Recently I received a lot of questions in Instagram about our Safari trip in South Africa from you guys. So I thought writing a blog post about my personal Safari experience might be the best way how to answer all of your questions.
First of all: Our Safari trip was the most beautiful travel experience I ever did! Seeing all those animals is fascinatingly calming and impressive at the same time. I can highly recommend anyone who is thinking about doing a Safari trip to put it on top of your bucket list!
How did we organize our Safari trip ?
We traveled two weeks trough South Africa on the so called "Garden Route", starting in Port Elisabeth, all the way down to Capetown. On this route we had about 5 different stops, two of them were in National Parks, where we did our Safari tours. To be honest, we booked our complete tour in advance because that way is more relaxing for us abroad. We planned this tour together with a travel agency located in Germany and in South Africa. This was actually really helpful as they recommended us amazing places all around South Africa! As far as I know there are two ways how to do a Safari trip in South Africa (let me know if there are more other possibilities). On your own with your own car or together with a lodge. We chose the second one as a lot of our friend who have already been in South Africa recommended it to us. Doing the Safari trip together with a lodge is extremely expensive! - But it is absolutely worth the money!! Well, as we did the Safari together with a lodge there was not much to organize in advance, we just booked our lodges and that was it :)
Where did we stay ?
In total we stayed 6 nights in two National Parks. Our residences were Lodges/Tents in private parks as there are normally more animals to see and except the hotel guests there is no one around. Our only neighbors were some lions, zebras and giraffes :) Day 1 - 3: Kariega Private Game Reserve LODGE: SETTLERS DRIFT The architecture and the design of this hotel is absolutely fantastic! The whole lodge includes only 11 luxury tents with amazing views right in the middle of a National Park! Our tent/bungalow even had a freestanding bathtub, a dressing area, a terrasse and a huge living and bedroom - nothing to complain about! The animals we have seen there were breathtaking and the food was amazing! But I have to be honest, the lodge was in my eyes not 100% perfect. I'm absolutely afraid of big spiders and the day we arrived I had 3 really big spiders in my tent/bungalow (almost the size of my hand). I know we were in the middle of a National Park but I think it's appropriate to expect an spider free room, or at least a room with no big spiders in it (Settlers drift has 5 stars). Our staff kind of did't understand my problem and so they just didn't remove those spiders even after calling them like 3 times. That messed up a bit my positive impression of the Kariega Private Game Reserve Settlers Drift.
Day 3 - 7: Addo National Park LODGE: GORAH ELEPHANT CAMP Gorah Elephant Camp was the most impressive place I've ever been to! If you are planning to do a Safari trip in South Africa, stay at this place! I even don't know where to start telling you about this place. This lodge includes also 11 luxury tents BUT all of them are right in the National Park - that means there is no fence around the lodges! I think thats the one thing that makes Gorah this special and unique. The very first night we had around 30 buffaloes right in front of our tent and one of them was scratching itself at one of our tent joist - I think my heart stopped pumping for about a minute! That might sound a bit scary but there were about 2 or 3 rangers around at the main lodge watching the animals - so there was no danger at all for us!
I could tell you like a hundred positive things about Gorah but I picked our the main thee:
First, the food: We had an early breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea time and dinner - there was no chance to starve at any time and the food itself was absolutely amazing! All the bread, cake and croissants and so on were self-made in their own kitchen.
Second, the Safari: We had a female ranger and she had the most incredible knowledge about animals. She even knew every single name of the birds in Addo National Park. Her sense of where the animals could be was excellent, therefore we saw Lions almost everyday!
Third, the lodge environment: A speciality about Gorah is their own water hole in front of the main lodge (20 meters away). During the day all kind of animals came to this water hole for drinking. We've seen about 100 elephants there at the same time! Furthermore we've seen zebras, black rhinos and lions at "our" water hole.
Summarizing, I absolutely fell in love with this place and I could imagine coming back to Gorah pretty soon!
How did our daily Safari routine look like ?
We had two Safaris everyday. One in the morning at about 7AM (Settlers Drift was at 5AM) and one in the evening at around 4PM. Each game drive took approximately 3 up to 4 hours. As the temperature is pretty high during the daytime most of the animals hide in the bushes in the shade. Therefore you see most of the animals in the morning or in the evening. Additionally to all the beautiful animals, we had the most amazing sunsets and sunrises!!! So getting up this early is absolutely worth it. After coming back from the game drive in the morning we had a wonderful brunch and afterwards we enjoyed the day at the lodge (both had a swimming pool). Our day ended with a wonderful 3 - courses dinner after our evening Safari.
Which animals did we see ?
To get the best overview which animals we did see, I though it's best for you if I just write it down in a list: Day 1 - 3: Kariega Private Game Reserve
Female Lions (We searched for almost 4 hours until we found them)
All different types of Antelopes
Day 3 - 7: Addo National Park
Male, Female and two baby Lions
Elephants (seriously a hundreds of them in one herd)
All different types of Antelopes
A LOT of different birds
Thank your very much for reading my post, I hope I was able to answer some of your questions and you enjoyed reading this blogpost :)