Tuesday, May 17, 2011

the curse is broken!


The Wife and I fell in love with safari on our last trip to South Africa. We’ve come to learn that we love nature-filled weekends the best and well, safari is pretty much the crème de la crème of outdoorsy trips. In 2009 we did 3 safari weekends and did 7 actual game drives. Game drives are all about seeing the “Big Five”- lions, water buffalo, rhino, elephants and leopards.

Out of those 7 drives, we saw 0 leopards, even though we went to Sabi Sands which is famous for their leopard sightings. I’ll never forget on our last drive in Sabi Sands as we ran over trees and through rivers in our ranger’s valiant attempt to find a leopard for us when Frenchie leaned forward and told me we were “jingled” and would never see one. After we all laughed about being “jingled” we had to agree- maybe we were jinxed.

2 weeks before arriving I started planning our first weekend here. We were going back to Sabi Sands and come hell or high water- I was going to see a leopard!

Someone may have been “jingled” on that first trip, but it wasn’t us because…


Yeah. And she was one of the three that we got to see!

Absolute breathtaking beauty and grace.

She was by far the highlight of my weekend and I seriously got a little teary gazing up at her in the tree as she watched over her cub eating her latest kill.

I mean really? How insanely blessed we were to see this…




We actually saw all of the “Big Five” on our very first drive, although we only got a glimpse of the elephants that night as we kinda ran into them in the dark on our way to dinner. The lights startle them and the last thing you want is a startled elephant coming at you so we literally had mere seconds of them.

I had planned our weekend exactly like like our last time we did Sabi Sands, staying the night at the lovely Utopia in Africa B&B in Nelspruit and even staying at the same game lodge inside the park.

We had a wonderful home-cooked meal at Utopia Friday night…


and left just after breakfast to make it to the lodge in time for our first drive.

I could do game drives every weekend and never tire of them. We had beautiful weather and great animal sightings…







The lodge was full so we got the added treat of having dinner out in the bush at their campsite where we were entertained by some local singers and dancers…DSC04121

and even serenaded by a roaring lion that was a little too close for comfort.

We were up before the sun for our second day of safari where we spotted some of the rare wild dogs, another leopard (!!), another lazy lion and had some nice time with the ellies..






The only animals we hadn’t really seen were some up-close zebras and giraffes. We ended up seeing quite a few of the pretty little disco donkeys on our way out out of the park though…


All in all a perfect weekend to begin our second time in Africa.

This weekend we’re headed to Cape Town and back to the wine country in Stellenbosch, where I hope to get to pet a cheetah. I’m in full-on animal stalker mode right now. Full-on.

Pics from the weekend…

photo credits:

all group shots- JS & MM

fish eagle- my very patient (with animals) Wife

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