Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Park

January 1, 2017

 “We need the tonic of wildness… At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

—Henry David Thoreau


You cannot come to South Africa and not go to a game park. That much was clear. Unfortunately our driver’s licences had expired, so the cheap option was off the table. After some deliberation, we hired a guide and it turned out to be a fantastic choice.  Throughout the 14.5 hrs we spent with Sibo, we saw:

  • Whitefaced duck
  • Kudu
  • White Rhinoceros
  • Giraffe
  • Zebra
  • Impala
  • Dragonfly
  • Vervet Monkey
  • Christmas Beetle
  • African Buffalo
  • Butterfly
  • Nyala
  •  Waterbuck (bird)
  • Hammerhead (bird)
  • Pintail Whydah
  • Warthog
  • White-backed vulture
  • Wildebeest
  • Wooly-necked stork
  • Baboons
  • Gosshawk
  • Elephant

I’m pretty sure we would not have seen half of that without Sibo’s help, and he provided some fascinating cultural insights as we drove up and back as well.

In addition to the amazing scenery and wildlife, we re-learned an important life lesson about the value of tenacity. We had been looking for an elephant for the last two hours of our safari. We asked every guide and ranger we passed, and tore around the park on hints and speculation. Finally we had to make our way home. When we passed the entrance lodge, I had given up hope. I was starting to write a Facebook post when Vick yelled “STOP ELEPHANT!” and there it was, grazing by the side of the road, just meters from the exit gate. Never give up!

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