Modern Tradition: South Africa

Modern Tradition: South Africa

Coming alive from the picturesque scenes from the film Lion King, South Africa is the perfect blend of tamed modernity and wilderness. And spotting the big five is nothing short of an adventure, especially after spotting penguins and playing with the dolphins at a water park.  The images are imprinted onto our memories from the wildlife documentaries—a pride of lions drinks at a watering hole while keeping a watchful eye on a herd of thomson gazelles, wild-eyed hyenas prowling a lake’s shore, while the bright and sultry sun sets behind a zebra nibbling in 
the savannah.

For a safari enthusiast, there is no more captivating expedition than spending a fortnight in the wild. On an early morning in Kruger National Park, our guide took us to the spot where he had heard an update about a pride of lions from the tourists who saw it the day before. One lion, two lionesses, and four cubs, all were resting after a gazelle kill.  

We watched them take a nap after eating their fill.  As the lion’s stomach was full, the lionesses were lightly dozing in a protective mode. The cubs were still active and watching them was pure joy. After about 20 minutes, we moved on to explore the best of South African wilderness. We headed towards a watering hole, hoping to find other wildlife and found giraffes, including females and young males, walking towards the water. Standing all alone on the opposite bank was a very young, tiny thomson gazelle. Our guide told us he was certain that the gazelle kill we had witnessed next to the lions was its mother.

To many, South Africa’s wealth is synonymous with its diamonds, emeralds,  and gold.  But, maybe  its greatest riches lie in another of its natural treasures—its wildlife. We witnessed the best of wildlife that nature has to offer, from the royal tusked African elephant to the ferocious leopard, from rhinos to the king of the jungle, all provide one of Africa’s greatest safari experiences. But we assure you, when your safari is over, you’ll go home far richer with experiences than when you arrived.

When to go

June to October  

•    There is a much better chance of seeing wildlife in the dry season, generally the winter and spring months. 
•    The grass is shorter, so dehydrated animals are forced to congregate at watering holes, making them easy to spot.

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.