How great was our lodge? So great that they gave us a bonus excursion. Since our flight wasn’t leaving until after lunch our guide decided to take us out for an additional morning game drive.

Since we had already been able to see all of the big 5, this was just “gravy”. I took advantage of this time to focus on the landscape and plant life. In an environment as harsh and generally unspoiled by man as this area, there were some truly amazing specimens. There were certain areas and plants that reminded me of scenes from the post apolyptic “Fallout” video game series.

While we were driving around, we saw more of some of the same animals we had seen previously. But unlike previous sightings we were able to get better and closer views of the Marabou storks, Water buffalo, warthogs, and Kudo. It was a nice way to cap off the safari or so I thought.

As we were enjoying these additional sightings, I noticed that our driver seemed to be doubling back, at first I thought this was to get us an even better view of the water buffalo we had just seen. But our guide Jeffrey had other plans.

We got up close and personal with a leopard. For some reason being this close to the leopard made me more nervous than being that close to an entire pride of lions. Lions may be the king of the jungle, but this leopard seemed like it didn’t care and was willing to challenge that notion. After we got some beautiful shots and were driving away, we saw another leopard. Jeffery let us know that this was most likely a pair of siblings.

So now that we had truly seen all the big 5 and have some great pictures as proof it was time to head back. The game reserve was literally across the street from the tiny airport, so they provided us with a shuttle to the Hoedspruit airport, and gave us one last opportunity to see some wildlife. The airport itself is pretty small, which in its own way added to the experience. The airline we flew is pretty standard and the flight attendants were a bit rude, but thankfully it was a short flight to Cape Town.

If you are planning a trip to South Africa and want to do a Safari, I cannot recommend Safari.com and the Kapama private game reserve enough.  I would gladly go again and repeat this experience hopefully with our same guide. I asked our guide what the best time to visit is and he said August, September, and October. July tends to still be a bit cold, but it is ok. Once you get into November it starts to get hot, and shortly after that, it’s the rainy season.

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