Our African Safari: A Brief Teaser

It is well after 9pm here in Johannesburg, and we have returned this afternoon from the Timbavati region of Kruger Park in Mpumalanga province, South Africa, where we have spent an intense four days in the wilds of Africa, seeing, hearing, experiencing and photographing the amazing wildlife which inhabits the area.

Tonight we experienced an emotional release, as the gravity of the past four days, and what we experienced, dawned upon us in the post-safari hours we have spent back in civilisation, where the sights, sounds and smell of the bush, leopards, lions and many other animals we saw, was replaced with the urbanisation of Johannesburg and the shocking realisation that it is all over — for now, at least.

We are physically and emotionally wrecked, and I managed to injure my ankle during this morning's game drive, which has made this evening more difficult than it already was.  It is swollen and painful, and walking is a challenge.

I have not had a chance to post stories of our adventures, as we have been in the wilderness; and while the awesome Motswari Private Game Reserve, where we stayed, has Internet access, it has been incredibly slow, to the point where it was mostly unusable.  For the rest of our time there, we have been out chasing leopards, lions and other amazing wildlife.

Given the emotional state and utter exhaustion, I shall not give a detailed run-down of what we have experienced, but here are some of the many images I captured during the past four days.

Firstly, this is our luxurious, African bungalo at Motswari Private Game Reserve:

Image: Duiker Bungalow at Motswari Private Game Reserve

Duiker Bungalow at Motswari Private Game Reserve

After checking in and enjoying an African lunch, complete with shiver-inducing African music sung by the staff at Motswari, we headed out for our first game drive, where, unbeknownst to us, an awesome sight awaited.

This is Makepisi, a male leopard we encountered during our first night in the Timbavati:

Image: Portrait of Makepisi

Portrait of Makepisi

Makepisi was less than ten metres from us, and was happy to sit there while we were engrossed in the awe of his presence.

The experience of encountering a wild leopard is something that cannot be adequately described.  We were in his territory, on his terms, with not a cage or zoo keeper in sight.  He is the real deal: wild, untamed, stunning, in his element, and right in front of us!

After spending twilight with Makepisi, we headed off, and stopped for a sundowner, where I photographed this beautiful sky on the African savannah, post-sunset:

Image: Timbavati Sunset

Timbavati Sunset

That was just the first day — actually, a half-day.  I have a few more images on my gallery, taken during subsequent game drives; but for now, I will close off this update with the images above.

There is more to come, and when I have time and energy, I will provide a much more detailed insight into what we experienced, complete with images I am immensely proud to have captured, experienced in the company of some awesome people who made it all possible.

Tomorrow we are off to Cape Town, where new adventures and experiences await us.

Africa affected me, and continues to do so, in a way I could not have predicted.

More to come.  Time for some rest.

Published on Monday, 8th October, 2012.