Our trip was wonderful. We enjoyed stays at two great safari lodges in the Greater Kruger Park, where we were treated like visiting dignitaries well-loved by the staff and saw spectacular game on drives twice each day. Our travel agency made all the arrangements, and everything worked like a charm. I had to make one phone call to our agent when we needed clarity about transfer from the lodge, and she took care of everything with no further ado. Otherwise, everything went off without a hitch.
It is hard to choose from so many memorable things in our trip. Among them, surely, is seeing in Sabi Sands the extremely endangered and rare wild dogs tracking an impala and then moments later with the kill. In the same area, we saw a beautiful three-year old leopard in a tree with his kill and stayed long enough to see him climb down the tree and take up his guard post on an abandoned termitarium. We also saw from a distance of about four meters a pride of lions at a buffalo kill fight with and chase away an intruding lion from another pride, leaving three cubs in extreme danger from the remaining males who were prevented from killing the cubs by the timely arrival of their mother. Incredible! Also memorable was encountering a herd of buffalo while on a walk in the bush and being able to watch them until they sighted us and fled. We also experienced a huge bull elephant approach our vehicle to within half a meter and extend his trunk to investigate until he almost touched me and then snorted his contempt and moved on. Unforgettable! We also enjoyed meeting people from around the globe, as well as the profound relaxation inspired by the peace and quiet of the bush and the great hospitality of the lodges.
Our room at Arathusa did not have a good view of the waterhole, obscured by the tiki hut where lunch was served, so I would make sure I requested a room with no obstruction of the view. The other thing I might do differently is either insist on going to the lodge in the Timbavati before the one in Sabi Sands or else make the second lodge also in the Sabi Sands (though a different section than the first one). While the wildlife we saw at Motswari was wonderful, it was not quite up to the extraordinary level that we experienced at Arathusa. There seemed to be a significantly lower concentration of animals there (so that we had several drives with almost no sightings, whereas at Arathusa, we had multiple sightings on virtually every drive). Also for whatever reason, it seemed at Arathusa we almost always managed to get very close to the animals and in the best situation for superb photos (while at Motswari we often saw an animal from a great distance or obscured by vegetation or both). On the other hand, it was a stirring and memorable experience at Motswari to come upon a huge elephant eating just outside our room and trumpeting at us before lumbering away. I'm not sure I would forego Motswari, perhaps just experience it first, so the slower pace is not a let-down.
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