10 Photos That Will Make You Get on the Next Nonstop Flight to South Africa

Before boarding my 15-hour flight to South Africa I knew this trip was going to be amazing but amazing doesn’t even begin to fully describe it.

When you think of Africa you probably think safari.  I know I did!  So, we began our trip by spending a few days at the Karongwe Private Game Reserve and to be honest I could have stayed there forever.  I thought the early morning wake up calls would be a hurdle but driving through the reserve as the sun rises over the mountains with fresh air blowing through my hair as we raced to find a surprisingly elusive herd of African elephants made the lack of sleep worth it.

Now, there are plenty of reserves in the area, but we chose to stay on a private reserve. Our main reasoning was that, unlike at the public reserves, we could stay in a lodge within the reserve and during game drives off road when appropriate.  At Karongwe, we were even able to jump off the truck and walk around in search of The Big 5 and other wildlife.  Because of this, I had an experience that I never thought I would be lucky enough to have.  Our guide, Jo, told us to hop out of the jeep and follow him into the bush.  In my mind he was leading us to see animal tracks but, let me tell you, I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.  When he stopped, and I took a second to look ahead, I was greeted by 3 cheetahs lounging in the shade enjoying their Sunday.  Fortunately for us the cheetahs in this reserve have been conditioned to not see people as a threat or, more importantly, food.  So, they didn’t pay us any mind as we gawked at them from 15 feet away (not all cheetahs will react this way so unless you are being led by an experienced guide do not approach wild animals).  I could go on and on about those incredible few days, but I’ll leave the rest to be discovered by you during your first game drive.

While our time spent among the incredible wildlife of the reserve was a huge highlight of the trip, I was surprised at how much South Africa has to offer.  For example, when driving along the Panorama Route we were greeted by the largest “green canyon” in the world.  Think the Grand Canyon but with lush subtropical foliage covering the red sandstone.  The contrasting colors combined with the sheer vastness rightfully earns Blyde River Canyon the title as one of the great wonders of nature in Africa.  Then, when we ventured to the other side of the country and stayed in Cape Town we were only a day trip away from many other incredible spots. To name a few, we visited the most beautiful garden in Africa, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and saw penguins.  Yes, I said penguins!  We ended our trip by visiting a colony residing in Boulders Beach, which is the only place in the world where you can get that close to African Penguins.

All in all, South Africa is full of rich history, vast landscapes, unimaginable wildlife, and so much more.  It’s the perfect destination for the adventurous and this adventurer is already impatiently waiting to return.

Have you had your own unexpected experiences while in South Africa?  Let us know in the comments!

Cape Town & Table Mountain
Karongwe Private Game Reserve at Sunrise
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Cheetahs in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve
African Elephants in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Zebras in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve
Blyde River Canyon
Lisbon Falls
Penguins at Boulders Beach

Do you know an outdoor community whose members would love an adventurous trip to South Africa?

Olivia McShea



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