After our morning game drive with Biggie and Christian, we headed out to the Bayete Zulu Game Reserve for an elephant interaction with Rambo, Rachel and Jabulani, arranged by World Odyssey. Three habituated elephants who love human interaction; Rambo (seen above) was super playful and welcomed Damien and I with some dirt throwing. It took us by surprise but we found it quite funny. I still can’t believe I got the shot. We fed all of them and even got to touch Rambo’s ears, behind his tusks, and his tongue! It was a sobering and very memorable experience, being so close to such massive creatures.
We returned to Thanda for lunch and some downtime before our evening game drive. That day and in the days to follow, the expertise of Biggie and Christian, helped us to tracked down all the beautiful wildlife Thanda has to offer. A rare appearance of two cheetah brothers at golden hour, made for some incredible shots. (Ring, ring, I do believe that’s Nat Geo calling.)
From habituated elephants at Bayete Zulu to wild ones at Thanda, there was definitely a difference. While Rambo and his family seemed sweet and cartoon-like, the wild elephants were intimidating and regal. The piercing sound of tree branches breaking as they crushed them in their path, had us in complete awe of their strength. It was a sound I’ll never forget.
Zebras and giraffes were plentiful in the bush, yet every time we saw one, it was like seeing one for the first time. It was like the story book characters we read about as children, coming to life right before our eyes. Their gorgeous markings and beautiful eyes made me pick up my camera every time we saw one. These are two of my favorite shots, but I have hundreds more of both.
Damien’s money shot. He calls it “LA Douchebag on Safari.”
While the 6 baby cubs were our warm welcome to Thanda, this family of lions was our perfect farewell. My heart raced as we sat less than 10 feet away from papa lion, mama, grandma and babies.
This interaction melted my heart. I call it “Baby Cub Wakes Up Dad.”
And just like that, 3 days flew by and Damien and I were forever changed by what we saw at Thanda. A perfect bush sunset was our send off and we were on to the next. Luckily, “the next” was 2 days of unlimited spa treatments at Karkloof Safari Spa to end our honeymoon. More on that tomorrow!