Lions, elephants, warthogs – the traffic jam you don’t want to avoid

Living on the other side of the world makes it a bit challenging when it comes to keeping in touch with your friends and family.

Even though there are many ways to communicate online today, one cannot fully explain in details the life and atmosphere in Africa, and especially in the case of such a big and diverse country like South Africa.

However, the last two months have been very busy: two groups of friends came over, and each time we spent about a week on safari in Kruger Park.

The second time I even got to practice my ranger skills as we mostly did self-drives and I have to say that it went much better than we expected: we managed to spot all animals from the Big Five (rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo) in one day!

This was the first and only time I saw the Big Five in one day for more than two years of living in Africa!

Yaaayy! Lekker!

Also, it’s also pretty amazing that my cute super low city car survived the whole experience without a single scratch! ( but driving an old pickup truck is the way to go really).

We mainly explored the area around Crocodile Bridge Gate, and this is also the area with the highest density of animals in the park. My friends got a bit confused after we saw the Big Five in their first safari ever and then it got a bit more difficult in the next few days – but each day was very different, and we had many amazing close encounters with different animals.

For a self-drive, the most popular morning safari route is Crocodile Bridge Gate to Lower Sabie – I definitely recommend it because it’s always easy to spot the animals and there is a high likelihood that you would see a whole herd of 30-40-50 elephants as you get to Sabie River, especially around noon.

The cats typically start hunting in the evening, eat until sunrise and then usually go to sleep.

Lions are relatively easy to find as many of them move in prides but leopards are really, really difficult to spot.

A small lion pride feeling lazy before the evening hunt.

Elephants, giraffes, buffaloes and sometimes rhinos like to stay close to the road, and you can even see them walking on the main roads – so it’s very important that you stick to the speed limits. The picture below shows a herd of elephants crossing the road on their way for a mud bath.

Spotted hyenas are also likely to stay close to the road.

This is a very pregnant hyena sunbathing on the road. I don’t know how many puppies she’s expecting but it looks like a big litter:

Staying in a tent is another useful safari tip: there are some very basic ones, as well as really beautiful luxury tented camps, but in both cases the tents have one big advantage: they are bug-proof! Now of course I’m sure a lot of girls would appreciate that, especially since it also keeps the mosquitoes away – pretty important as there are some malaria cases in Kruger Park.

Hearing the animals walking around your tent at night is also pretty exciting , as it is seeing a bunch of monkeys fighting on the roof of the tent. Or simply waking up from the roars of a lion.

The picture below shows a warthog mom looking for her babies. They’re not in my tent lady!

Zebra vs Lion Fight 

The fist animals we met in Kruger were two lions.



It was 5 am and they were having a nice breakfast. We couldn’t see what animal it was because they were hiding it behind a fallen tree, but they stayed there for many hours. We spent about 20 minutes watching them eating before continuing with the safari.

The sun was rising.
A few hundred meters away from the lions, a group of three zebras crossed the road in front of our car. The third one was wounded.


And then we realized it was the stallion that had been fighting with the lions. Their kill was another zebra and he tried to stop them.
Zebras are very social animals and they are quite strong as well. The stallion wasn’t badly wounded but there we could clearly see the scratches from the lion’s claws.

It was the first time we witnessed this aspect of the animal’s life. Most of the time you won’t see a predator hunting.


We asked the ranger if a vet is going to treat the zebra. Apparently they almost never do, the idea is to let the animals live as they would if no vets existed.

So that was the scary side of the safari – you suddenly realize that the animals are not just beautiful and magnificent and happily running around and just enjoying the day – from dusk to down, they fight for survival

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK- WHERE HUMANS ARE JUST VISITORS 

It was indescribable.
So this is what the Earth looked like 20 000 years ago?

Hot subtropical weather, a 100% humidity and lush vegetation – I could totally live there! (at least until a giant spider decides to take a nap on my face).
The moment you open the door, there would be at least one animal waiting in front of your cottage. Hopefully a giraffe or a zebra or an impala. 
During our first day in Kruger we decided to go out for a walk and right in front of the cottage, there was a friendly giraffe having a nice snack.
One night a group of zebras came to the guesthouse to say hi – there was a waterhole right next to the lobby. The zebras had some water and posed for a while.
There was a warning sign at the entrance – apparently leopards also like to rest on their trees from time to time but that’s pretty rare.
A lot of people ask me if it’s dangerous to go on a safari – I would say it’s not, the most likely bad thing that could happen to you is getting a heat stroke if you don’t take care of yourself.
So if you really love nature and animals, Kruger Park is your place.


It’s the home of about 12,000 rhinoceros, 2000 leopards, 12,000 elephants, 3000 lions and 27,000 African buffalos – and these are just statistics for the Big 5. 
There are organized game drives, walking safaris and self-drives. The gravel roads are pretty good, so you’ll be fine even if you’re not driving a 4×4. Obviously you would see the most animals on an organized game drive but Mr. Jonas (our amateur ranger) did extremely well with a map and a pair of binoculars.
Other activities include close animal encounters, riding elephants or flying around the park on an ultra light plane.