Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa


At sunset in the Mala Mala Game Reserve

A safari sunset

Finally, the long-awaited safari blog post is here!  Admittedly, we are a few  weeks beyond our safari now, but it has been so hard to put our week at the Mala Mala Game Reserve into words and to cull through the thousands of photographs we took.  As anticipated, our safari was a major highlight of the trip and the perfect culmination to our 5 weeks on the African continent.  The six days flew by too quickly, and all of us agreed that we could have stayed a great deal longer, never tiring of the landscape’s beauty and the thrill of animal sightings. Without a doubt, our family will forever treasure the memories from this week.

Our adventures began even before we arrived at Mala Mala.  From Cape Town, we flew to South Africa’s capital city, Johannesburg, and spent a night there before catching our “light aircraft” flight to the safari lodge. By light aircraft, they mean a plane that seats shockingly few people and accommodates soft, small duffel bags only… one might best describe our particular light aircraft as something you might put together with  model glue and duct tape on Christmas morning.  It had a single propellor on its small nose, and was flown by two pilots whose combined age was maybe 35 years. 

 

With our pilot, ready to head on safari

With our pilot, ready to head on safari

The 1.5 hour flight into Mala Mala was spectacular, with stunning views of the African landscape below.

From the airplane window

From the airplane window

Everyone was relaxed and enjoying themselves.

Front row seats!

Front row seats!

Taking relaxed to a whole new level

Taking relaxed to a whole new level

 Just as Blair was beginning to think things could not be going any better, we began our descent.  Because of the intense heat coming up from the ground the ride became increasingly bumpy, until we all felt as though we were living in a blender.  Schuyler turned green in the seat in front of me and without warning began to projectile vomit all over the back of the pilot’s seat.  Thayer, strapped in right next to Schuyler, began to scream at the top of her lungs and twisted her body as far away from the volcanic vomit as she could, landing her in the aisle but still trapped by her seatbelt.  Zoe, who conveniently has a morbid fear of vomit and was sitting right next to Thayer, smashed herself against her window and entered a catatonic state of paralyzing horror.  Within seconds, Thayer was extricated from her seatbelt and, still screaming, was passed back to Jeff over the cramped laps like a crowd surfer at a rock concert.  Blair was then able to crawl up next to a wailing Schuyler and begin to mop the pools of vomit off of her lap and face, hair, seat, shoes, etc with her bare hands for lack of any other suitable cleaning options.  And in the midst of all of this, the teen-aged pilots touched the plane down on the Mala Mala airstrip.  Welcome to our safari!!!

Smelly and shell-shocked, we were warmly greeted by our Safari ranger for the week, Jonathan Short, who spent almost every waking minute with us while we experienced Mala Mala. Jonathan piled our luggage into the open-air jeep that was to be our game viewing vehicle. The girls were immediately thrilled by the sense of adventure as we sped away to the lodge and found a shower and some lunch for those who could stomach it.

On the jeep with Jonathan

On the jeep with Jonathan

A TYPICAL DAY ON SAFARI….

We thought it might easiest to first share a sample of a typical day while on safari.  You’ll get a sense of the rhythm that we quickly fell into, and the general pace of each day.  Photographs and stories of our incredible game viewing will come next, followed by some of our most special moments from the week. 

5:30am: We wake and stumble out of bed to meet Jonathan at 6:00am for coffee/hot chocolate and some fruit or muffins.  We have our backpacks filled with cameras, binoculars, snacks, water, sunblock, and a warm layer of clothing for the early morning hours.  By about 7:30am it will probably be close to 80 degrees, so we won’t be cool for long!  Thayer is always the most eager member of the family at this time of day, and often was out the door and meeting up with Jonathan before the rest of us had brushed our teeth.  Of course, she probably didn’t bother brushing her teeth, so she did have a head start. 

