June 16 Today we made our way to Sabi Sabi, a private reserve within Kruger National Park. It took five hours from Johannesburg through eucalyptus trees, citrus groves, mountains, and “bushveld” to get here. What is the bushveld? “The Bushveld Igneous Complex (BIC) is a large layered igneous intrusion within the Earth’s crust which has been tilted and eroded and now outcrops around what appears to be the edge of a great geological basin, the Transvaal Basin. Located in South Africa, the BIC contains some of the richest ore deposits on Earth.” We are staying at the incredible Earth Lodge, an eco-friendly and luxurious set of lodges built into the veld. No fences separate us from the animals of Sabi Sands. The Earth Lodge is most definitely one of the best lodgings we have ever stayed at. We are in one lodge, the kids in another. It is the size of an apartment. We have a private plunge pool on our patio…hopefully no hippos will want to swim!
At night and early morning a ranger escorts us to the lodge for our game drives and meals. The ranger carries a rifle….after all, who knows what could be hanging around waiting to eat us? Our ranger is Peter, an Afrikaan of Dutch descent, and our tracker is Pat who is of a tribe I cannot spell or pronounce…South Africa has 14 different languages. Amazing!
We headed out this afternoon for our first game drive.
I’ve been to zoos, animal sanctuaries, circuses, big cat rescue….but nothing can prepare you for seeing these animals in the wild. Nothing! We saw warthogs, impala, and kudo….water buffalo, wildebeest, zebras and giraffes. We mingled with a herd of elephants, and we were ten feet from the King of the Jungle (or bushveld, rather). The
lion was sound asleep when we came upon him and he did not bother to wake for us. We waited quite a while before it became dark, the stars came out, and he began to stretch, roar, and finally, he sat up.
His roar sounded over and over again….our presence did not seem to bother him in the least. When he finally stood up we were all amazed at his musculature, his beauty, and the sheer power of him.
To say it was a thrill is absolutely correct: the thrill of danger, a touch of fear, a sense of complete awe. We leave again at 6 a.m. for our next game drive, and we will be ready!
After the game drive we headed to dinner at the boma ( a dining area around a fire ). The meal was wonderful….I had potato crusted chicken and French bean soup and Ran, Ally and Wes enjoyed Ham buck, a kind of antelope. We were escorted back to our lodges by our ranger, and we will be back at it tomorrow!