safari guests in game drive vehicle

Safari Diary: Our First Game Drives with Rhinos, Lions, and More

Our first group of safari guests arrived to very warm  early spring weather.  Some of the trees have just started to bud,  but the rains will not start for several more weeks.  The giraffes are happy to eat the buds and are looking forward to fresh leaves.

We had a relaxing first dinner outside under the stars in the boma last night.  Sitting out in the complete darkness with millions of stars above is a rare treat in a world of light pollution.

We started out early this morning for a game drive on a very nice private reserve. The temperature was cool but perfect for active wildlife. Right away we found a very pregnant white rhino.  Having gestated for almost 17 months she is finally ready to give birth.

pregnant lion photo taken on photo safari in south africa pregnant white rhino

The next encounter was with 2 female lioness and one juvenile male; probably their son. One female was very pregnant and will give birth soon.  We watched her as she went to the water to get a drink before picking a shady spot

to spend the day.

Rounding out the game drive was some buffalo, hippos by the water with a baby, and a herd of elephant that happily grazed on branches right next to and around our vehicle.

Two elephant enjoy eating leaves Mother and baby hippo find a good spot to nap in the sun

We enjoyed a very large and delicious breakfast – South African style with fruit, cereal, muffins, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, and grilled tomato.   For the afternoon it was time to relax, swim, and right journals.

Our afternoon began with a high tea with light snack and then we were back into the open Land Rover to find more wildlife.

Just “across the street” from our reserve is a beautiful tract of land which we explore this afternoon.  We are lucky to be in an area with many rhinos. This reserve has been home to white and black rhino for a long time and the herds are very healthy and so far protected from the poachers.  Unfortunately, their safety requires that their horns be periodically removed – thus removing the temptation to poach.

white rhino family rests in the shade

Black rhino
The black rhino takes up a defensive stance

The white rhinos were relaxing under the shade of a tree.  The young one looked to be about 1 1/2 years old.  When alerted the rhinos stand butt to butt, each facing a different direction. These guys are pretty relaxed and lazy this evening.  We search a bit to find the black rhinos browse in the trees and shrubs.  They are a bit more cantankerous and charge the vehicle.  This is a female with a calf so she is standing her ground to protect the calf.

We also enjoyed seeing buffalo in large herds and the solitary bachelor males, nyala,  elephant,  and even take note of some birds such a kingfisher.  Just in a single day we have seen so many species.

 

Male Nyala
Male Nyala checks us out
kingfisher
Malachite Kingfisher

At sundown we stop for our “sundowner” drinks in a scenic vista overlooking the mountains and watch the sun set.  The game drive then switches into night mode as we drive home using spot lights. Always on the lookout for an anteater or pangolin we make our back.  Another delicious meal awaits us.

photo safari first day-6 photo safari first day-9