Safari in South Africa


It was a present for my wife. It certainly wasn’y my first choice for a holiday but she had always said she wanted to go on safari – to see cheetahs, and to ride an elephant. The cost of these kind of holidays is usually completely ptrohibitive. Then I found Vuyani Lodge (on Ebay of all places!). I procrasintated for several days – then took the plunge – handing my credit card details over to someone who I thought was in South Africa (but turned out to be from Dubai ..). Normally when something is cheaper than you feel it should be, there’s a catch. This time there wasn’t. It was all fantastic. The lodge, the people, the animals, the country, the service, the food, the photographic opportunities. Everything. I was a bit worried about South Africa. I’d heard it was violent. I saw no signs of violence,. We were met with curiosity, indifference, friendliness but not violence.

And what about racism? Well South Africa has had a troubled past. And it’s obvious that there is still a massive difference between the lives led by blacks and whites in South Africa. At a park in Johannesburg we saw wealthy whites and blacks enjoying the ‘go ape’ type experience high up in the tress on zip wires etc. Then just yards away were poor blacks living in cardboard boxes, washing their clothes in dirty water. We stumbled into their ‘home’ by accident. A rat ran over my foot. We left quickly feeling we had intruded. Seconds later we were walking past the car park full of Range Rovers, Mercedes and Porsches. It’s a country of extremes for sure. Even the weather went from hot during the day to very chilly in the evening.

The animals. These are the rich seam of South Africa. We saw Lions, Cheetahs, Elephants, Giraffes, Baboons, Hippos, Kudu, Eagles, Impala, Jackals, Warthogs, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Ostrichs and many many more. It’s such an honour and privilege to see these animals in their natural habitat – and to be able to photograph them. Safaris started out as hunting trips and the animals would be shot for sport. Now most safaris allow people to see the animals and that is enough – more than enough.

I wasn’t bothered about going. My expectations were low. I loved it and would love to go back one day. All those Wilbur Smith books were right. Africa is a magical place.