Finally … I’m sharing my African Safari!
I’ve shared some of our trip, Here, Here, Here, Here and Here, but haven’t told you about our last two days spent on Safari! The experience has ruminated in my heart and mind … honestly; I don’t think I’ll ever get over it and don’t want to!
It was never on my bucket list. I suppose I thought I’d never get to or could never afford to. When I found out our wedding trip included a Safari, it started brewing in my heart. Oh my word. By the time we went, I couldn’t wait to get to the Safari. But I’m glad they scheduled it last, because everything else would have been eclipsed. (Not the wedding, of course.)
We visited the Kariega Game Reserve:
Kariega Game Reserve is a family-owned and operated Big 5 private safari reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. The reserve is along the Garden Route, along the country’s beautiful coast.
This Reserve incorporates 10,000 hectares of pristine African wilderness, as well as two abundant rivers – the Kariega and the Bushmans rivers. Experience close up game viewing of the Big 5 – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard – as well as multitudes of other South African wildlife from the comfort of an open game drive vehicle.
This Reserve is 25,000 acres of gorgeous mountainous bush. Read more Here.
Game Reserves dot the continent. Specifically, in South Africa, natural wildlife was disappearing and in the past 70 years, they have made efforts to preserve existing wildlife and reintroduce indigenous wildlife to depleted areas. They allow no hunting. The animals are free to roam and exist in the natural habitat with very little human contact or interventions. The rivers and vegetation, as well as instinctual feeding, supplies for their health and welfare, as if no one was even watching them.
One Lion and one Rhino have tag collars. They’re used if they are not sighted for weeks, to see if they are still moving and alive. There are many parts of the Reserve that are not accessible with Jeeps. Thus, weeks can go by without viewing some animals. Also, in the case of the leopards, they can cover hundreds of miles crossing borders to other reserves and so be out of sight for months, even years.
We stayed in cabins: rustic, sweet with modern amenities and views to gasp at! Pinch-yourself real!
Beware, animals have walked into cabins, especially the monkeys! One cabin in our group had a monkey enter through an open sliding glass door. He ran straight to the kitchen and grabbed some food off the counter: obviously; he knew where the food was. Those monkeys are aggressive rascals!
We were advised, at all times when walking to and from the lodge to be aware! We were not separate from the animals domain.
For two evenings and two mornings, we went out in an open Jeep to
treasure hunt animals.
I was so excited!! I am not a morning person, but I’d get up any day before sunrise to glimpse these magnificent creations! I was not missing any opportunity.
I know I’ve said this before, but this was an awe-inspiring spiritual journey for me. I’ve seen lots of animals in a zoo with plenty of appreciation for them. But, seeing these animals in their natural habitat, continent, surroundings, 3-D was breathtakingly gorgeous and worshipful. Not worshipping the animals, but the Creator who imagined such beauties and equipped them uniquely. Seeing them set in their natural habitat, as God intended, was a sight I’d never viewed. It broadened my thoughts of God. So vast and magnificent, so unique and foreign to the world where I live.
The landscape was wondrous (I’m running out of adjectives.) and magical; like a movie set. Just jaw dropping crazy! I kept turning my head to not miss a snippet. I kept thinking… please burn this into my memory and don’t let me forget it or how it felt or how it made my heart worship! Let me remember the feel of the wind on my face as the Jeep drove along, the coolness of the morning and evening. The sun rising and setting, and all this gorgeous topography and … the ANIMALS!!
It filled all of my senses to thrilling overload. Each trip out!
It was like a brand new canvas every time we boarded that Jeep!
Let me say, boarding the Jeep was the most challenging part of the trip. (Snicker) Let me just also say, if you have a will … there is a way!! (“Everyone turn your heads, please.“ Hehe) I had the nicest, most helpful crew!
Our guide was THE BEST. All the Jeeps thought theirs was the best, but ours was!! She was full of history and information. Her Dad had been a Guide while she was growing up. She was beautiful … and the accent … perfection! We stayed with the same guide for all four of our safari’s which made for nice consistency. They knew what we had seen and not seen, etc.
Our first trip out, first stop, was a pile of dirt beside the road. Our guide got out and asked what this mound was. Someone said a termite mound… Bingo, correct. Next, she scratched the side of it and the little pests came out. She picked one up, put it in her mouth and asked if we knew what they tasted like … “they taste like mint when you chomp them between your teeth.”
We laughed, thinking she was pulling a fast one on us! Then she said, “Anyone else want to taste them.” Mind you, my husband and I were the “parents” on the Jeep … we were with twenty and thirty-somethings. (Loved that!) To my husband’s surprise and google eyes, my hand shot up first! She was right, a minty explosion occurred upon chomping! After “Grandma” here paved the way, several others tried them, hahaha! I will not miss a once in a lifetime opportunity! (Please don’t call me if you have termites in your house … not coming 😉
This post is getting way too long, let me just say before I leave lots of photos (I have plenty more.) …
Elephants are so playful, they danced (lumbered) all around us. The guide definitely knew the testy ones and removed us farther away from them. The Rhino’s ventured close, as well. The Hippos hated us and tried to hide, snorting at us to move along. The antelopes of many varieties, wildebeests, jackals, ostrich, zebras, giraffes, water buffalo, monkeys, birds, etc. all held their own mystique and intrigue! I longed to see the warthogs… those little guys are quick and illusive. Twice we got great sightings and the last trip two brothers played at a distance for quite a while. How did God think up creating their tails to stand straight up when they run … oh, my gosh, it’s the funniest, cutest thing.
Zipping along these acres of land and wandering with the animals felt free and good and right. Surely, God created it this way. I felt Him there. Maybe this was a tiny glimpse into the perfect world He created. Just a split second of how He meant it to be. This place wasn’t perfect. But, for a brief-sighing-moment, I could imagine it so!
“The line between sacred and secular is man-made.“ — Sarah Bessey
If you believe God is the Creator, then every minute of life, everything, is sacred.
He is in it. Therefore, it is sacred.
I know this to be true!
Feel free to share with a friend(s).
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