Family Safari Tour, South Africa

FAMILY SAFARI TOUR

IMG_1065
Travel Schooling- The girls did a 6 week-long study about South Africa, the culture, the Apartheid and Nelson Mandela with their amazing tutor before heading over to this side of the world. It gave them a deep understanding of the culture and the reality of what has been fixed but where the struggle still lies. If you are thinking of taking your kids to SA, feel free to pull  South Africa curriculum from the curriculum link of this website 🙂

 

There is no surprise as to why Family Safari tours are gaining SO much popularity. In South Africa, you are amongst sunshine, raw nature, warm local hospitality and quality time together under the South African stars away from all the modern-day electronics and distractions. This is one of our top rated trips and is suited for couples, families or a small group of friends travelling together. Someone could even come solo as most of the guests seem to adopt an extremely warm, friendly and curious nature. Every tour through the bush is like the first time. The Ulusaba lodge offers a perfect combination of rugged safari life with a few luxuries mixed in-between to keep you energized, comfortable, entertained and well-rested.

Jordan and Bailey loved ALL of the animals but were most-drawn to baby hyena’s. Here’s a video so you can see why 🙂

 

Like anything really great in life, there is a journey ahead and this one happens to include a lot of flight time. However, I promise that it is more than worth it. The life changing experience comes at a the cost/trip that goes something like this-

IMG_1287
These guys and gals do a lot of napping. It’s a rough life <3 Can you believe these pics are from Steve’s phone?

The Journey

If you’re leaving from North America, make your way to Amsterdam and then hop on a 10 hour 45 minute-ish trip to Johannesburg or Capetown. From there you are a short flight from Krueger National Park and then a 3-5 minute drive to the lodge. It is that easy (wink). Ulusaba Lodge is owned by Richard Branson’s corporation Virgin Limited Edition  and has it’s very own air strip which makes it incredibly convenient compared to other places we’ve been across the globe. Our dear friend @thisonelife recommended it and we were SO pleased <3 If you don’t want to take the little plane, you can also drive up from Johannesburg. This does take about 6 hours however compared to a 45 minute flight.

IMG_1472
“Wait…. Am I getting on this thing?” Strangely enough, it was the smoothest airplane ride of our entire trip in South Africa and the view was SO beautiful! The pilot was a total bad*ss female and the flight was as smooth as silk <3

 

Lodging- Ulusaba

Once landing in Ulusaba, you are given a welcome drink and taken up to the lodge and given a tour of the property.  After having a bite to eat, it’s immediately time to get dressed for safari. You typically do 2 safari per day. One in the early morning and one in the evening.

 

What to wear-

So I read a lot of not so great advise on this subject, so I am going to give it to you straight! If your goal is to blend in, the bush in South Africa is a bit different color then the bush in the rest of Africa. The color of the bush will also depend on what season you are going and how dried out the bush is at that time of year. It’s my impression and experience that as long as you are wearing some shade of Khaki or light brown or Olive or Army Green, then you will blend in. Think camouflaged colors. Check the weather for the time of year you are going to see how bulky your outerwear needs to be. There are blankets on the Land Rovers but a buff for your mouth/neck/throat is a good idea.

 

 

 

 

 

It was explained to us by our amazing and incredibly knowledgable Ulusaba rangers that the animals are so perplexed by the jeep/landrover you are in, that they don’t mess with you at all and that as long as you are NOT wearing bright white and don’t suddenly stand up in the Jeep/Rover, that you are fine. There was a guest wearing a purple jacket with bling on it (head scratcher) and she survived. The lions got very close to us at night during their hunt (gulp) but in a harmonious way.

 

The girls and my husband felt fairly comfortable right away. I made several  transitions from fear to an all out feeling of peace knowing that I was in their world now and they welcomed us. I know it’s hard to imagine, so here is a video.

 

The hyena’s were a little more curious and came to check us out as opposed to “harmoniously walking amongst us” as the lions often did at nightfall.

IMG_1268
Here is one little guy chewing on our ranger’s boots 🙂

 

 

 

At Ulusaba, you are spoiled with meals and teas with variety for a vegetarian like me and an adventure eater like my husband. The staff are so amazing and great with the children. Our family consists of 2 vegetarians, 1 chicken-tarian (as she calls it) who can’ t have dairy and my hubby who eats anything 🙂 Needless to say, we get our looks around the world (eh hem France) and we know it’s coming and understand how it can be difficult to meet all of our dietary requirements. However, the staff at Ulusaba went ABOVE and beyond. They made us feel so comfortable and spoiled us at every opportunity.

 

 

Bailey turned 9 on day 3 of our safari.  Due to some medical issues, she can’t have dairy so we of course assumed that since we were in Africa for her birthday that she wouldn’t get her specialty dairy-free birthday treat… but that was OK because she saw some lions, zebras, rhinos and her favorite- hyenas that day… and that beats cake in her book. We couldn’t believe it but when we got back from Safari and headed to lunch, the entire staff at Ulusaba Rock Lodge walked up to Bailey with a coconut milk cake and sang her Happy Birthday in their mother-tongue. That may have been the first time I have cried in a public place amongst ‘strangers’. We live in the hip town of Austin and have many dairy-free choices at our disposal. Not in a million years did we think that someone who had just met us could be so thoughtful and go SO out of their way with generosity and mostly… just be purely kind.  We happened to catch that on video too! My husband is great at capturing these moments on pics and videos.

 

It was hard to leave Ulusaba as we knew that evening there would be a safari going out… and we would be on a plane heading home. However, we are immensely grateful for the time we spent there and will definitely be back <3

Thanks for reading my blog on Safari at Ulusaba. If you have any comments or questions, please send them through. I love reading them 🙂

Here is a last-minute video of these majestic creatures singing in a hippo choir <3 They really can hit the low notes. xo

Advertisements

7 Replies to “Family Safari Tour, South Africa”

    1. Thanks so much Josh! That is so thoughtful of you to say! We already want to go back 🙂

      1. I know the feeling! We went to Tanzania a few years ago and are counting the days until we can get back too.

      2. I checked out your blog and I love it! We are also going to Machu Picchu in 3 weeks!! We also LOVE Ireland and excitingly enough have just planned our NZ, Australia, Bora Bora trip for January <3

      3. Fantastic !!!! Sounds like an amazing travel stretch !! I can’t wait to read about your adventures. It is great to meet other travel enthusiasts with a thirst for adventure and exploration. Have a great time and safe travels!

    1. Thank you Tricia <3 It was an amazing backdrop for photos <3

Leave a Reply