Day 10: Sunday was safari day! A 4.30am start didn’t sound so painful when we knew we had a fun day ahead of us; each of us couldn’t wait to get going! Miss McKenna had even put on her proper safari gear- it was agreed that she won the best dressed award for the day! It was exciting to think about seeing wild animals in their proper habitats rather than in a cage or behind a glass screen and we were all determined to spot ‘The Big Five.’ In Africa, the big five game animals are the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros- completely different from our ‘big five’: sheep, cows, goats, pet dogs and more sheep!
Upon entering the park we were just in time to witness a beautiful sunrise, South African style! It looked exactly like a scene from ‘The Lion King.’
A quick fuel stop of tea and rusks was all we needed to prepare us for the busy day ahead. By this point it was daylight, despite it being just after six in the morning, and we were able to take in the scenery properly. We were surrounded by miles of beautiful greenery and mountains and found the perfect picnic spot which overlooked a nearby river. As we were on their territory, there was signs everywhere warning you to look out for elephants or monkeys etc- definitely something you don’t see at home! (We made sure to eat our rusks fast!)
The white rhino was one of the first animals that we saw in the game park which pleased us all because we could officially check them off of our big five list. We learned a lot about them from our guide who told us that they are commonly seen with little birds perched on them who keep the rhinos clean! However she also told us that rhinos are becoming endangered due to the high levels of poaching in the area. Hundreds of rhinos have seemingly been killed in the park for their horns.
He led us to a whole ‘journey’ of giraffes and we learned that although it doesn’t sound like it, giraffes do communicate with each other. They speak on such low frequencies that it’s impossible for humans to hear them making noise.
Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes? Even seeing them this up close in the wild it is impossible to tell sadly! Still, they were beautiful all the same and posed expertly for photos.
The best part of the day was our cheetah sighting! We were no longer thinking about the big five and agreed that seeing a cheetah topped everything! Even our guide had said that she had never seen one in the park, so it was a real rare sight- luck was on our side.
On our way out of the park we even managed to catch a herd of elephants at bath time which is another rare sight to see!
And where there’s an elephant, a dung beetle is NEVER far behind…
We all had an amazing day at the game park and it is clear why it is such an attraction. Although our guide told us that it all about timing and luck, there’s always something around every corner and the views alone are worth seeing- true African landscape. It was exciting to see wild animals roaming in their true habitat and this is one of the reasons that South Africa is so special.