Friday, May 25, 2012

Safari in the Kalahari

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to go on a safari.  I LOVE animals, and what could be better than seeing exotic African animals in their natural habitat?  A few weeks ago, I got the chance to do just that!  Our last AIFS excursion was to the Kalahari desert, and I think it was my favorite one yet!!  Thursday night a hugeee overland truck came to pick us up, and we spent the night driving through South Africa, to get to the part that borders Botswana and Namibia.  When we finally arrived, it was Friday morning.  Keith, our awesome trip leader, had our tents set up when we got there, so we just had to move into those.  A couple hours later we went on a walk through the area with two San people (the PC term for “Bushmen”).  They led us through their bush home, showing us which plants were used for what purposes, and telling stories about their lives and people.  The anthropology major in me loved learning that they were still so in tune to their culture.  They still send teenagers into the wild for a short time to learn how to fend for themselves and live in the ways of their ancestors. 
Spent a lotttt of time in this truck.

Healing Tree, with bags of medicine reserved for elders over 60 years.

Wild melon, tasted like honeydew! 

The next morning we woke up early early early to go on our GAME DRIVE!  It was so cool seeing the sun rise as we drove to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which is in both South Africa and Botswana.  Our safari was AWESOME.  We saw SO MUCH.  Tons of springbok, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, red hartebeest, steenbok, ostriches, etc.  We saw giraffes which were absolutely beautiful.  We also saw a jackal eating a gemsbok, which I thought was really cool.  On the topic of the circle of life, we saw CHEETAHS KILL AND EAT A SPRINGBOK.  We missed the actual kill, but we did see them finish the job and drag it over to their picnic spot by some trees.  SO COOL.  Finally, we saw a LEOPARD.  Our guide Keith has been in the park over 20 times, usually going on multiple days of game drives each time, and this was only the second time he saw a leopard!  We were so luckyyy.  We tried to find a lion, but we didn’t see any.  It was alright though, because otherwise it would have felt a bit too staged.  After the safari we headed back to camp, and in true South African fashion had a fabulous braai!

Cheetah finishing off a springbok.

Cheetahs eating springbok.


So sweet!

Jackal eating a gemsbok

Gemsbok and springbok

South Africa's national animal looking fly.

Real life Lion King - this is Zazu!

On the third day we had a boat cruise down the Orange River, which is the longest river in South Africa!  We headed to our campsite in yet another national park, and after pitching our tents in record time took a walk over to Augrabies Falls for sundowners.  The falls were beautiful, and African sunsets always make me even more thankful to be in this beautiful place.  However, the highlight was probably Corie dropping one of her crutches down the falls.  Hilarious.
Boat cruise down the Orange River!

Beautiful falls, the Namibian border is in the background!

Africa <3

The next morning the guys woke me up early and we watched the sun rise over the falls.  It was so peaceful and absolutely beautiful.  There's something so incredible about starting the day with the rising sun.  After, we headed back to camp which was overun with monkeys.  Yup.  Then, we went WHITE WATER RAFTING down the Orange River!  So sick!  I’ve been white water kayaking with the SMC Wilderness Program, but never rafting. We were all picturing the typical rafts with a bunch of people and a guide, but it turned out to be two person rafts, which was really cool (and also terrifying because we were completely in control of ourselves).  I was with Corie and we had a blast navigating down the rapids.  We capsized at one point, which was so much fun!  This was one of the best things I’ve done here so far!!

Good Morning, Africa!

Finally we packed up camp for the last time and headed back home to Stellies.  It was an awesome weekend spent with amazing friends, and I’ll always remember it!


  1. This sounds perfect, everyting you always wanted. The pictures are gorgeous! So many amazing memories. xo

  2. Absolutely amazing! The Giraffes are my favorite! xooxoxo