Africa is on so many travellers’ bucket lists, but that wasn’t the case for Intrepid Express reader, Megan Butler. For some reason the thought of being on safari 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 to Makutsi Safari Park about 5 hours away, 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, watching the river for signs of movement and hearing lions roaring in the not-so-distance was incredible and wonderful. Being driven back to your room and checking that a hippo 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.”
* photo by Keith Hern,
Intrepid Photography Competition