We had the pleasure of going on safari in Shamwari August 20 to 23, 2016. It was the highlight of our trip to South Africa, which also included several days in Capetown. Our intrepid guide/driver at Shamwari was Jacques: tall, dark, handsome, charming, and most importantly knowledgeable.
On our first full day, August 21, we had two safari drives, one in the morning and a second one in the afternoon. The afternoon drive had two goals: to see lions and elephants. We were able to see the northern lion pride, which included five lionesses and two cubs. When we first spotted them, they were all resting in the shade. Eventually, they all got up and left, probably to go hunting, according to Jacques.
There were two elephant sightings. The first one involved elephant foreplay, with both male and female urinating to test the waters—not quite ready yet.
As if this were not exciting enough, the second elephant sighting is forever seared into my brain. We were sitting in the Toyota Land Cruiser when an elephant began circling around our vehicle. It was so close that I could have reached out to touch it! As it was, I was so petrified that I could not move for fear of disturbing it and so did not have time to whip out my cell phone to take a quick picture. But details that I remember so vividly include: long elephant eyelashes framing intelligent eyes and rough, wrinkly grey skin, as portrayed in one of my favorite childhood Golden Books, The Saggy Baggy Elephant. It was the experience of a lifetime to be so near a magnificent wild creature! Thank you, Jacques, thank you, Shamwari!