It all began with a drive from the city of Johannesburg to the world renowned Kruger National Park, where wild African animals roam and flora is diverse. This prestige national park covers a staggering 2 million hectares of land to explore.
|George with the Epic truck.|
Alfie shared his vast knowledge of not only the wildlife but also of the land with its plants and trees. We saw so many animals on the many game drives we went on, from herds of graceful impalas to the majestic elephants with their flapping ears. Crocodiles basking in the sun to hippos floundering in the shallows of the water. Tall yet gentle giraffes to different kinds of beautiful birds.
All of Africa’s Big 5 were spotted! Even one of the Little 5 was seen, the Buffalo Weaver bird.
A family of three from Canada joined in the adventure; Bruce with a smile that lit up a room along with his wife Lynne and their son George. A lovely British couple, Andrew and Sara came along describing the trip as a ‘’truly amazing adventure of a life time”. Stephen, an Aussie full of jokes who has been on an Epic safari trip before had decided to come back for another wild adventure. He brought along two wonderful carers, also from down under in Australia, Michael and Cameron. Fabienne and Herve’, a French couple but now living in the countryside of Spain, joined the mix of people and we set out for a wild expedition.
|Some of the group hanging out.|
We gathered for delightful meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner when Alfie and Charles had cooked up a storm and even catered for my mostly vegan ways. Everyone in the group got along and I loved the fact that there was a mix of nationalities and different accents.
Skukuza is the main and most popular camp in the Kruger National Park where warthog families were seen munching on the grass and birds seen flying by. This is the largest of all camps in the park and is set on the banks of the striking Sabie River. As the sun rose the first day in the scenic province Mmpulanga we set off for our first game drive of many.
|Satara rest camp.|
Satara could be described as having an enchanting charm. This is the third largest rest camp in the reserve and the bungalows are set in a series of circles. A lovely swimming pool area is here along with a grocery store and various small stores if you are in the mood for a scrumptious cappuccino or perhaps a tasty pizza.
I went along with George looking for hyenas’ under the cover of the African night sky, the spotted hyenas’ were found patrolling the outside of the fence on the look-out for food.
During the mysterious night time when the stars are out, the hyena’s cackle and the lions roar, fruit bats can be seen zipping past and adorable African wild cats come out to play.
In the African sun magnificent birds fly around, small lizards scuttle by and butterflies flutter through the camp.
Private Game Reserve
|Me (Keira) stroking Ntombi.|
This rustic private game reserve is found in the picturesque land of Limpopo. A tame cheetah by the name of Ntombi, named after the Queen of near-by Swaziland, is Queen of the bush camp which we called home for 3 nights.
Game drives twice a day, after the sun rises and not long before the sun sets, where we had close meetings with wild animals. An elephant even put her trunk in the open safari vehicle to say a friendly hello. A game walk or wheel was enjoyed having Ntombi accompany us along with the game rangers to protect us.
We visited the wild dog Dongo, as well as the small leopard, and a serval cat along with her neighbour, which is a caracal cat, in their own safe and personal enclosures.
|The charging elephant!|
We spotted a leopard hanging out in a tree with all four paws swinging off the branch.
A male elephant, known as a bull, was not happy to see us and wanted to charge at the truck. It was a truly exhilarating rush and experience!
The feeding area in the private game reserve, where the left overs of food are thrown out, attracts different animals at night time. Four elephants came through the bush, one of them even let out a back end blast!
|Sarah feeding Jessica the hippo.|
We fed a very special 16 year old hippo called Jessica, who lives in her own section of a river but is free to roam and be with the wild hippos. She sleeps on the veranda and watches TV in the house. All the lucky ladies in the group got to plant a big kiss on Jessica.
We saw so many adorable baby animals – monkeys, elephants, giraffe, hippo, buffalo and more.
Lynne told me that the trip was ‘’fantastic and were treated like ordinary tourists, did everything and saw everything that able bodied tourists do thanks to Alfies’ planning. It was as though the wheelchairs and disabilities didn’t exist. Best trip ever.’’
To me this was a trip that touched my heart in a profound way. An experience I will never forget. People that are forever now etched in my memory. A truly Epic journey.