My housemate, Ann, and I went to South Africa in December 2014. We started at Umlani Bushcamp in the Timbavati Reserve just outside of Kruger. We were at Umlani for 2 nights (one of which was spent sleeping in a treehouse above a watering hole where elephants walked right below us!) Umlani was a beautiful, simple camp with no electricity, simple rooms, and very welcoming staff. We went on 3 game drives with excellent guides and were fortunate to see the "big 5" within the first 24 hours of being on safari. We saw a mother leopard and her two cubs, a pride of 9 lions, white rhinos, more elephants than you can imagine and so many wonderful birds. There are so many different species that I can't even list them all here without boring you.
Here is the slide show for Umlani. The photographs are in no particular order, and eventually my favorites will make it onto my website.
Next we traveled into Kruger park where we spent 4 nights- We stuck to central and lower Kruger because that is where the biggest concentration of game is. If I was there for longer, I would have gone further north to see some of the rare bird species. Maybe next time! The first 2 nights were in central Kruger at Satara camp. We drove ourselves (well, my excellent friend Ann drove us and did a wonderful job despite having me as an obnoxious backseat driver!) in the morning along the paved and unpaved roads looking for animals. In the afternoon we took guided tours, allowing us to stay out later because the gates all close before sunset. At our camp within Satara we met the resident Vervet monkeys. They are incredibly smart and not afraid of people. They got into food, even when you thought you did a good job putting it all away. Or in my case, while shooing away one monkey, another snuck up behind me and stole my peanut butter sandwich right out of my hand!
On our afternoon drives we got to see another pride of lions (6), lots more elephants, rhinos, and really cool night species. In the slideshow below, you'll see a bushbaby. I was thrilled to get to see these small primates! They hop from tree to tree and have huge eyes.
After Satara, we spent our last 2 nights at Lower Sabie. The lower section of Kruger is commonly called the "circus" and I completely agree. There are many places we went where we didn't really see any other people or cars for long periods, but the camps in the lower Kruger section were much more chaotic and lots more kids were present. Even though it was more crowded, I still feel like I wouldn't pass it up if I repeated the trip. There are more rivers present so there are more water animals like hippos and crocks. It is currently the rainy season in Kruger. From what I read before leaving the US, the rain is commonly in the afternoon and the mornings are sunny and hot. We had the exact opposite weather. We had cool, foggy, damp mornings that stayed cloudy all day. It was really nice to have 70 degree weather instead of 100 degrees, but I was a little bummed I never got that really nice morning light to photograph in. Finally on our second to last morning, it was perfect. And we saw a cheetah mom and cubs. Everything on the trip made me really happy, but that morning I was overjoyed.
Hope you enjoyed these slide shows. Next up will be our week in Cape Town.