Ahhh, The Bush. If I could bare to live away from the sea I would live in the Bush. I feel at home there and could look at the animals for hours. I love it all. From the tiniest insect to the African elephant. I want to see and know all about them. We haven’t been to the Kruger for about 4 years and this trip reignited my passion and curiosity about the bush. To me, this is what makes Africa Africa…if that makes sense. BUT in saying all of this wow did this trip test our little family. 40 degree heat in a safari tent with no aircon just a fan moving hot air around the tent can make anyone irritable. I have to confess, I caved. I imagined my kids running around and exploring, looking in the trees and under rocks my little adventurers, the truth…’here’s the iPad, go watch a movie!’ It was too hot to move and while Duncs was braaing in the heat of the day and I was trying to get a salad going the heat got the better of me and I caved…Not proud, but true! But seriously, bless them, they were moved from their beds at 4.30am every morning to be the first at the camp gates and Braden made us swear to him before he went to bed that we would wake him up if we saw anything exciting! He did not want to miss a thing. We spent at least 6 hours every morning in the car and I would reluctantly agree to go back to camp, because I am mad and could spend all day in the car so I don’t miss anything even though the smart and rational part of me knows that no animal in its right mind would be moving around in that heat! Even the impala were scarce some days!
After our long drives we went back to our camps and immersed ourselves in the cool water of the camp pools. The great thing about that dry heat is the pool refreshes you completely. But you’re not out for 5 minutes and you’re completely dry and need to jump in again. Braden and Sienna loved the pools at all the camps and I am so grateful for them. They got rid of so much energy. We made whirlpools as you do, saved all the bugs that fell in to the water and watched the birdlife around the pools edge and stayed cool at the same time. Such a bonus!
I’m no wildlife photographer but after this I wish I were. Although trying to be a photographer and a birdwatcher with a two year old in the car is a challenge. Some of her favourite games were playing peek a boo from the other side of the binocs and grabbing the straps of the camera while trying to take photos. Somedays I just gave up, which isn’t a bad thing. Being a photographer you sometimes forget to just sit and be in the moment. In the pic of Sienna and my husband, Duncan, below, Sienna is pretending to be a doctor with the head torch and looking in his ears, nose and mouth. This is while we are parked on the road waiting for a cheetah to move into the open. Not surprisingly, it didn’t. It stayed in the shade of the tree and just lay there. As the cats do!
Final little story is of the leopard and his kill in the tree. We stayed at Tamboti camp and this leopard had about 2 or 3 kills in the tree on the road to and from our camp. BONUS! Our first three days we saw this guy everyday. This particular photo is of the leopard as he is taking his kill up the tree. Honestly, when I saw Braden’s face I wish I had taken a photo of him rather than of the leopard, I know it’s far away but this is the best my portrait lens would do, so wish I hired a big lens for this trip. Anyway, back to Braden. His face and eyes lit up like nothing I had ever seen. I was so proud that he had that reaction, it was joy , excitement, disbelief, my heart melted. Ah man. Just writing about it makes me want to cry. Love that boy!
And now for the pics, I hope you enjoy my picture story of our first of many family trips to the Kruger. I’m hoping I haven’t put my kids off for life…We’ve already booked for next year!