The Safari Experience, Wild Dogs and Sunsets (Safari 1)

After 6 nights in Cape Town it was time to head off on safari. I was incredibly excited for safari and seeing conservation in action.

We got up early and had a really nice breakfast on our last morning. I have to show this breakfast because it was amazing! The homemade corn fritters were really tasty!

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There are several places you can go on safari in South Africa, but we decided to head up to the Kruger Park area to one of the private reserves. We drove back to Cape Town Airport and flew up to Hoedspruit in the North East of South Africa. The flight took a couple of hours and it was my first time flying in such a small plane. Let’s just say, I didn’t like it very much! :O

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Not very often you see this anymore!

Hoedspruit airport is tiny and we walked straight off our plane, grabbed our bags and collected our hire car. Mum and dad had been to the safari lodge we were going to before and from previous experience a small car to drive off road is not the way to go! So we ended up paying a bit more for a bigger, higher car. It was a lovely car!!

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It took us around an hour to drive from the airport through to the safari lodge, and on the drive we saw warthogs, baboons, zebra and lots of antelope animals. We eventually got to the Tangala gate (the entrance to the safari lodge we were staying at) and drove through. We were soon met by some elephants and rhinos! Let’s just say, it was slightly nerving driving ourselves through!

We then arrived at Tangala Safari Camp and were met by our Safari guide Kyle and tracker Joe.

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Kyle & Joe

We didn’t have much time between getting to the lodge and the afternoon game drive. We had a drink and something to eat and went to see our room before going out on drive.

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Our chalet



Tangala is one of the more basic safari lodges out in the Thornybush reserve. It has quite recently been upgraded to have electricity in the chalets provided by solar power, as well as now having Wi-Fi (for around £6 a day) should you want it. We were thankful for the fan provided in the bedroom as it was so hot (especially at night)!

At Tangala there are 4 chalets (which we were staying in) and 6 tents. Each sleeping 2 people, meaning the maximum number of guests would be 20 at any time (which is quite small for safari lodges). We were quite lucky in that the number of guests while we were there was never more than 8. Anyway, there is a main communal area with plenty of seating, a bar (you pay for what drinks you have), swimming pool and loungers where you can sit during the day. Tangala is quite a unique safari lodge in that it faces out on to a large open area with a water hole, meaning that during the day between game drives you can sit and watch the animals come and go. As part of the price you also get 3 meals included a day where at breakfast and dinner (weather permitting) you can sit out on the deck and enjoy watching the world pass by.



At 4:30pm we headed out on game drive and I was quite excited to see what we could find.

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Before we went out, Kyle (our guide) asked us if there was anything in particular we wanted to see so that him and Joe could attempt to find it for us. I was quite keen to find some African Wild Dogs and since they’d found them that morning we headed out to find them (the animals don’t move much during the day because it is too hot for them).

Within our first hour we’d seen lots of antelopes (Nyala, Impala, Kudu), giraffes, birds and a fish eagle before coming across the Wild Dogs.

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Around half way in to our drive we stopped for a drink (sundowners they call it). A chance to get out of the car (in the middle of the bush, obviously in an open place for safety) and watch the sunset.

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I can honestly say this sunset was perhaps the best sunset I’ve ever seen! It was amazing!

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After sunset we carried on the drive for around another hour looking for nocturnal animals before arriving back to the camp at around 7:30 ready for dinner. Once getting back to camp the mosquito net was down in our cabin and the oil lamps were lit.

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After dinner Kyle took us out on a little scorpion hunt around the camp. Scorpions glow green when under a UV light, so we had fun walking just a few metres from where we were sitting and finding around 20 scorpions lurking by the path and in the trees! The stars were also amazing!

After dinner and the scorpion hunt we decided to head to bed ready for our 5am wake up in the morning.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? What animal would you love to see on safari if you could? 

I apologise for the quality of the photos, they don’t look so good. I’ve almost run out of storage space so have played around with resizing images. Are they OK?

Find my other South Africa posts here:

Part 1 – Arriving in Cape Town

Part 2 – V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Two Oceans Aquarium & Cape Wheel

Part 3 – Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap & Camps Bay

Part 4 – Simon’s Town & Seal Island

Part 5 – Penguins, Baboons, Ostrich & Cape Point 

Part 6 – Kirstenbosch & Chapman’s Peak

Safari 1 – Safari Experience, Wild Dogs & Sunsets

Safari 2 – Giraffe, Elephants, Hippos & More

Safari 3 – Lions, Cheetahs & More

Safari 4 – Birds, Baby Zebra and Lions 



24 thoughts on “The Safari Experience, Wild Dogs and Sunsets (Safari 1)

    • Haha! I wasn’t really! I think they come round checking in the evening there’s no nasty creatures lurking in the chalet when they come and put the mozzie net down and close the curtains and everything

      • I know, I was really worried about my allergies and the possibility of getting bitten/stung by something out in the middle of nowhere. But actually it wasn’t a problem. The wasp like animals really aren’t bothered by you, they aren’t like the wasps we have here that plague you, they kind of fly around you but don’t really bother you. By the end I was totally unfazed by them. It is the flying dung beetles that are more traumatic! XD

  1. Oh my word, this is so amazing!! You are entirely immersed! I just keep thinking of the safari in the Crown and how close you get to the animals- what a fantastic experience!! Would you do a different safari next time?

    • I think I’d be quite happy to come back to the same place to do safari again! It was amazing, I’d just like a bit longer there to stand more chance of seeing everything. It was quite scary how close the animals got, but I didn’t feel too nervous apart from when 2 rhinos came VERY close to the car.

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