My first time on safari

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safari brooke saward

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”
Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

My First Time on Safari

It couldn’t have been any more surreal if you had have pinched me until my skin drew blood. Sitting comfortably (perhaps too comfortably) inside an open-top Land Rover as a pride of lions slowly made their way beside the vehicle was indeed one of the most surreal experiences in my life. But this was as the day drew to a close…. prior to that, I had already spent hours amidst the wildlife on safari in South Africa.

The first full day on safari began at precisely 5:30am when I received my wake up call from our game ranger, Bens, who vibrantly stated “see you at 6!” and hung up the phone. Luckily the adrenaline was already pumping through my veins or I almost certainly would have fallen back to sleep at this point. But alas, there was wildlife viewing to be done.

I crawled out of bed shortly after hanging up the phone and began to cover myself in layers of clothes. The night before another game ranger had kindly advised the secret to morning safaris is to dress yourself like an onion and peel the layers off as the safari carried on further into the morning. By the time I reached the safari lounge area for a morning coffee and biscuits, I was wide awake – perhaps partly due to the shockingly cold temperature outdoors.

Shortly thereafter we filed into the Land Rover, Bens jumped in the driver’s seat, and gently placed his rifle onto the front of the vehicle. Although he hasn’t yet had to use it, our game ranger had some scathingly close calls with the wildlife in his many years as a game ranger, including ‘that time when I found myself between a lioness and her cubs’. Oh yeah (I thought to myself)…. that time, eh?

south africa safari

Before we were merely a few hundred metres outside of the camp grounds, we found ourselves gazing at a herd of elephants, our first sighting for the day. This was followed by rhinos, hyenas, and at the end of our morning safari we were witness to a stand off between two leopards.

Given the early start time, many guests at Mala Mala Game Reserve choose to sleep during the day or take the day at leisure. Feeling optimistic, I instead chose to work outside on the deck, enjoy lunch, and gear up for the night safari in the early evening. At 4pm we met with our game ranger for tea and coffee and before too long we were on the open road for our evening viewing.

If I’m to be completely honest, I can’t remember much of that evening before sunset when we were sitting inside the Land Rover with a South African cider and nibbles, viewing a pride of lions and following them through the bush as they moved slowly and without regard for time. We had spent almost an hour in search of the lions, and when we finally reached them (through treacherous terrain), I was in awe of their beauty. Slightly scarey yet somehow gentle and subtle, lions are often the hardest sighting on safari when trying to view the Big 5.

After a phenomenal 48 hours at Mala Mala Game Reserve, I walked away with my certificate stating that I had encountered the big 5 – hoorah!

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World of Wanderlust visited South Africa as a guest of the South African Tourism Board.

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    March 15, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Lovely post with lovely pictures. A true African safari experience. Lucky you!

    November 27, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Visit out new site! Great free adult videos

      Tim Kersher
      April 29, 2015 at 4:16 am

      Word of caution. If your going to the outback, please take protection! In the form of a condom, those elephants get rather frisky in the summer heat

    June 1, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    That is so amazing! You were so close to the animals and your photos are beautiful.

    May 23, 2014 at 6:17 am

    So cool!!! This is one of my biggest things on my bucketlist! Just bought your book, very excited to read it 🙂

    Yuliya xx

    May 18, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Awesome pictures!! This must have been an awesome experience!!

    May 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    This is amazing. Africa is still one of the places where I definitely want to go. It must be such an amazing place on earth. You are truly blessed as you live the dream 😉 Greetings from London!

    May 15, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Oh my goodness! I can’t believe how close you were. You truly are so lucky to be able to experience all of this.

    May 15, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Great pictures! A safari is definitely on my bucket list

    May 14, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    There is nothing quite like seeing these majestic creatures in the wild.

    It breaks my heart to think of how our rhino’s are being poached for their horns….so horny men can…ummm get it up!!

    Seeing a mamma with her baby is a beautiful sight and hopefully both will have a long life!

    I’m glad that you enjoyed your safari and I am sure that when you come back next month there will be a lot more for you to see and do in Mzanzi,



    May 14, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    They are so unbelievably beautiful!
    Love your South Africa Series – it is on my bucket list for long and now I can’t waaaaaaait to go (will take me another 2 years or so to save the money though 🙁 )

    I am looking forward to read more of your adventures and stories,

    caroline [the diy nurse]
    May 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Wow. Just show stopping. I cant imagine being so close!