What I Learned on My First Safari in South Africa

As I reflect back on 2016, there is one adventure that really stands out from the rest. Going on my first ever safari was the best experience I had all year. Seeing wildlife upfront and personal was like nothing I’d ever done before. If you have not yet experienced a safari for yourself, I HIGHLY recommend you make plans to get yourself to Africa and go on one!

When you go, you’ll fall in love with Africa’s wildlife and learn all about the Big Five. Also, you’ll get an inside look into poaching and wildlife conservation efforts. Last but not least, I learned how important it is to have a good guide on your safari. The 12 hour long safari would not have been the same without my VERY knowledgeable and hilarious guide.

Africa’s Big Five Game

sa_bank_note_2012_specimen_imageBig Five game is made up of the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. When you arrive in Africa, your goal becomes trying to see all 5! At least, that’s what I decided my goal was 🙂 Unfortunately, I did not see the African leopard because it is the hardest to capture! However, I did manage to see the other four. According to Wikipedia, “the members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved. The big five are among the most dangerous, yet most popular species for big-game hunters to hunt.

All of these species can be found on South African currency which has each animal on each denomination. I know what you’re wondering, which animal got the largest bill? See the image on the left, the Leopard is the hardest to find and is on the 200! On the other side, Nelson Mandela of course.

Poaching and Conservation Efforts

Spending time in Africa will give you an inside look into the realities of poaching. At the rate it is going many African wildlife won’t be around much longer. Kruger National Park has suffered a massive loss in rhino’s from poaching in the last several years. In fact, according to Save the Rhino, over seven thousand rhino’s have been lost due to poaching overall. Did you know the mountain gorilla and black rhino are on the Critically Endangered list? This means they could be gone in our lifetime. Zebras, lions and my favorite animal (elephants) are also on the Endangered list.

Thankfully, the African Wildlife Foundation continues to make efforts in protecting wildlife, conserving land, and educating the public. If you’re reading this and would like to help you can donate by clicking here. Overall, numerous non-profit organizations are dedicated to protecting wild plant and animal species and their habitats.

My First Safari with Schotia Safaris

South Africa is one of the countries where all Big Five can be found. I went on a 12 hour safari at the Schotia Safaris Private Game Reserve which is located just outside of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I was staying in Port Elizabeth and had heard good things via my accommodations.  The morning of the safari we also went to Addo Elephant National Park where we kick started the BEST DAY EVER! We saw zebras, antelopes, giraffes, and I’m going to be honest with you – some animals I’ve never heard of or seen before. Mainly, I never knew there are so many variations of antelope! On my way to the safari, I blasted “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King and of course “Africa” by Toto. This is a must do, obviously.

The best part about the entire day was our guide, Christo. He was friendly, funny and very knowledgeable. I don’t think our group would have had as much fun as we did if it weren’t for him. If you’re going to Port Elizabeth, definitely look this game reserve up and ask for Christo to be your guide (this safari was not sponsored by the way).

Please note the pictures shared below are from the safari I went on and taken by my friend Martin Haylett. Thanks for the pictures, Martin!

Safari Image Gallery


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