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My First Safari, But Not My Last

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My First Safari, But Not My Last

  • 3 / 27 / 2018
  • Kristi Troster Carelse

As a child, I grew up in the time when the Lion King was the most popular Disney movie and there was a connection made with these beautiful animals that would last a lifetime. I was fortunate growing up to have the opportunity to travel with my momma each summer; it was our thing! It was early in 2014 and we already had a trip planned to go to Europe, when the company we were traveling with cancelled on us. My mom started looking at other option and she said we are going to South Africa. The idea that I would get to see Simba, Nala, Timon, Pumba, and Musfasa as well as leopards, elephants, zebras, rhinos, antelope, giraffes, cheetahs, and the many other animals of the savanna made me the most excited I had ever been for a trip. However, this excitement paled in comparison to the moment when I got off the plane at Hoedspruit airport and on the short drive to Kapama Game Reserve 3 giraffes were enjoying their lunch. I can honestly say that I was in awe. It was real, they were real, I was reallythere, and it was only the beginning.

When the sun was setting over the beautiful landscape and the King of the savanna came out to make his rounds to mark his territory and roaring to remind everyone who reigns here.

I don't know if the first game drive was actually the best during our 3-day trip or if it was because it was my first safari, but I was moved to tears. The family of elephants and how clearly you could see their love for each other and how protective they are. The lionesses right in front of us walking with such power and grace at the same time. The stealth beauty of the leopard hiding up in the shade of a tree always knowing where we were but making us work to see her. When the sun was setting over the beautiful landscape and the King of the savanna came out to make his rounds to mark his territory and roaring to remind everyone who reigns here. I couldn’t take enough pictures and I must have hugged and thanked my mom a thousand times for this experience. The next few days brought thrill after thrill. The entire pride of lions with their many cubs, a mother and baby rhino, cheetahs on a kill, hundreds of grazing antelope, and the most precious baby elephant who decided to practice his trumpeting and charging skills on our vehicle when he was too young to even control his trunk. I left South Africa and the safari experience with all I had ever dreamed of and more with the promise I would return to experience it all again.