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After our trip to Madagascar we decided to spend time at a Safari lodge in South Africa. The one selected for us was perfect in every way: the same guy as selected the place for Victoria Falls, James of ATR.

 

South Africa

We flew to Sabi Sabi, a private area with several lodges of different sorts.

 

The teal lines are the total of twice daily drives looking for animals.

 

We landed at the Skukuza airport at the bottom right and departed from the Sabi Sabi airstrip at bottom left.

 

We seem to have covered every bit of the land available to us!

SabiSabi map

 

We stayed at the Sabi Sabi Bush lodge…

 

All of the public areas were outdoors. This is the lodge area. The dining area is to the right (not shown). The watering hole is in the near distance at left.

 

 

This was our home.

 

 

There were two long rooms. The other room was the bedroom.

 

The chairs outside at the end of the room overlook open area (totally private).

 

Those chairs are shown in two more views below.

 

This is not our normal standard during travel – and we enjoyed it every second.

 

We were very comfortable here.

 

 

The following are pictures taken from the veranda of the lodge.

 

On the left, a warthog.

 

A nice family.

 

Baboons and a kudu.

 

There were five vehicles. Up to six people in each (plus driver/guide and lookout). The vehicles were custom made for Sabi Sabi lodges.

 

A couple of times we saw one other vehicle (only when we saw something the lodge wanted everyone to see), otherwise we were always on our own.

 

 

 

 

 

The safari vehicles were driven by the guide and had a spotter on an elevated seat left front as seen in the picture above and to the right.

There were a couple of experiences that we didn’t realize before being here.

 

The first was that when we were in the vehicle the animals considered us part of the vehicle.

 

The guide told us that if we put our foot down outside the vehicle, we’d be dead meat.

 

Once a lioness walked by our vehicle within 6’ of Juergen. She looked up at him for a second then walked on.

 

It was like being surrounded by a mural.

 

 

A few times when needing a stop, the guide would find a very large open area before letting us down from the vehicle.

 

Whenever we walked away from the car, she had the rifle.

 

 

Everyone loves safari “sundowners” including us.

 

 

 

The front grill transformed into a serving area.

 

At the lodge guides had dinner with the guests in their vehicle. The first two days we shared the vehicle with this Australian couple. They were very nice. He was paralyzed from the waist down and they accommodated him easily.

 

Our guide was from Denmark, it was her dream to do this! She had the same intensive training required in South Africa for guides. At the end of their training she and two guys were put out in the wild with one gun. They had to survive a week. One of the instructors would check on them once daily. She said it was tough.

 

She loves her job.

 

Appetizers…

 

 

The desert tables.

 

 

 

Departing from the SabiSabi airstrip.

 

Above are the lodge photos.

 

From this point on are our animal photos, grouped by animal.

 

HYENAS

 

The hyenas were a surprise as they wound up being one of the most interesting to watch.

 

The first time we saw them we rounded a bend there were five, in a semi-circle about 20’ from a lion who was finishing of a meal.

 

They were like statues, unmoving. We were told they had been that way for hours.

 

They were waiting for the lion to finish so they could move in before the vultures, etc.

 

 

Notice the leopard in the tree.

 

 

 

LIONS

 

Look at this guy’s belly! Two old male lions had killed a water buffalo and had been eating it for hours. They could hardly move.

 

We followed the lion drinking at the pool below as it inched along as it was so full. It had to lie down to drink!

 

 

 

 

The following are female lions.

 

 

LEOPARDS

 

We saw them both daytime and nighttime.

 

We came across this leopard lounging on this little hill (just below, it’s the same color as the hill beneath the tree).

 

As we watched the leopard, three hyenas came up using our vehicle for cover, so we were in between!

 

The leopard was uncomfortable so climbed the tree. The other photos show the leopard keeping track of the hyenas. Hyenas can group up on a leopard when they get the chance.

 

 

 

 

Astonishingly, at night when our guides shine bright lights at the animals, they don’t react at all. The pictures above show a leopared feasting on a tortoise!

 

 

 

RHINOS

 

We were stalked by one as he followed our vehicle on the dirt road. He looked like he wanted to charge, so our guide was very careful.

 

 

 

 

ELEPHANTS

 

This family was at the watering hole, but we saw them every day. They had wonderful tusks.

 

Sabi Sabi trains/uses local people to catch poachers.

 

 

 

 

 

GIRAFFES

 

They didn’t walk right by us like the other animals did, but they were still very close.

 

 

 

 

 

ZEBRAS

 

Love the stripes.

 

Once a zebra “felt its oats” and went galloping around the area. It was so fun to watch.

 

 

That’s what they think of us…

 

AFRICAN ANTILOPES

 

These poor critters are called Africa’s food counter.

 

There are so many, and they multiply so quickly that they are the food source for many animals.

 

We saw so many varieties of gazelles, and others. The ones with markings make them harder to see. The stripes often look like shadows of branches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WATER BUFFALO

 

These kill more people than other animals.

 

They are near-sighted and it is never obvious when they will charge.

 

The one below has a genetic mutation yielding very funny horns.

 

 

These birds “clean” the animals of parasites. Notice the birds in the ear below right.

 

VULTURES

 

The first three pictures are vultures.

 

The others are birds we liked.

 

 

 

The fellow below is a hornbill.

 

We’ve decided we can never take another safari because it could never stand up to our experience at Sabi Sabi Bush Camp.

 

It truly was perfect in every way!