Hanging with my mate zebra

After our elephant experience we had the whole day ahead of us and were just a 10 minute drive from Pilanesberg National Park.  Pilanesberg Park is set in the crater of an extinct volcano and is one of the largest parks in SA.  We decided to spend a few hours driving ourselves around to see if we could see any animals.  It’s my first game drive and I wasn’t sure whether it would work out

The nearest gate into the park from Sun City is the Kwa Maritane Gate, a mere 5 minutes drive away.  Off we went.  We arrived at the gate, paid our entrance fee and made sure to get a map

The sun was beating down in a big way and it was only 9am!  I was worried about what midday would bring cooped up in a tin can

Almost as soon as we drove in, we came across a few baboons running ahead of the car.  Two of the babies were running along and kept fighting with each other – it was so cute to see them rolling around on the floor together and then running to catch up with the adult

We also saw some Blue Wildebeest.  Then nothing.  For around an hour

We drove and drove and both of us almost thought it was time to give up and drive back to Joburg.  Then the good stuff really happened!  We were driving along and came across 2 zebra, that looked like a mum and it’s child.  They were so cute.  We watched them walking for a little while and then continued driving, turned the corner and came across a whole herd of zebra grazing.  They were blocking the road and were in no hurry to clear the way for us to drive on.  They are so beautiful!

After that, we saw so many animals – giraffe, hippo, baboons, kudu, springbok and impala.  We saw a lone bull elephant roaming and he was HUGE.  Much bigger than the elephants we had spent time with that morning

Rob was driving and I was the spotter – it was my responsibility to spot the animals and get Rob to stop the car so we could get a good look.  We were driving along, and I was in a daze and probably not really looking for animals.  All of sudden Rob stops the car “There’s a leopard!”.  We reverse back and there is a leopard just chilling under a tree, right next to the road

The leopard is an elusive creature, and it is usually the one animal that people live Africa without having sighted on safari.  It is solitary, predominantly nocturnal and very well camouflaged.  There are only 30 in the park, compared to 1700 zebra.  We were in awe of this huge cat chilling so close to our car, and were aware how rare a sighting this was, so just turned off the engine and sat there

Rob snapped some pics, and then we noticed the leopard was getting restless and he started padding towards our car.  He/she walked straight past, and was so close!  Then, just like that, the leopard was gone!

We know how lucky we were to see so many animals, as during the hottest time of the day they are usually seeking shade and/or asleep.  The best time of day to go on a game drive is the early morning or late afternoon, when it’s cooler

I can’t wait until our next opportunity to go on a game drive – I want to see the Big 5!

Tip:  Check your camera the day before you go on a game drive, and again that morning.  It will save the angst that you experience when you get to the game drive and realise that your camera isn’t working properly #FAIL

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16 thoughts on “Hanging with my mate zebra

    • thanks- Rob took that photo! I couldn’t change my aperture all day so it was stuck. These photos are the only ones that could be saved in the post edit! Every single one was overexposed

  1. OMG….you have to be effing kidding me! You’re here in SA for what, 3 months and you see a bleeding leopard? Can I hate you?

    I’ve been here 29 years, have lost count of the number of times we’ve scoured the Pilanesberg for leopard. You waltz in and see one, *in the middle of the day* for Pete’s sake. I’m so jealous. I’m off to sulk.

    Please take me on your next safari…..please? 🙂

  2. Waw those pics are incredible Martina. It makes me wonder what we do here in the city all day when there is so much beauty to see. Pilanesberg is definitely the next thing on our list!

    • Thanks Julie. It’s definitely easy to get caught up in the rat race and ignore the beauty around us. I did exactly the same thing in London when I was working, and am kicking myself now!

  3. I lived 5 years in Kenya and saw my first leopard only when I was nearly to leave the country….can’t believe you spot it in your first safari!!!
    ciao martina see you in one of the next photowalks and thanks for following my blog!
    manuela

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