Thayer in her Mala Mala gear

Thayer in her Mala Mala gear

Jonathan makes Thayer her morning hot chocolate

Jonathan makes Thayer her morning hot chocolate

Jonathan greeted us each morning with: “Are you ready to see the BIG FIVE?”  This term, “the Big 5,” is a commonly used phrase at safari lodges referring to the five most dangerous animals for humans to hunt:  LION, LEOPARD, RHINO, ELEPHANT, and CAPE BUFFALO.  Seeing the Big 5 is a goal for all safari-goers, and at Mala Mala we had no problem accomplishing this almost on a daily basis.

When we are all conscious and Blair and Jeff have gulped down enough coffee to enable them to function, we hop in the jeep and off we go!  

Thayer rides shotgun as often as possible

Thayer rides shotgun as often as possible

We spend about three hours in the jeep on the morning game drive. A three-hour drive at home is considered a significant (likely boring) road trip.  A three-hour game drive at Mala Mala is more like an amusement park ride combined with the best game of I-Spy we’ve ever played. Jonathan thrilled us with bumpy rides both on and off the roads.  Off-roading is an exciting way to track animals in the bush, because these jeeps can literally climb impossibly steep riverbanks, cross through knee-deep waters, and run down trees in order to find the animals.  Environmentalists worry not — Jonathan only runs over the trees that pop back up again after a day or two.  Here are some photos of life in the safari vehicle throughout the week. 

Hanging in the back (kids in front!)

Hanging in the back (kids in front!)

The rides could get pretty wild...

The rides could get pretty wild…

Hold on!

Hold on!

Isn't this the BEST?

Isn’t this the BEST?

We we should chill out for a minute

We should chill out for a minute

Lovely lady in front

Lovely lady in front

If only our time in the car back at home could be this entertaining! 

10:00am:  We are back at the Lodge, dusty and exhilarated.  Breakfast is served, a huge spread of delicious foods, fruits, pastries, and fresh cold juices.  Blair and Jeff load up on the coffee and we all gorge ourselves.

Ready to dig into breakfast

Ready to dig in!

10:30am-1:30pm:  Free time!  During this three-hour window, we often sleep (napping is essential in the safari schedule), play a game of cards, write in our journals, or look through the photographs from the morning.  There is a pool at the Lodge and a small gym, so Blair and Jeff can get some exercise and we can all cool off with a swim.  Because there are no fences at the Mala Mala Lodge, elephant and smaller game like gazelle and water buck can roam the grass and wander right up to where we are lounging!  We feel as though we are on safari even when hanging out at the homestead.

View from our room

View from our room

The outside of our safari abode

The outside of our safari abode

Working on our journals in the room

Working on our journals in the room

Cuddling before a nap

Cuddling before a nap

1:30pm:  Lunch time!  It’s hard to believe we are eating again, but we have no trouble turning away the amazing lunch spread.  After lunch we have a couple more hours of free time before our 4:30 game drive.  Again, sleep, swim, games, relaxing…. It’s a pretty awesome existence.

Eating, again!

Enjoying yet another delicious meal

Playing a game of Five Crowns (thank you Rolfe family!)

Playing a game of Five Crowns (thank you Rolfe family!)

THAYER: I taught Jonathan how to play Spot-It. I could NOT BELIEVE it when he beat me the first time we played.  Grown-ups never beat me at Spot-It because my eyes are closer to the cards.  Mom told me that Jonathan is 22 years old which does not make him a grown-up at cards, and also he is a safari guide so he is good at spotting things.  After I lost the first game, I practiced against Mom and Dad.  Then I went back and beat Jonathan before dinner.  And again the next day.  We laughed a lot when we played together! 

Thayer and Jonathan, very competitive game of spot-it

Thayer and Jonathan during a very competitive game of spot-it

Heading home for a rest before the evening adventure

Heading home for a rest before the evening adventure

4:30pm:  Safari time! We meet up with Jonathan for our evening game drive.  We are dressed for the heat, but bring extra clothes because we will stay out through sunset and arrive back to the lodge in the dark. 

