To round up the holiday we ended with a fantastic Safari at Kariega Game Reserve.
When we arrived at Kariega the excitement began straight away, we had to be escorted to our lodges as there was a Buffalo charging at the trucks as they passed. This was a female Buffalo who was protecting a calf.
Setting out on the evening Safari we started driving through the 10,000 ha reserve until we came across a herd of Blesbuck grazing. Both genders of the Blesbuck have horns with the females having slender horns as a way of protection from other animals such as cheetahs, leopards, lions, jackals, wild dogs, pythons and eagles.
About an hour in to the safari the guide had a call in that a female lion had been spotted hiding under a tree. On arrival the female lion was sitting in the shade resting, she barely even lifted her head when our safari jeep pulled up.
Around twenty minutes later the guide had another call saying two males had joined the female. Zolani, our guide explained that the two males were best mates and spend a lot of time together except when the female is in season.
One of the most fascinating animals and stories of the safari, was that of Thani, the White Rhino. During 2012, three rhinos on the reserve were shot and had their faces butchered for their horns. One Rhino died of its injuries but two, Thandi and Themba survived with horrific injuries. Unfortunately Themba died shortly after.
Thandi went on to have skin grafts and miraculously not only survived but gave birth to a calf in 2015.
It was an absolute privilege to see Thandi and her 7 month old calf, Colin.
One of my favourite animals to photograph was the giraffe. We came across one Giraffe who was chewing on a bone. Giraffes will occasionally chew on a bone, moving it around their mouth using their tongue, to release the phosphorous and calcium in the bone. This behaviour is called osteophagy. The bones are not swallowed, only chewed then dropped back on the ground.
Our first evenings safari ended with a picnic as the sun set. On the way back to the lodges we came across three Rhinos blocking the road, in the dark the Rhinos use the paths made by the jeeps to get around. We had to sit and wait while the Rhinos slowly walked passed.
Our aim the following morning was to find some elephants. We thought because of their size this would be easy, but having to find an animal in such a large area of sometimes dense trees and bushes ended up taking 2 hours.
It is hard to describe how amazing it was to see these animals.
This is the last blog from South Africa, I really enjoyed my time there and can’t wait to go back some day.