Even though we had seen many videos and photos of the savannah and its animals, we really weren’t sure what to expect for our safari.   The Great Migration wasn’t happening yet.  We wondered if we would see enough animals.  Would we see lions?  Would we see giraffes?  Would we see the Big Five?  Well, we saw plenty, including the Big Five.

Our vehicle was a Toyota Landcruiser with enough seating for seven people.  The roof popped open which was great for viewing the animals.  We saw lions, zebras, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, warthogs, water buffalo, wildebeest, mongoose, a rhino, hippos (lots and lots of hippos), giraffes, hyenas, jackals, ostriches, flamingos and lots of other birds.

We will share some of our more notable experiences.  A few photos are below.  More photos can be found here.


Notable #1 – Lions Up Close  …. Real Close!!!

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Our mouths dropped in awe when we saw 5 lions, one male and four females, sitting in the shade only about 25 feet from us.  We wanted to scream out in delight but couldn’t since it would disturb the lions.  They didn’t seem to mind much that we stopped so close to them.  Their strength and greatness was to be respected.  They are truly a magnificent animal.  You can see how close they are in the photo.  

We observed them for about 30 minutes before we saw another male sitting in the grass about 200 feet away. He got up and strolled towards the rest of the pride.  Eventually all the lions got up to move on and walked right past our truck.  Check out the photos.


Notable #2 – The Kill

As thrilling as it was to be so close to the lions, that wasn’t our best encounter.  The next day we were out on another game drive and our guide saw a lioness sitting in the grass.  Our guide said that she looked hungry and was looking for a meal.  We waited for about 75 minutes just watching her.  We were hoping to see a kill, as gross as that sounds. 

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We watched the lioness slowly crawl up a little bit at a time.  We decided to move the truck up to get a better view and that was when we saw what the lioness was looking at.  There was a red buck just sitting in the grass.  We didn’t wait much longer maybe only another 15 minutes before she went for her kill.  It was quite the sight to see.  We had seen videos on kills like this but seeing it for real was another thing.  We usually cheer for the prey in videos but not this day.  We were hoping she would get something.  

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As soon as she made the kill our guide said, “Oh, Oh, she is about to lose her meal.”  A male lion heard the squeals of the warthog and knew he had an easy lunch.  We all felt sorry for that poor lioness.  She was so patient just waiting for her meal and then the big old male, King of the Jungle, thinking he is all that, just comes right up to her.  She dropped her kill without any fight at all and the male took it away.

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By now there was a crowd of safari trucks ascending on our location.  After all, seeing a kill is pretty exciting for most tourists since, others wanted to see the after scenes of the male lion munching down on a warthog.  Meanwhile, the lioness had crossed the road and since she was still hungry, she was still hunting.  We were the only truck looking the other way while other tourists were loudly talking and looking at the male lion.  They had no idea that behind them the female was about to attempt another kill. 

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She didn’t get the second warthog and I’m not sure if it was all the trucks and people talking so loud or if this warthog was just that much faster.  Our guide said that this is only the second kill in his eight years of guiding that he has seen at this time of year.  We were pretty lucky to experience it.


Notable #3 – Hyenas for Dinner???

We had great accommodations.  Three out of the five nights were spent with wild animals freely walking around our tents (yup I said tents, canvas tents with mesh windows).  Now I say tents but this is really camping on steroids.  One of the places was a mobile camp so the eating area was like a huge dining tent with one side wide open.  When we were dinner one night, a huge hyena walked not more than 20 feet from our tables.  See photo below of place where we ate.  The best part of it was that one of the staff began chasing him with what we think was a screwdriver.  At some of the places we stayed, we needed to have an escort to walk us to and from the dining tent.  We were surprised to see that the escorts only carried a large stick. 

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Notable #4- Ostrich Lovin’

Even though we felt a little awkward, watching ostriches mate was interesting.  Both the male and the female do this dancing thing with their wings. Our case we saw two female attempting to attract the same male.  There was a bit of a standoff but it was clear that he preferred one of the other.  Once they get together, the male does this weird Stevie Wonder move with his entire neck.  Check out the video.

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Notable #5 – Mama Leopard and Baby Leopard

The leopard feeding her cub.  Nathan wrote a great story about that here.


Notable #6 – Are those Rocks and Boulders – No those are Hippos

We made a stop by the hippo pool and what a surprise.  Jaxon wrote a great story about that here.


© VanKosh Family 2015