My First Safari

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In my life I’ve had many experiences, some of them trying to discover my limits. It’s a way of going further to really discover what I am capable of, to grow through achievement … Everest, Races and Marathons; they have all left something in me that makes me more complete in an increasingly logical environment in which we have a share of importance in each step we take. That is not my story though, it belongs to others, but despite not being my own, it’s the one that has made a meaningful difference in my life in the most intense way.

Africa had always been a destination that I have wanted to go to. I have spent whole days looking for information, trying to find the ideal place, the perfect time and of course, all the animals that I dreamed of interacting with through my camera. Because it is such a large continent and with so many options, I felt that I could make a mistake in my choices until I met Ale. Without any doubt, she was the person who guided me and gave me a clearer vision of a continent full of interesting places, I hope that this entry in the WanderingThru blog and the photographic tour will encourage you to make your bags and let yourself be carried away by the advices of Ale and Tristan!

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa has 65,0000 hectares of private reserve, this gives it a great advantage because there are no fences between Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand so wildlife roams freely in a huge natural environment. Another great advantage of this rich tract of land are its rivers. The Sabie River and the Sand River; around them live a great variety of animals.

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andbeyond Kirkman’s Kamp Sand river as seen from above

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Our first day after a long journey had a welcome worthy of a safari adventure: our first contact was with the family of lions that dominate much of the reserve!. Two large males showed their strength while 4 females took care of their cubs on the slopes of the river.

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Our stay in the reserve had been perfectly planned, 6 days and a private vehicle gave us the freedom to move and enjoy unique moments. Watching wild dogs hunt or waiting for their pups to come out of their burrows was an experience that could only be enjoyed when you understand that if you are looking to photograph, it is necessary to have a perfect relationship with your Ranger and Tracker team.

Early morning tracking [dt_gap height=”10″ /]

We didn’t know how important it was going to be for our experience to have Matt and Richard as our guide and tracker. I share with you an entry from the daily travel blog:

“You go around in circles over a huge surface, bushes, hills, roads, savannas, everything is part of the landscape”. Time passes; the sun begins to rise over the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Reserve. Richard, our local tracker, gets out of the car, looks at the ground, then at the horizon, he walks and takes his time to begins to collect information, from right to left he begins to focus on different distances. So I asked him *why not from left to right?” and his answer was the following: “If you do it like this, you will only focus on one thing because that is the routine you use to read, you have to think outside the box”.

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A breeding herd of elephants moving through the open areas

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A close encounter by a pack of wild dogs and the zebras

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As we kept riding, I prepared the camera, and I begun to understand that it is obvious that we were going to see something. This sense of the obvious is essential for guides and trackers. “How would you distinguish the footprint of a male lion or a female?” I dared ask them as it’s obvious to them, and they could show it on the spot. It’s obvious because in their communities the use of information processing is continuous to be able to understand the signs and clues that are found; if you limit yourself to finding traces, you do not advance, at the end it is about making decisions, of wisdom transmitted from generation to generation.

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It’s about “getting into his role, that is, into his skin” and then predicting their steps. If the animals have not eaten for hours, their step will change. Evidence, that’s what it’s about.

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One of the safari highlights: finding out that a creature such as the wild dog exists and getting to see a den with all its pups coming out [dt_gap height=”10″ /]

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The experience of tracking completely changed our perception and thus we came to have a stronger bond with everything around us. Rhinos and their young, herds of elephants searching the waters of the Sabie River, Hippos, multicolored birds and perhaps one of the most exciting experiences, a pair of leopards mating. We had the opportunity to be in the moment when they divided their paths after accompanying them for long days.

“Africa changed our lives; a safari is much more than watching and trying to get a good photo of animals in their natural environment. Africa is passion, it is experience, it is a light to understand that we are part of a planet and that getting close to it is a way of caring for it for future generations”  – Alberto Camardiel

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If you’d looking to plan an Africa safari and you’re not sure where to start contact us today and let us help you design your tailor-made safari

 

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