safari #1: NSELE

safari #1: NSELE
my first safari experience was with nsele safari lodge.
there are so many safari spots in south africa, and
my parents live close to the true jackpot of game
reserves and animals. we drove to nelspruit to visit
some areas in their mission, and then on their p-day
we headed up into the thick of the bush to nsele.
of the different safari experiences you could have,
nsele feels very authentic…not touristy at all. you
have to drive on endless dirt roads just to get there,
and you have to spot the tiny signs pointing you
along the way. it really makes it feel like a great
adventure in the middle of the animal kingdom!

nsele is owned by a couple who has lived out here in
the bush for almost their entire lives. olaf + stephanie
truly LOVE the animals, the land, and living in the
middle of it all — and that comes across the second you
arrive. they made me appreciate the amazing place we were!
driving in on the dirt road we already saw 2 giraffes! ^^
we checked into the little bungalow and got 
settled before departing on our game drive.
{i spy my dad out the top window — haha}
ready to get going with our guide olaf! ^^
^^ zebra crossing the road in front of us!
the south africans pronounce it zeh-brah 
which i love so now i’ll be saying it that way :)
i spy a rhino ^^^^
we learned about the difference between white rhinos
and black rhinos. both are grey in color, but their
face shape is different and so are their personalities.
black rhinos are extremely dangerous, and white rhinos
are not. we saw both and it was crazy how different they
acted! the black rhinos acted aggressive and almost began
to charge us until the jeep had to reverse. when we saw
white rhinos later, they looked up and just kept eating!
^^ as we began, a thunderstorm rolled in and
as it passed the sky looked like heaven…literally.
i could not get over what i was seeing!
^^ look at this cool little treehouse we passed!

these water buffalo may not seem too exciting,
until you watch THIS video {be patient, it gets
good} and you realize they are the most amazing.
they stare at you like you owe them money, haha
we laughed so hard seeing them and loved them! ^^

^^ we came upon these giraffes and got SO close.
it was the prettiest light and they are gorgeous.
they are so graceful how they walk, and i had
never seen one run until seeing them in the wild. it 
was jaw-droppingly graceful to see those long legs lope!

^^ pretty zebras in the african dusk.
i was so in awe in this moment, the picture
does the gorgeous light and peaceful feeling
no justice. i love how the zebras looked right at us.
(remember, say it zeh-brah! :)

hi again giraffe friend! ^^

^^ so fun to ride around on this amazing drive for
3+ hours with my best friends. just missing chase!
^^ cute mom + more rhino! {the nice ones}

^^ we parked and watched the african sun 
slip behind the mountains in the prettiest 
sunset. it was so quiet and such a memory.
back at the camp, in our little hut! ^^
we were fighting over who got to sleep 
up in the little loft part — until we 
realized how hot it was up there…ha!

we enjoyed a traditional south african brai 
complete with lots of delicious meat, the
classic pap dish, vegetables, homemade bread,
and mango + papaya for dessert. the owner
stephanie made it all for us and we sat around
the camp eating, talking, learning about black
mamba snakes (!!!) and enjoying the night.

my mom and her maps…she LOVES them :)
what an amazing bucket list experience this was!!
nsele is a great place for a very authentic safari.
there are really posh lodges in other parts of SA,
but this is more stripped down where you’ll feel
like you’re truly with locals. it is a bit further outside
of joburg, but like i said — you feel like you’re in the
thick of it all! for more information see the website.
we saw even more animals the next day driving through
kruger park, so be watching for the next post complete
with elephants, hyenas, alligators, the works!!!
we will be doing one more safari in a different area
and park this weekend so i can report on a different
experience and area, but we are so glad to have
experienced nsele and this gorgeous place.