Racing back to begin the afternoon game drive!

Racing back to begin an afternoon game drive!

Enjoying a quick cup of tea and snack before we head out

Enjoying a quick cup of tea and snack before we head out

Piling into the jeep for the second ride of the day

Fighting for the best spot in the jeep for the evening ride

Evening drives are so exciting because you get to see the animals become active again after the heat of the day subsides, as well as the nocturnal animals that we don’t see on the morning drives.  Jonathan carries a huge flashlight or “torch” as he calls it, and uses it to sweep the dark bush on either side of the road, encouraging us to look for the red glow of nighttime predators’ eyes. 

Jonathan's torch lights up a lion, drinking after dusk

Jonathan’s torch lights up a lion, drinking after dusk

Chameleons are nocturnal - Jonathan's torch swept over a small one on a leaf, and he gave us a closer look

Chameleons are nocturnal – Jonathan’s finds a small one on a leaf and gives us a closer look

These baby hares met us on the road into camp each night at about 7:30 sharp!

These baby hares met us on the road into camp each night at about 7:30 sharp!

7:30pm:  We arrive back at the camp, shower, and meet Jonathan (and the other guests and rangers) for dinner at about 8:15.  Everyone is always tired by this point, and Thayer often falls asleep in Blair’s lap at the table.  By 9:30pm we are all ready to crash!  It will begin again at 5:30am, so we welcome the moment when our heads hit our pillows.

GAME VIEWING

On any given game drive, we would see phenomenal game, big and small.  Indeed, we spotted the Big 5 just about every day between our two drives.  Here are some of our favorite shots of leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant, and lion.  Most of the animal photographs you’ll see in this post were taken by Schuyler, who became camera-obsessed (or the “camera hog” depending on who you ask) and, to her credit, took some truly fabulous shots.  Because the animals are not the least bit threatened by the game vehicles, they wandered right up and around us as they went about their wild animal business, which made taking pictures even more exciting!

LEOPARD

ZOE: The first Leopard we saw was called the Newington Male by the staff and was one of the biggest on the property.  We saw him on our very first game drive!  He wasn’t active because he hunts at night. We followed him through the bush for a while, taking hundreds of photos. He was absolutely gorgeous.

SCHUYLER: One evening we came across a beautiful female leopard. She was prowling around searching for a hunt. In the distance we saw some impala but they ran away as soon as they saw the leopard. She posed perfectly for the camera and was as quiet as a mouse. All we heard was our own hearts beating as we watched her. It was so incredible. The sunset made the lighting even more delightful! 

Relaxing before an evening of hunting

Newington male, relaxing before an evening of hunting

Drinking at a small muddy water hole

Drinking at a small muddy water hole

Grooming himself

Grooming himself

Female leopard

Female leopard

RHINO

THAYER:  My favorite rhinos were 2 teenaged girls hanging out together.  We saw them together a few times over the course of the week.  They seemed like best friends!

Gal pals

Gal pals

Rhinos spend their entire day eating grass and other shrubs in order to get their fill

Rhinos spend their entire day eating grass and other shrubs in order to get their fill

BUFFALO

These huge beasts are rather intimidating when you get up close and personal with them.  Their horns spread over their entire foreheads, and when bashed together during fights, can make explosive crashing sounds that are heard for miles. 

Buffalo roamed all around our vehicle

Buffalo roamed all around our vehicle

Playful wrestling… for now

Playful wrestling… for now

ELEPHANT

Far and away Blair’s favorite African animal, we were extremely blessed to have a number of intimate encounters with herds of elephant.  Each time we spotted a big herd, Jonathan had an uncanny knack for parking our vehicle in a location that the herd would inevitably walk through as the elephants foraged for food.  We would sit, holding our breath, as these majestic creatures wandered by, sometimes almost brushing up against us.  

