Safari in South Africa

Going on safari was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives!!! It almost makes Deena want to cry just thinking about it. There were times we were terrified (not Cody, though – he wants to make sure people know he wasn’t terrified) because the animals were so close to us. Seriously, incredible. We would do it again in a heartbeat and urge everyone to do it if possible.

After searching for the right place, we finally found Umzolozolo Private Safari Lodge on the Nambiti Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal through this website. After our awesome driver, Ian, picked us up from the Johannesburg airport, we drove for about four hours to get to the reserve. We were welcomed by a few kudus near the entrance, which was the perfect start to our visit.

The affordable five-star lodge treated us like royalty from the moment we arrived to the moment we left. Our gorgeous room and outdoor shower overlooked a huge valley where we could see giraffes and other animals walking through it.

This guy was right outside of our room!

Here is what each day at Umzolozolo looked like:

  • Meet the ranger and other guests in the lobby at 5:15 AM for coffee and delicious rusks (similar to a biscotti, but better)
  • Leave for the first drive of the day at 5:30 AM in a 4×4 open Land Rover and snap a few pictures of incredible African wildlife, like this:

  • Stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere for a quick breakfast snack that your ranger brings. We had delicious homemade muffins, coffee (with amaretto!), and chats with other guests and our super cool ranger, Rheinhart Rheinhard Rheinhardt, however his name is spelled!

We took the picture below right before our ranger told us that he once had to gather everyone back into the Land Rover quickly, leaving all the muffins, coffee, foldable table, etc. behind because he saw a lion headed for them.

  • Next, watch curious giraffes peak their heads over small trees 30 feet away while drinking your coffee. Also keep a lookout for lions, rhinos, or other possibly (most likely) dangerous animals so they don’t sneak up on you while you’re out of the vehicle

  • Continue the drive while scanning for anything that moves – elephants, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, leopards, hippos, buffalo, as well as the plentiful wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, impalas, kudus, warthogs, beautiful birds, and more.

We recommend taking a good camera (we wish we had brought a better camera on this trip)! Here are a few pictures we took on our iPhones:

Interesting facts about black and white rhinos:

  1. They both look very similar except the black rhino has a pointy mouth and the white rhino has a wide, flatter mouth.
  2. The reserve cuts white rhinos’ horns down regularly because it prevents poachers from killing them either accidentally (cutting it too far down, which can make them bleed out), or on purpose (because it’s sometimes just easier for the poachers to kill, then take their horn). So, so sad. But, by cutting their horns regularly, poachers have nothing to poach!
  3. Anti-poachers are allowed to shoot a poacher on the spot if they catch one.
  4. Black rhinos don’t get their horns cut by the reserve because they eat fruit, twigs, etc. and need it for pushing through stiff bushes. These guys get extra looked after by the anti-poachers. White rhinos just graze on grass, so they don’t need their horns as much.

Just look at those beautiful wide and pointy mouths!

  • Get back to the lodge around 8:30 for a hot breakfast
  • Hang out at the infinity pool overlooking a valley filled with giraffes, take a nap, or do whatever you want until lunchtime
  • After a light lunch, head out for the second three-hour game drive of the day, with some biltong and a sundowner drink this time instead of coffee and muffins… maybe a gin and tonic (or a double)?
  • A four-course dinner is served back at the lodge inside or outside around a fire pit

  • Walk back to your room with one of the rangers because there could be lions waiting for you in the dark… seriously. This happened a week before we got there.
  • Have a little sherry in the room before going to bed and rest up for the next day!

If you would like to see more of our African safari, check out these videos!

Hope you enjoyed our post!

With lots of love,

Deena & Cody

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