Blending it all in South Africa! (Part 2/2)

Welcome back and thanks for reading the second part! ๐Ÿ™‚ (link to first part)

So, we took a flight to Nelspruit, which has one the main airports servicing travelers to Kruger National Park. You might have noticed that I haven’t really mentioned the accommodation in my previous travel posts, the reason has been that I find it personal. Everyone has his or her own needs, wants, budget and wishes when it comes to it.

Most importantly, I don’t really feel the need to promote it, as it doesn’t always have to add to the experience of a place itself. However, our personal choice (for the ones wondering): we prefer to goย for properties of five star ratings as we love to enjoy the various services and amenities provided by the accommodations, too.

Moreover, we take the location into consideration. Of course, it depends on what kind of a holiday it is. If it’s visiting a city, we stay in the city centre; if it’s a resort-beachy holiday, we of course prefer an all-inclusive luxurious kind of a stay; and so on…

Why I am sayingย this, and sharing the accommodation for this post, is because the property you choose in the Kruger National Park plays a huge role in the entire experience you get when visiting this place. Meaning, our experience was very much definedย by our choice of accommodation, unlike many other places on planet Earth ๐Ÿ™‚ (read on to get to know the reasons)

But first: WELCOMEย to Kruger National Park!

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Get ready for Africa’s wildlife!

Kruger has been a very different experience. We got to spend some great time in the reserve with the so called BIG FIVE and many more animals. Seeing the Big Five during your visit certainly provides a sense of fulfillment!

Which animals am I talking about?

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The Big Five!

I am talking about: the African Elephant, Leopard, Cape Buffalo, Lion and Rhinoceros!

Let’s get right into it to see if we saw the Big Five during our stay ๐Ÿ™‚

As soon as we arrived at the andBeyond Luxury Exeter River Lodge at the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, we were very warmly welcomed withย a variety of drinks and some snacks. Afterwards, we got a quick tour of the place, our private lodge and all the services around it. Once freshened-up, we went to the main ‘hall’ overlooking the river and jungle!

And, asย me and my husband were talking about the wonderful services and food while sitting at the lunch table all by ourselves- guess who welcomed us in its own style:

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Mr. Monkey!

Yes, this little monkey ‘welcomed’ me byย helping me eat my tasty food – lol! What happened was, me and my husband were enjoying our lunch and from a distance we saw this monkey walking towards us. Of course, we thought he won’t dare to come very close, but we were WRONG! He started running and jumped on the table grabbed a piece of bread and sat on a table next to us…

Before we could realize what just happened, this monkey again came to our table and, super fast, started eating some of the leftover veggies and anythingย he could grab.

We were stunned and, not quite knowing what to do, went searching for help. Our server came running to our table and Mr. Monkey ran away! He told us that they aren’t scared of the visitors, but once they see the workers (who they recognize) they run away.

This was our first Kruger-like crazy experience, and now we can laugh so much whenever we think back ๐Ÿ™‚

We were about to experience our first ever Africanย Safari. See what we witnessed!

This afternoon/evening safari we saw a lot of the African Elephant, our first animal out of the Big Five and I instantly fell in love with them. They are sooooo cute, especially the little ones. They play around, eat all day long and I could watch them for hours and hours…

We also saw:

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Giraffe!

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Another one from close by!

We ended this safari with a beautiful Lion King-like sunset ๐Ÿ™‚ haha.

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Sun is setting!

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Jungle surrounding!

It was very nice to see the teamwork of both Ranger and Tracker. The Ranger is the one driving you through the jungle in a open jeep and the Tracker, now and then gets down to see if he can track footprints of animals. Also, he is connected with other trackers, as they tell each other when an animal is found!

This happened when the second animal out of the Big Five was spotted – nothing less than:

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LEOPARD!

Yes, yes Leopard – a wild Leopard – how exciting is that, and he is looking right into the camera! You must be wondering, why is his tummy so round – it’s because of:

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Leopard did it!

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One more picture of this beauty.

We also wanted to experience an early-morning safari, that is during sunrise. Yes, we had to wake up early, but isn’t it worth it…

Moreover, the fresh morning breeze, singing birds, some of the Lion King members and Mr. Leopard saving his food on the tree for lunch already!

All of us think that the lion is the KING of the jungle, but what we experienced was slightly different. This group of lions and lionesses were HIDING, yes hiding, when the group of elephants arrived – this was HILARIOUS! ๐Ÿ™‚ And together with that we saw the third animal (LION) out of the Big Five – hahaaa going good. We were also witness of a super rare activity by the lion and lioness – and some fun pictures – such as bumpy touch pose by two lions! (The pictures below aren’t zoomed in, we were really that close to them)

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Isn’t it hilarious?!ย ‘King’ of the jungle hiding, lol!

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Moment of love! And the best part was that the sky was FULL of stars – it was beautiful – I have never seen sooooo many stars in the sky!

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Bumpy touch, water drinking time ๐Ÿ™‚ haha

At this point, we have already seen three out of the Big Five animals, right? Let’s continue. Oh, before we continue I want to show you how elephants have fun in the water while having aย bath.

The fourth and fifth out of the Big Five weren’tย hard to find! Yes, we saw all five and this really has to do with: 1. the location of your accommodation in Kruger National Park – our’s was the Sabi Sand Game Reserve; and 2. the efforts the ranger and tracker puts in for you to drive and find you the animals! Those are benefitsย of staying atย a good, actually a very good, accommodation that offers you everything,ย and makes your stay worth it and full of magical moments!

For these reasons we chose to stay with the Luxury African Safari Lodge, namely andBeyond Luxury Travels! ๐Ÿ™‚

Beside putting in the effort to make our stay beautiful, their location is ideal as they are located at the river, which is where animals come for a drink! This means, you can see the animals while having breakfast, lunch and even dinner – of course, it’s a little harder at dinner as there are no artificial lights in the jungle – lol!

Moreover, for obvious security reasons, there are no restaurants in the middle of the reserve,ย so you are very much bound to what your accommodation itself has to offer. Guess what: the food was AMAZING! My experience was such that I even started enjoyingย eating lamb, whereas I have been a person who isn’t a meat-eater at all. I relished! The chef was very flexible, super sweet and made unbelievably tasty food. I wanted to takeย him with me, to cook for me every day for the rest of my life – haha!

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‘ I am the Magic ingredient ‘ย 

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Fourth and Fifth animals out of the Big Five! Cape Buffalo in the water and the Rhinoceros spotted together ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

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And as a bonus also a baby Rhinoceros ๐Ÿ™‚ Way to adorable!ย 

Furthermore, whileย in our river-facing lodge, we got to see many animals from close by, too. It was great to see wildlife all around you, for example, when sun-bathing, swimming, or just when enjoying the view from the room…

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Hi, Elephant!ย 

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* heart – eyes *

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Mr. Monkey is back – now u want to take dip too?

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Bambi, while lunching ๐Ÿ™‚

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Front view ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you enjoyed reading both parts of Blending it all in South Africa!
Let me know what you think of it, by commenting below of giving the posts a LIKE ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have any questions, please share.

Have you been to South Africa? Do you want to share your story? I am always happy to read how others experience the same place. You can mail your story to me at lifestylebyaa@hotmail.com or just comment below.

Thanks a ton for visiting!

Love, Ankita xx

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