Photo Diary and Stories from Cape Town Part 6 of 6

Towards the end of my trip to South Africa  (Cape Town), it is devoted to an exhilarating and unforgettable game drives to discover Kruger Park’s abundant wildlife.  Be ready to be amazed!

We left Cape Town the previous day and took a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, then a 4-hour drive to our lodge which is about a 45-minutes to an hour drive from Kruger National Park.  Just know it was a long day and we needed the rest.

The next day, we woke up bright and early (before sunrise) for our game drive.  I worked on my safari attire lol

The drive to Kruger…….

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. It has a high density of wild animals includes the Big 5. Hundreds of mammals make their home here, as do diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles, and storks. Mountains, bush plains, and tropical forests are all part of the landscape.

Our driver and tour guide

In part 2 of the Photo Diary and Stories from Cape Town, I wrote about how I underestimated the weather in South Africa.  We kinda stole all the blankets from our lodge.

And we were still freezing in the open jeep.

Then it was the drive to see the Big Five…

It is time for The real thing.


And there’s no better place for this than South Africa, which offers the most exciting, memorable, and exhilarating experience of your life – coming face to face with the Big Five.  You are probably wondering — “What is the Big Five”?  The Big Five are the Elephant, Lion, Water Buffalo, Rhinoceros, and Leopard.

How did these five animals – the lion, elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, and leopard – come to be called the Big Five?  It was originally a hunting term used by the so-called ‘great white hunters in the hunting heyday of the 19th and early 20th centuries when professional hunters bagged as many trophies as possible in as short a time as possible.

The Big Five

African Elephant

The largest living land mammal, elephants are a truly unforgettable safari sight, especially when you spot them traveling in a large family herd.

African Lion

The lion is often referred to as the king of the animals, and it’s not hard to see why. An apex predator on land, a lion does know how to purr, but that’s about all he has in common with your housecat.

I couldn’t get a close of up the lions.  They were keeping their distance and I was okay with that.

We found out during the safari that the gazelles were the prey for the lions and other meat-eating animals. ;-(

Water Buffalo

They may look like cattle, but don’t be fooled; African buffalos are powerful, quicker than they appear, and ruthless when provoked. Part of the reason for that is the buffalo’s extremely thick skull. Curving horns completely cover the top of the animal’s head, forming a near-impenetrable bone shield that can even deflect bullets. Because of this, and the buffalo’s large size (males can weigh up to 2,000 pounds), most predators won’t attempt to take down an adult African buffalo alone.

Black Rhinoceros

The black rhinoceros are nearly extinct due to poachers.  They are on the critically endangered list due to their demands for their horn.

Stocked image from

Nocturnal, stealthy, and wary of humans, leopards are an elusive animal, making sighting a rare treat for any safari-goer. The smallest of the big cats, leopards are mostly solitary creatures and are likely to flee at the first sign of perceived danger.

You can say that the leopard was missing in action.

Crossing the Road

During the safari, we had to stop a lot because the animals wanted to get to the other side.  It was impressive to watch.

Here is a little tidbit we learned about giraffes, due to their long neck they can spot predators (i.e. lions).  If you see them running, you better run too.

The Hyena

We say a lot of the hyenas and they were so close to our jeeps.  However, they didn’t remind me of the “Lion King” 😉

Other Animals

Now you can’t have a safari without seeing monkeys (baboons), boar (I think that is boar), or zebras.

Overall, I enjoyed my trip to Cape Town and Kruger.  I hope you enjoyed this series and just maybe you will join me on my next trip to Cape Town.


(10) Comments

  1. Saakshi Maheshwari

    Visiting an African Safari has been on my mind for years now. Loved reading your post, brought my dream of visiting the safari alive.

  2. Silke

    Wow, I’d really love to go on a safari too one day. It must be fantastic seeing all these big wild animals in their natural habitat. Your use of the missing in action image for the leopard cracked me up. Great to see that you had such a wonderful time in South Africa!

  3. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    My mom visited Kruger when I was a teen and the stories and images of her visit still linger in my memory today. She brought home a beautiful coffee table book that I spent many hours thumbing through. It’s hard to imagine being cold on the African savanna, but I think that just shows the limits of my imagination. Someday, we’ll have to take this trek on our own and replace those childhood wants with authentic memories.

    We are heading to Sri Lanka tomorrow with hopes of an elusive leopard sighting. Those cuties are so skittish and nocturnal, I don’t have high hopes but it would be highlight of the trip for sure.

  4. Linda de Beer

    We were fortunate to live just around the corner from the Kruger National Park for almost 10 years. It will always be one of our favourite places in the world. Of course, it is a highlight to see the Big 5, but the smaller creatures and antelope are just as impressive and I’m glad you were not only fixated on the Big 5. BTW: Love your safari attire.

  5. Kirstie

    I never thought Cape Town could get so cold! And look at those animals! They are just everywhere. It’s beautiful and I think it was so much fun!

  6. Jennifer

    The boar is actually a warthog. You mentioned the Lion King, so do you remember Pumba? He was a warthog.

    A tip for dressing for safari: it’s good to wear neutral colors. Bright colors can scare the animals or keep them on alert and they don’t get as close as they would otherwise. Layers are also good, because you usually leave quite early when it’s cold. Then the day can get warm and if you’re out until sundowners, it will get significantly cooler again.

  7. Megan Jerrard

    Cute safari outfit! We visited Cape Town but didn’t make the trip to Kruger National Park – would love to though – definitely have to plan a return trip. So funny to see buffalo in the middle of the road in front of the cars! You saw some great wildlife – Giraffes crossing the road would be so incredible, and how amazing to have hyenas that close to the jeep! The little one looks kind of cute, almost like a puppy lol!

    Glad you had a fabulous time 🙂

  8. Elisa

    What an exciting experience! I am heading to Uganda in less than a month, where I will also be able to see the big 5 . . . with the leopard’s permission! Your pictures make me want to start packing my things right now, loved the b&w thing when you hover on your pictures! ps. I took good note of the stolen blankets and I will add a layer more on my packing list 😉

  9. Paige

    Haha! Your leopard missing poster totally made me chuckle! You still did very well. I know many who have gone and missed 2 or 3 of the big 5! I love that little hyena – I had no idea they were so small. It’s so cute! That baboon is quite large! I’m dying to get to South Africa to experience all this myself! Thanks for sharing your photo diary!

  10. Lauren

    I don’t think anything in the world tops the thrill of a safari in Africa! I stayed at a wildlife conservancy in Kenya and every single day I couldn’t get enough of seeing the animals. It’s funny – I didn’t see any leopards either, even though they were supposedly all over the place. They’re quite elusive, aren’t they!

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