had a delicious meal of beef stew, rice, and salads. A little simple, but still can’t complain coming out of Malawi. The salad was especially great, as we haven’t had that in a very long time. We were also then briefed of our day tomorrow. We would be waking up tomorrow at 5:30am to go for a drive at 6am. Then come back around 8:30, eat breakfast, and leave again for another game drive at 10am. We will have lunch at some camp along the way again and then go for another drive – head back to camp, eat dinner and embark on a sunset/night game drive. Hopefully in the night, we will be able to see different animals – like the nocturnal leopard. Overall, I love the Safari experience – only thing is that I don’t have a camera since I lost in. It’s quite sad to see so much, but not have photos to document it. Oh well – maybe I should do it again at one point – maybe in Tanzania? Or the Masai Mara?