Things I learned on safari…
I’ll get right down to it. It’s been a little while since I returned from my vaca in South Africa. To call it anything but a trip of a lifetime would be doing it a great disservice. It was truuuuly magical. With that being said, some things were not as they appeared. And though I may have looked perfectly put together in my pictures, or at least I hope I did; at no point did I document the crack of dawn wake-up calls or my futile attempts at erasing the previous night’s signs of debauchery.
For those of you who may not know, morning game drives start promptly at 5:30am…and let me tell you, the debauchery is very much needed. All it takes is to see one African bug to jolt you into the realization that drinking on safari is absolutely essential. (My fiancé didn’t appreciate my gross exaggeration of the bugs. So for the record, they were not that bad, really, but they did give me a great excuse to turn into a wino at night).
Looks innocent enough but that’s not coffee I’m drinking. Folgers had it all wrong. The best part of waking up is Hot Chocolate & Amarula in your cup.
As a courtesy I wanted to offer up some practical advice for surviving your first safari taken from my personal experience:
- Safari is not a time to show off your pedi, ladies – Wear closed toe shoes. The scorpions will not respect your privacy indoors or outdoors, so leave your Tkees at home.
- When in doubt pack hipster boots – I don’t know about you, but I am not a particularly outdoorsy person. So digging through an old box of camping gear was not an option for me. Plus, the way I saw it, if I was going to be found in the mouth of a wild beast, you better believe I was going to look cute doing it. So here’s what I went with.
- Safari is not for the faint-hearted – If you’re going to Madikwe, and I strongly suggest that you do, it is one of the only places in the world to see the highly endangered African Wild Dogs. But heed this advice, be prepared for a real Michael Vick moment. On one game drive we got up close and personal to a pack of dogs that turned on one of their own. It was not pretty.
- False sense of security – YOU ARE IN AFRICA what did you expect? Like it or not, at night a big segment of the animal kingdom will want to shack up with you and succeed. I will leave it at that, and no, your fiancé in a leopard speedo does not count!
This is what I have to say to the giant spider that slept with us the first night. No, it wasn’t as good for us as it was for you!
- You’ll never know what a premenopausal woman goes through until you’ve been on safari – It’s hot and it’s cold, so be prepared for both. The smart thing to do is to actually sit next to a pre-menopausal woman on the drive. When those temperatures drop, you know she won’t be using her blanket.
Or you can borrow your guide’s fleece. Not sexy but warm.
- Some tourists just don’t listen – You know that naked tanning session you thought you’d get under you belt on your afternoon off? The one beside your private plunge pool and a vast span of nothingness as your backyard. Well, you may want to think twice. A tan session safari style may end in an encounter. Just when you feel totally safe and settled, an elderly British couple may decide to take a leisurely stroll right next to your outdoor shower. Bam! Moral of the story: Do not miss your morning cocktail!
You can take a girl out of a safari, but you can’t take the safari out of a girl. More on my safari fashion:
The following is a virtual book that I put together with all the little treasures that the safari trip had to offer. The only thing missing is the sweet smell of the African air. Enjoy!
I would like to dedicate this post to Chelsea Handler and her book Uganda Be Kidding Me. After reading it I knew that if she could do it, so could I!