After we got through all the work stuff- meetings, discussions, it was then time for some fun! We went for 2 game drives- one early in the morning, and another later in the afternoon. It was an incredible experience! It was really fun trying to spot the different animals. We did not manage to see the 'Big Five' (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard)- we did see the first 3 in that list, though, which was great.
We had a really great guide, and the experience with the lions was truly spectacular. There were FIVE of them, and we got up close and personal as we 'stalked' them, while they sauntered up and down and looked at us (with disdain, I might add). Sitting in an open top jeep with them so close by was slightly nerve-wracking, but we never felt that we were in any kind of danger. The guide did tell us to stay quiet and keep our limbs inside the jeep, which was probably good advice. At one point we saw the female lions' ears prick up, as they looked across the vast open field- and we held our breath, hoping that we might witness a kill. Alas, that was not to be- apparently it is incredibly rare to see a kill on a game drive. All the same, it was a really amazing experience! We had the lions to ourselves for a long time, before our guide had to 'call it in'- i.e. tell the other guides about the lion sighting (for the other park visitors).
We saw lots of other animals- gnu, a majestic giraffe, zebras, rhinos and may more. At one point we nearly missed spotting a few elephants, which were grazing quietly nearby. How could one miss something so big? Strange, but true. Animals in their natural habitat are a lot harder to spot than in the zoo, where there is an enclosure and a signboard to boot! Talk about camouflage...
Goodbye South Africa! I hope to visit you again someday! :)