“Touchdown on South African turf for the first time meant only one obvious adventure for this explorer – safari.
I eagerly anticipated climbing into a traditional safari Jeep, cruising around the uneven dirt tracks and witnessing animals in their natural habitat. The South African savanna was rich with life and was complimented by the distant Magliesberg mountains. Safaris are one of the most popular attractions in South Africa, picking one became a tougher choice than anticipated, in particular with differentiating between horseback, overnight or just a classic daytime safari. Luckily, multiple crew members had visted this desitnation before and one safari in particular was repeatedly recommended.
Glen Afric Country Lodge is located approximately 60km north of Johannesburg. They pride themselves as the home to the traditional African wildlife, with species of animals ranging from zebras to giraffes and my personal favourite on this trip, the elephants. Why did this stand out you ask? The reason being, Glen Afric offer a ‘Meet with the elephants’ experience.
Being able to interact and witness just how majestic these animals are from reaching distance was a moment I’ll treasure and consider a memorable bucket-list experience. These gentle giant stand strong and prominatly allowing your outstretched hand to come into contact and connect with this incredible creature. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but then again, it’s not everyday you come face-to-face with a five tonne mammal. One-by-one, you allowed the opportunity to proceed towards the parade, stroke their ivory tusks and pat behind their leathery ears.
Tip: Wearing white is not advised! Elephants will regularly throw dust over themselves to cool down in the 30 degree heat – not ideal when you’re standing right alongside waiting for your Instagram photo.
The safari generally lasts for a solid three hours and typically costs as little as £60 (however, the larger the group you go with, the cheaper it is).
For the ‘Wild at Heart’ fans reading this, the Glen Africa is definitely the safari for you. This is the location where they filmed the hit ITV show. Not only does the tour begin in the familiar location of Mara as the lodge’s reception, but later you get to explore inside Leopard’s Den an engaging tour around the famous fictional veterinary house. It felt surreal wandering around a place that I spent my childhood watching on the small screen – I believe nostalgia is the word?
Following the safari, guests then have the option to dine in their a-la-carte restaurant, offering panoramic views of the surrounding hilltops and spectacular South African enviroment. What impressed me about this excursion was how knowledgable, passionatre and thorough the guides dive into detail about each species. It was never just a brief encounter as we approached each one in our vehicle, the guides took time to appreciate each species of animal and indulge you into facinating facts about them.
Timings for the safaris begin at either 11:00 or 14:00 (booking ahead is strongly advised). Choosing the later option gives visitors the chance to experience a fiery, orange sunset as the safari continues into dusk. Witnessing an African sundown illuminating the sky is a memory like no other.”
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