We flew from Johannesburg Airport to Hoedspruit. That was an experience in itself. When the plane was landing on a lonely runway in the middle of nowhere, I looked to my left and saw a family of warthogs and baboons running down the side of the track. Wow. You wouldn’t see that at London Heathrow.
The transfer taxi picked us up from the airport and drove us to Elephant Plains Game Reserve. On the way we passed through little villages, on very very bumpy roads, until we reached Sabi Sands. We entered through the fence and within ten minutes we saw two giraffes stood eating at the side of the dirt track. We knew from then the safari was going to be an amazing trip.
Elephant Plains Game Reserve
On arrival to the lodges we were greeted by friendly staff and were given an introduction on the daily itinerary (game drives). Our lodges were out of this world. My lodge had a four poster double bed with a glass shower that looked out onto the reserve. It was incredible. The lodge had a huge balcony with two sun beds which you could lay on throughout the day and watch the animals at the nearby watering hole.
There were two game drives in the day. The first started at 5.30 till 8.30 and the second started at 17.00 till 20.00. This leaves you with lots of time to relax, which means a lot of sleeping and pool time. The pool is an infinity pool, which hosts the best views out onto the reserve. You would be swimming in the pool and the next thing you would see is a herd of elephants coming to the watering hole for a drink.
The game drives were led by a ranger and a spotter. The ranger drives and the spotter tracks the animals. Well, our first game drive didn’t disappoint. One of the first animals we saw was a leopard. The leopard walked straight past the truck and gave a little look as we sat watching.
On one game drive we found a heard elephants, big and small, eating the thorny bushes. A baby elephant approached the truck, followed by a very large elephant showing us who is the boss.
One morning we went on a game drive and saw a pack of lionesses. The only problem was…they were surrounded by a group of hyenas. The hyenas were calling for back up. However, the lionesses didn’t seem too interested that they were being circled. It was like watching the real life Lion King.
The hyena’s were my favourite animal. They were cheeky and did look like they were laughing. The ranger took us to a hyena den and to our surprise there were approximately 20 hyenas.
My favourite picture from the Safari…
We hadn’t seen many giraffes yet and I was wondering whether there were many that lived on this part of the reserve. Until one game drive where it seemed like ‘giraffe valley’. We spotted a group of giraffes eating and walking down the dusty track. It was an amazing sight to see!
We saw so many animals and eventually managed to see the big five (we also got a handmade certificate at the end of the trip to validate that we had seen all the animals). One of the most amazing animals we saw was the rhino.
It was sensational on every single game drive. No amount of pictures, videos or words can describe what it was like seeing and hearing the animals in the wild.
On the night game drives you stop for a sundowner, where you get off the truck and have a drink. The ranger stopped us at various places, but my favourite was by a watering hole with a lonely hippo watching us from a distance.
There were so many fantastic moments to write about. We witnessed a leopard patiently sitting on top of a termite mound waiting for a warthog to come out from its den.
We sat beside herds of elephants.
We tracked the zebras.
We ran with wild dogs.
We had the most magical trip!
Until the next time Elephant Plains Game Reserve…