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!

Namib Desert

I was thinking of the fox in the “Little Prince” as I was leaving the Namib Desert and there he was, right in front of me.He winked at me.

I saw many mirages that day but this wasn’t one of them. It was so surreal that I had to make sure I took enough photos.

You probably remember this part:

“So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near –

“Ah,” said the fox, “I shall cry.”

“It is your own fault,” said the little prince. “I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . .”

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“But now you are going to cry!” said the little prince.

“Yes, that is so,” said the fox.

“Then it has done you no good at all!”

“It has done me good,” said the fox, “because of the color of the wheat fields.”


It made so much sense in the desert – and it happened just as I was leaving Namib. In my previous post I mentioned that Namibia was a magical place.

One doesn’t go to the desert just like that. Most people prefer to go to Paris or Venice or a fly to a tropical island with white sand and turquoise water.

The desert is a special place where you are all by yourself and your inner demons; there you can set them free.

Have you ever felt the same way during some of your travels?

The 10 things you need for a great safari experience

A question I’m always asked is “What do I need to wear/bring on a safari?”So here is a short list of the most essential things for a game drive (according to me).


1. A wind proof jacket 

If you’ve never been on a safari before, you probably don’t assume you’d need one. Still, most game drives start around 4.30-5am and most likely you’re going in an open vehicle, which means the wind would be quite strong and cold. The temperature will start going up after sunrise, so layering is the best option.

2. Sunscreen 

Once the sun has risen, you would need to use sunblock. A typical safari would last for a few hours after sunrise, so make sure you don’t get sunburned.

3. A hat/ cap

I’m a fan of the Indiana Jones type of hats as they are also very good for the walking safaris, as they can protect you from the thorny bushes/trees. But even for a game drive you would need one, as you’re going to stop on the way for breakfast/lunch and also because there’s not always shade in the open vehicles on the game drives. A baseball cap is fine too.

4. Binoculars 

Many of the animals would be in the distance, especially the shy ones like leopard, cheetah and serval. It’s always useful to have binoculars with you and it would definitely help to find more animals.
A photography tip: if you’re taking pictures with your phone camera, put the binoculars in front of the lens and it would help you zoom in and take a close-up picture of an animal in the distance 🙂 

Here’s an example from Mr. Jonas

5. Water/ coffee/ tea
Preferably in a thermos.
6. Khaki is the best color for your safari outfit, but it’s not the only option.
Okay, here’s picture of me and our ranger-tracker-driver-genius Jonas. You could wear whatever you feel like, but I guess  it’s more fun to dress in safari style 🙂

This really depends on the area though. In countries where the tsetse fly is a problem, definitely stick to the classic khaki/ beige colors. 

Wearing white is not a good idea as it’s too bright and it might scare the animals away. The same rule applies for any flashy and bright colors.

My advice would be to stick to the earth colors.

7. A good camera
If you’re planning to buy a camera for your safari adventure, make sure you choose one with a great zoom.

8. Repellent 
As they say, the deadliest animal in Africa is the mosquito.Again, that really depends on the country – for example there’s almost no malaria in South Africa, except in Kruger Park.

9. A nice backpack
The best way to keep you wallet, binoculars, phones, cameras, sunscreen etc. in one place, otherwise you might forget something in the car.
10. A map or a book of the area.
They’re very useful. Many of them will tell you what is the likelihood of finding lions or elephants (or whatever other animal you want to see) in a certain area. You definitely need one of the if you’re planning a self-drive