What to expect in South Africa

Kruger game drive in South Africa

Africa is on so many travellers’ bucket lists, but that wasn’t the case for Megan Butler. For some reason the thought of being on safari in South Africa didn’t grab her, but after reluctantly agreeing to make the trip she soon got a lot more than she expected…

“After arriving in Johannesburg and then travelling by van towards Kruger National Park, my attitude was starting to change. The scenery and towns were so different from home. I sat with my face glued to the window as we approached the park and saw a wild monkey and impala. Wow – maybe this will be fun after all. Still didn’t know what to expect and couldn’t explain why I didn’t want to go.

An afternoon safari changed everything. Driving along the track – a giraffe! I was now hooked and watched every tree, bush and plain, trying to catch a glimpse of an animal.

One morning we came across a herd of elephants and it was so surreal sitting quiet as a mouse in the jeep, watching and listening to them stripping the trees of branches and eating their breakfast.

I became quite good at identifying the various animal dung as we drove along and could spot an impala or warthog from a distance. Giraffes blending in with the trees and zebras trying to hide were no match for me. Who would have believed a black and white animal could blend in with the terrain so well!

Sitting in a lapa (thatched hut) after dinner, looking out into the dark for signs of movement and hearing lions roaring in the not-so-distance was incredible and wonderful. Being escorted back to your room and checking that one of our four-legged friends wasn’t sitting on your porch to greet you was amazing. Who would believe me?

I saw 4 of the Big 5 and saw the grass where the leopard was hiding – so that counts doesn’t it? We saw 2 cheetahs sitting serenely by a tree ignoring us, a group lion cubs walked confidently past the jeep (the rest were not far behind) and we watched a baby elephant feeding from its mother.

The people of South Africa are wonderful, the scenery terrific and the animals – well, zoos will never be viewed the same again!

Now we are planning and saving for our next visit in the near future, but for a much longer time. I’m hooked and can’t wait.”

From Intrepid Comfort lodge trips to wild camping adventures, Kruger National Park is an unforgettable experience in South Africa.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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