It takes a while to develop ‘bush eyes’ and spot wildlife.
If you’re looking for a Big Five safari experience in South Africa you can go to almost any province in South Africa, but the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces remains an iconic tourism drawcard.
The Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) abound in the park, and you see them by self-drive, guided drives or guided walks through the bushveld.
But remember, you are not in the middle of a National Geographic documentary. You may well see all Big Five, you may well not, although your chances are high. Drive slowly, stop at waterholes, listen for the warning calls of birds, watch when other vehicles stop, and always keep your eyes open.
Prepare to be awed. To see a leopard dozing in the bough of a tree, spotting a black rhino half-hidden in thick shrubs, finding a pride of lions in the shade after a kill, or watching a large herd of elephants or Cape buffalo move soundlessly across the road – these are all priceless moments.
Always remember that you’re dealing with wild animals, and that you’re in their territory. There are rules of engagement relating to Big Five safaris in South Africa. Read your guidebook carefully and heed the words of your ranger at all times.
Accommodation for Big Five safaris in Mpumalanga are either within the Kruger National Park or on the neighbouring private reserves such as Sabi Sand (which has the highest density of leopards in the world), Timbavati and Klaserie. Some lodges pride themselves on showing the Big Five to guests in record time, and you’ll even walk away with a certificate.
Once you’ve done Big Five activities in Mpumalanga, it’s time to ‘sweat the small stuff’ and learn about wondrous creatures like the dung beetle…