South African Sojourn: Wildlife
In his previous post Sandeep Sahajpal shared with us his first impressions about South Africa. In part two, he writes about the most talked about aspect of South Africa: the wildlife.
One thing that the African continent is famous for is, of course, wild life. While on the continent, one must do justice with this aspect as well. I preferred to go to Pilanesberg, much against the suggestions of going to Kruger.
In Africa, the big five game animals are the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros. While the game park authorities claim that leopards and buffalo are hard to find, we could see the lions, rhinos, elephants aplenty, to say the least, besides antelopes, giraffe, hippopotamus and baboons, and that too within first half hour of the safari. To top it all, we could also enjoy the night safari as well, first time in life, since the evening safari extended till 8 pm. The experience was worth every penny.
The icing on the cake was that we could also enjoy the company of the wild ones in private parks, up and close, at arm’s length, quite literally! There are several private bodies which take care of the wild animals and keep them under observation and care, so as to save the races from extinction. They claim that they could do so quite effectively, as there is no interference by the government. Yes, the animals there cannot be sent to the wild regions and national parks, as they are not equipped to hunt, but it serves the purpose of people coming up and close, in a way to respect their existence out there in the wilderness.
Besides the pleasure of ‘driving through garden like terrain’, it is also noteworthy that you reach the destination in a predictable time! Going 300 kms distance can be achieved in three hours, at best three and a half, including a short coffee break. Vehicles are well maintained, no scratches seen at the exteriors at all.
Overall, we loved meeting the big five during our wildlife safari adventure in South Africa. But that’s not all; there’s much more that awed us about this fascinating country. Stay tuned for more travelogues!