Mike booked us at a private game reserve for my birthday, and it was fantastic. After two days of pitching the tent, it was nice to take a break from roughing it and have everything looked after for us.
We stayed in a luxury tent built above the tree tops close to Addo National Park. It’s a great experience because it gives you the feeling of camping, without actually camping. The “tent” exterior is canvas ripstop but comes fully equipped with electricity, shower, toilet, hardwood floors, and a/c. The tent is locate in an isolated area so you can’t see the other “campers” from your deck, the only thing you see are trees, trees and more trees.
It’s been hot here, getting up about 95′F during the day, and the animals don’t like the heat, so the safari drives are either in the evening or early in the morning when it’s cool out, which is the best time to see the animals, anyways because its when they graze and/or hunt.
After high tea, we went on our first safari drive. The first thing we saw were zebras and impalas– just grazing in a group together. Then we saw warthogs, and rhinos. Then off in the distance we could see the long necks of giraffes poking out from the trees. There were wildebeest, springbok, kudu, and the elands. How amazing! Being in their environement, rather than viewing them in a zoo; it all felt very ‘Jurassic Park’ in our open-top Land Cruiser just driving along next to the animals.
Since we didn’t see lions or elephants on our evening drive, the first thing we did was try to track the elephants. After about 2 hours driving around the game reserve, we finally found a lion relaxing in the shade from the morning sun. We were probably as close as 20 feet from her.