Jeff:  It was intimidating to sit in the middle of an elephant herd, to say the least.  Never in my life have I felt so small…(no comments please). 

Eating is what they do, all day and night

Eating is what they do, all day and night

Very young calf, nursing

Very young calf, nursing

The mommies are so protective of their young, keeping them close at all times

The mommies are so protective of their young, keeping them close at all times

We have a favorite elephant encounter to share toward the end of this post, where we’ll show you some additional great photographs of a herd in action. 

LION

Over the course of the week, we spent time with three adult lions (2 female, one male) and four sub-adults, or teen-agers (2 female, 2 males).  We all found these cats to be even more stunning and majestic in person than we had anticipated.  It is truly riveting to watch them interact in their natural habitat.

Here are the teenagers…

Young lioness

Young lioness

The teen-aged boys

The teen-aged boys

Taking a moment to scratch an itch before following her siblings down the road

Taking a moment to scratch an itch before following her siblings down the road

Smiling for the camera?

Smiling for the camera?

Life is good!

Life is good!

Sharing a cool drink

Sharing a cool drink

ZOE: One evening, the sub-adult lions were looking for food and seemed hungry.  There were two buffalo sitting down and one of the lionesses tried to go for them, but she missed.  For lions to kill buffalo is one of the hardest things, so she was just practicing.  Her siblings didn’t even try to help her, maybe because they knew it was a lost cause.  They just watched her try and then miss, almost as if it was amusing to them.  It was really cool to see their behavior.

Hiding herself from the buffalo

Hiding herself from the buffalo

Stalking the buffalo

Stalking the buffalo

SCHUYLER:  We encountered three adult lionesses, and one adult lion during the week.  The lionesses stick together, and Jonathan said that one of them had cubs but she had hidden them when we came upon her little pride.  Sometimes the Mama lions have to hide their cubs when they need to go hunt.  They have to hope that an animal like an elephant, buffalo, or hyena does not find them and kill them (most animals are prey for lions, so they will protect their own by killing lion cubs when they find them). 

Lioness licking her chops

Lioness licking her chops

(Schuyler cont.)  We also tracked a big adult male who was the father of the four sub-adults.  He was trying to track them down and kill his two sons for less competition over territory when they grow up. We came across this alpha male walking alone down the road.  At one point he came right up alongside our jeep. I leaned closer to get a better picture and my heart stopped when the fierce creature paused and stared a hole through my soul with his icy cold blue eyes.  I had a perfect shot, but I froze when I came face to face with this creature, worrying that if I broke the silence with a click he would attack me.  Jonathan had whispered for us to be still as the lion approached, and I took that advice to heart! It was a frightful (yet exciting) experience. 

Spotting the alpha male lion from the jeep

Spotting the alpha male lion from the jeep – he is marking his territory here

He came right toward us...

He came right toward us…

Big Daddy

And got about this close!

So there are the Big 5 for you all!  Despite the amazing photos, there is really no substitute for seeing these animals in the flesh. We will never forget the adrenaline rush of such personal encounters with some of Africa’s fiercest creatures. 

FAVORITE MOMENTS

The week at Mala Mala was  nothing short of spectacular, in large part because of our safari ranger, Jonathan.  An absolute wealth of knowledge about the game reserve, Jonathan filled our days with tidbits and anecdotes about the animals, birds, plants, game tracking, and the history of safari in S. Africa.  We all learned so much from him throughout the week!

Jonathan tells us about the tortoise we spotted by the side of the road

Jonathan tells us about the tortoise we spotted by the side of the road

ZOE: When our guide, Jonathan, drives us through the bush he drives over all kinds of trees and shrubs, which was so surprising at first but he only drives over the ones that pop back up.  It was SUCH an adventure to go off roading with him!  We drove all over the place, tracking animals.  I learned so much about animal behavior.  When trying to find predators, we had to watch for signs from other animals like monkeys screeching or zebras running away or baboons barking or impalas snorting their danger calls. It really worked!  We also learned how to track animals by looking at their prints in the sand.  Male lion tracks are bigger than my hand!

