The Trip of a Lifetime: Safari in Kruger National Park
Amazing, incredible, inspiring…I do not even know how to begin to describe how our three days on safari were all those things. While I was very excited for the middle part of our trip, I had no idea just how amazing, incredible and inspiring it was going to be.
Safaris have long been a popular “bucket-list destination” and a trip most people want to take at some point in their life. Many people put off the trip because it is expensive, the flights are long, being close to the animals scares them and the planning process is overhelming. But despite some of these challenges, what is it about a safari that has people dreaming about setting foot on the African continent someday? Each person has their own personal motives, but here are a couple of reasons why a safari is not to be missed.
- It is easy!
While it seems like a challenging and complex trip to plan, it is actually very easy. Once you arrive on safari, most lodges take care of everything! They tell you when you are going on game drives, when you have free time, what time meals are served and what you are eating. We worked with a travel agent for the whole package so we even had our transfers to and from the airport included, making it a stress-free and enjoyable process.
- You have the ability to see animals in their natural habitat.
Interaction with wild animals ends at the zoo for most of us. Even though it seems obvious and you know you are going to see animals in their natural habitat, you will not be prepared for what you experience. There are no real boundaries – you see animals wandering freely from one watering hole to another. At mealtime you see their need to hunt for their food and our last night there we chased a pack of wild dogs for two hours as they hunted. It is incredible.
- It is action packed.
I am not a morning person, yet somehow at 5am I had woken up before my alarm went off or the sun came up. It is thrilling to know you are going out before anyone is awake for another day of game drives. One day might you might be following a pack of dogs on their chase or the next you could happen upon a herd of zebras on the morning migration across camp. There is never a dull moment and it will incite your sense of adventure.
- You meet people from around the world
A safari is a trip that people universally want to take. We were at the safari lodge with people from Dubai, Australia, Quebec, London and the US on our trip. It is such an interesting experience to meet everyone and learn what drives him or her toward seeing the wildlife. Some trips draw people from certain parts of the world, but a safari will give you that unique perspective from global visitors.
Fun fact: the world’s best cocktail hour is located on the African continent. As the sun is going down, and golden hour light is streaking across the plains, rangers will pull over and make you cocktails. This occurs at the end of the day, after two game drives and allows you converse with your fellow safari –goers on what you saw that day. It was also a chance for the rangers to share their stories. It is one of the coolest and most peaceful experiences.
- The animals will not be here for forever
We sadly learned about the rhino poaching issues which are still present at Kruger, and it was a rude awakening that all animals may not be here for forever. While the national parks and reserves are doing everything possible to keep these animals safe, take advantage of the opportunity to see the animals while you can.
- A chance to experience the culture of Africa
The Dulini Lodge did a great job incorporating African culture into our stay with the traditional BOMA night. African music and dance abounded, traditional food was prepared by the lodge and it was all enjoyed at long tables with new friends.
- Private reserves offer seclusion
While adventures and animals abound on safari, small and secluded reserves offer peace, quiet and relaxation and simultaneously allow you to be in the middle of the animal’s natural habitat. Private pools and decks at the Dulini allowed you to look over the plains while feeling worlds away from civilization.
Finally touching foot on the African continent and seeing animals in their natural habitat – there is truly nothing like it. There is a deeper connection with nature, with the world and the animals. While many call it a once in a lifetime trip, I can say with certainty I will be back on another safari!
Have you ever been on a safari? Do you have any interest in going on one?