Following some lion tracks

Following some lion tracks

They look like this!

They look like this!

THAYER: One morning, Jonathan took us to a dry river bed and dug a big hole.  He explained how when the river is dry, elephants can dig really big holes deep down and find fresh water.  We saw a lot of old holes from elephants who had done this all around us. We helped Jonathan dig deep and we found water too!  Jonathan showed us how to fill up a water bottle with some of it, and then how to strain it through your shirt to get the mucky stuff out.  Then he actually drank it!  Our job was to pretend to be thirsty and lost in Africa and find some water for ourselves before we died.  I did it!  But he didn’t let me actually swallow my water in case I got sick. 

Jonathan digs for water

Jonathan digs for water

Straining the dirt through the cloth of his shirt

Straining the dirt through the cloth of his shirt

Thayer takes a turn digging her own hole, but gets a helping hand

Thayer takes a turn digging her own hole, but gets a helping hand when she soon tires of the hard labor

ZOE:  One time, Jonathan stopped the jeep all of a sudden and climbed on the hood.  He pulled something off of a Silver tree, took out his knife, and cut it open. It was an abandoned cocoon for female wasp eggs.  He checked inside it to make sure there were no remaining wasps inside, and then carved it for a few minutes. Soon, he was able to blow through it and it was a really loud whistle!  Jonathan explained to us that native Africans would use these to communicate from miles apart in the bush.  He called it a “whistle of the bush.” It was so cool to try it out!

Reaching for the special pod

Reaching for the special pod

Carving the whistle

Carving the whistle

It works!

It works!

Jonathan also helped create two of our most special memories from the week.  For example, on our evening drives he often treated us to a “sun downer.”  He would pull over into some gorgeous setting just before sunset, and then together with the girls would set up a snack table for chips, popcorn, fruit and nuts.  Then he taught them how to mix the perfect gin and tonic for Mom and Dad, and let them gorge on juice and lemon sodas while we all watched the sun set in the African bush.  Does it get any better?

Setting up the sun-downer

Setting up the sun-downer

Relaxing as the sun goes down

Relaxing as the sun goes down

Chillin', awaiting the sunset to come

Chillin’, awaiting the sunset to come

This is the LIFE

This is the LIFE

Then we would watch this unfold...

Then we would watch this unfold…

Another fabulous moment was our surprise “bush breakfast.”  During one of our morning game drives, at about 9am, Jonathan pulled into a secluded area on the bank of the river and there we discovered a picnic table and incredible breakfast spread laid out, complete with silverware and china plates!  There was an open fire with a grate to cook on and all the ingredients for a gourmet breakfast.  Jonathan turned the girls into his mini-chefs and wait staff, and they poured our coffee and took our breakfast orders.  Eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausage were all on the menu, and together the four of them cooked over the fire while Jeff and Blair chatted over coffee and a stunning vista.

Preparing the orders

Preparing the orders

Cooking bacon over the fire

Cooking bacon over the fire

Bon Appetite!

Bon Appetite!

The breakfast took a turn toward remarkable when we were visited by a herd of over 30 elephant. Here is Zoe’s version of the event:

ZOE: Once we got to have a surprise “bush breakfast” which is where they set a beautiful picnic table for breakfast while out on early morning safari. We had a beautiful view of a river, and toward the end of breakfast (which we cooked over an open flame) about 30+ elephant came out of the bush and down to have a drink.  There were so many babies, even on teeny tiny one. It was soooo cool, even a huge male elephant was there.  He was at least 4-6 feet higher at the shoulders than all the other grown elephants. We hadn’t seen a big male like that yet, so it was really exciting.  All of a sudden, one of the smaller males began chasing a female because he wanted to be her boyfriend. There was a lot of trumpeting and running about.  The biggest male started chasing the smaller male, because he had to show that he was the only boyfriend these ladies would ever have.  They ran up toward the river bank and out of our line of view, so Jonathan ordered us to quickly get up and get back into the jeep for safety. It was all very exciting and our hearts were pounding.  Two feisty males and a panicked female all blindly running toward us was a tricky combination!  Luckily the elephants settled down and we breathed a sigh of relief.

Amazing view as the elephants wandered down to the river

Amazing view as the elephants wandered down to the river

The herd was playful and mesmerizing to watch

The herd was playful and mesmerizing to watch

We just love the babies!

We just love the babies!

IN ADDITION TO THE BIG 5….

Safari is about more than just the Big 5, of course.  We saw the most incredible mix of animals throughout our week, and wanted to share some of our favorites with you below.  

Young hyena taking a mud bath

Young hyena taking a mud bath

We never tire of seeing these stripy horses

We never tire of seeing these striped donkeys

As majestic as they were in Kenya, giraffe are so fun to watch

As majestic as they were in Kenya, giraffe are so fun to watch

Warthog - some find them cute?

Warthog – some find them cute?

Baboons!

Baboons!

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Male Nyala

Male Nyala

Jackal

Jackal

Mongoose

Mongoose

Tortoise

Tortoise

Cliff Springers

Klipspringers

At night we spotted the crocodiles lurking in the river, and the hippos coming out to feed. 

Croc eyes in the glow of the torch

Croc eyes in the glow of the torch

We spotted this lady at night, with the torch

Enjoying the evening meal

The animal we probably saw the most of was the Impala, a beautiful and graceful antelope that also happens to provide an excellent source of lunch and dinner for the big cats of Mala Mala. 

Mommy and baby stop to check us out

Mommy and baby stop to check us out

Love the reflection here

Love the reflection here

Baby is almost hidden by the grass

Daddy with baby, almost hidden by the grass

We loved the smallest creatures and the incredible birds we spotted as well.  

Lizard we saw everywhere at the lodge

Lizard we saw everywhere at the lodge

Dung beetles were probably the girls’ favorite insects.  

S and Z: For starters, we think it’s really fun to say the word DUNG when referring to a bug.  The Dung Beetle life cycle is as follows:  The male beetle need to find a lady. He spends a great deal of time collecting dung, and building the largest, mosts spectacular dung ball known to beetle-kind.  Because of the impressive size of his ball, the male beetle gets his girl. They do their special dance, and then the female hitches a ride on top of the wonderful dung ball while the male turns upside down and pedals it with his hind legs while standing on his hands.  What a guy!  Once the male finds a good spot, his lady lays their eggs inside the dung ball.  

Male pushing female dung beetle, on dung ball

Male pushing female dung beetle, on dung ball

BIRDS

Many people go on safari just to see the birdlife.  We learned a great deal about all of the winged wildlife that we spotted.  Here are a few of our faves…

Stork

Maribu Stork

Multi-colored glory!

Lilac Breasted Rowler

Saw a lot of vultures like this one

Saw a lot of vultures like this one

Can you spot the parakeet?

Can you spot the parakeet?

These birds eat the ticks off of buffalo

These birds eat the ticks off of buffalo

SCHUYLER: One night, in the pitch dark, we saw the most extraordinary bird thanks to Jonathan’s torch. it was so rare! The last time Jonathan had seen it was last year.  Another ranger has worked at Mala Mala for 5 years and has never seen one!  The bird we saw is called the Pennant-Winged Night Jowler.  It is a beautiful black and white bird that has long tassels at the end of its wings. It looked like a giant butterfly! The best part is that we saw two of them in the same night. It was a miracle, and by far one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  I’m sorry we couldn’t take a photo, but it flew quickly in the dark night. Try google!

And finally, a few scenic shots to end on.  The landscape is breathtaking at all hours of the day.  

Along the river

Along the river

Silhouettes…

At dusk, the silhouettes of the trees are incredible

Sun going down

Sun going down

Moon rising

Moon rising

When it came time to say goodbye to Mala Mala, not one of us was ready.  We will never forget our time with Jonathan, and the days and nights in the African bush.  If there is ever something to splurge on in your lifetime, it is an African safari! 

We took that small plane again, this time dosing our sensitive stomachs with Dramamine, and flew off with one last look below at the impala grazing near the airstrip.  

Saying goodbye was so hard

Saying goodbye was so hard

It was a long day/night of travel from Mala Mala, through Johannesburg, and then on to Sydney, Australia on a 12 hour long-haul flight.  The light at the end of the tunnel was Blair’s parents, Lee and Jon (or Mumsy and Pops), waiting for us when we arrived down under.  

Farewell Big 5…. Hello to the land of Kangaroos and Koalas!  

About 20 hours later, we arrived in Sydney!

Travel weary, but we made it to Sydney!

See you soon in AUSTRALIA!  xo

Categories: AFRICA, Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa

9 comments

  1. These are incredible – especially as we are on our way to South Africa in 11 days this whole blog just got us so excited. I know you’re now off in Australia, but if you have family friendly interests in a book to read to remind you of your safari time, try The Elephant Whisperer by Anthony Lawrence. Amazing story of reintroducing elephants to part of southern Africa and learning about how they can communicate over hundreds of miles by “rumbling their stomachs” – how cool is that….?

    Can’t wait to see what you find in Australia – kangaroos, koalas, and all kinds of amazing insects and birds…..

    Lucy

  2. Wow. Speechless. I have been so fortunate to have also ‘done’ safari’s in Tanzania, Botswana & Zambia, but your description of all the events, the animals, the flora, the landscape, the ‘feel’ of Africa is superb. Who is the author ? Soooo well written. I felt taken by the hand into your world, and just loved it. Thanks. And when I read about vomitting in the plane (‘the multicolour yawn’) I could almost smell it. Reminds me of a bustrip in China, when a passenger….carsick…open window…oh well, maybe some other time. It’s a good story to share in New Hampshire sometime !

  3. SOOOOOOO EXCITING!

  4. I have been waiting for this blog a long time and it didn’t disapoint! The visceral vomit scene in the airplane would be better read after a meal, or maybe not,. The smiles on your faces, the discovery of the rare bird,and the exquisite photos all speak to an experience that hopefully you will all remember for a very long time. I am assuming that you procured for me (and are sending) a memento of this time in safari heaven and will keep my fingers crossed that is is a baby warthog that I can train to walk in my country neighborhood or on the streets of Manhattan. Please send it with a iron brush, some deoderant and nail clippers. FedEx would be best, unless it is too expensive. Thanks! I can have the doorman sign for it if necessary.
    Love to all,
    Juan

  5. I just read the section detailing your flight in to Mala Mala aloud to my office, everyone is dying. Thanks for keeping our Thursday in freezing Boston full of laughs. GREAT PICS! Miss everyone LOTS and lots. xox ashley

  6. you guys are so lucky !!! We wish we were there.

    Hope you guys are having so much fun!!

  7. These pictures are so incredible—National Geographic style! This is my favorite post by far. Sky, you poor thing! Thank God that’s all over. You look like you made a swift recovery and got to enjoy the safari. You guys are so lucky to get to experience a safari. That lion is scary! Can’t believe how close it got to you guys!

    • Ps—I would have been a little nervous eating that bush breakfast— i picture that lion coming overto nibble on my bacon and maybe my lower leg or something! You guys sure are adventurous!!!

  8. Annika and I are just now able to read this post together. Annika: we think your blog is really cool. I think it’s really cool that you saw an Oxpecker bird on your Safari, because that’s my favorite bird in Africa. The lions are also one of my favorite animals, I loved looking at the close up pictures. Can’t wait to see you! Love Annika

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