So this Christmas I was in Victoria Falls aka one of the Wonders of the World and I had the opportunity to go on a game drive. Which can I say was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life, I learnt so much and literally could not think of a better way to end my year. For me, nothing will ever beat the beauty of being surrounded by nature, everything about a game drive is so peaceful; the bush, the sounds and just watching the animals in their natural habitat. Isn’t it just incredible to think that we live among such beauty?
If there is one thing that you ever need to do if you visit Victoria Falls, it definitely has to be a game drive. It is truly an experience that you’ll never forget and one that you’ll tell you’re children about – imagine how cool it would be to tell them that you’ve seen an elephant or giraffe in real life!
What is the difference between a game drive and a safari?
In all honesty, there is no difference between a game drive and a safari – Safari is a Swahili word, which simply means “journey” and is the word used in most East African countries and central Africa, whereas the preferred term in Southern Africa is “game drive”. The reason for this is because that is exactly what they are – drives that are undertaken in a “ranger”, in order to see and photograph “game”, or wildlife.
The Game Drive
There were two options available to us for the drive; one was a morning game drive and the other was an evening game drive. Naturally, we chose the morning game drive as we thought that it would be a nice way to start our day and help us wake up a little. Just think about the beauty of watching the sunrise on a rover with the wind blowing whilst you drink your morning coffee and watch animals in the animal kingdom start their day. Not a lot of people can say they have experienced a morning like that.
We were picked up from our beautiful accommodation Lokuthula Lodge at 6 am and can I just say, the sun in Victoria Falls during December is nothing to play with so if you are going to do a game drive whether it would be morning or evening I would highly advise you to make sure you have your factor 50 on and some insect repellent! NEVER leave the house without it.
The drive lasted approximately 3 hours and our driver was so sweet and polite, he and my dad got along so well, he was so informative – he knew the park in and out, no matter what question you asked him, no matter how stupid it sounded he had an answer for it, he was so incredibly patient and you could literally talk to him about anything. If there is one thing that Zimbabweans are remarkable at, it is definitely their hospitality, they’re so welcoming, kind and always have the biggest smiles on their faces!
The Park houses all of the big five except the rhino ( this is obviously due to the fact that Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Park is in between the countries Zambia and Zimbabwe). Sadly, when we were there I think they were all sleeping but we did get close to a heard of zebras and it was so surreal to see them up close. I feel like when you see things like this in person, things that you have always seen on the TV screens it exceeds your expectations in so many ways because you are in such awe!
An interesting fact that we learnt whilst on the game drive was the fact that male giraffes have bigger hearts weighing up to 26 pounds which are approximately 11.8kg! When a giraffe lifts its head, blood vessels in the head direct almost all of the blood to flow to the brain, and not to other parts of the head such as their cheeks, tongue, or skin. These animals are so incredibly tall, it’s insane! You always hear that they’re the tallest animals alive but when you see it in person you really get to see how ridiculously tall they are, especially when I compare them to my 5ft self. It is actually mindblowing.
We didn’t think that the drive could get any better then, we got the opportunity to take a break and eat breakfast with the most stunning 360 views overlooking the Park. It was the perfect moment to take everything in- I cannot express to you enough how incredible this experience was and I am so grateful that I got to experience it with my parents. For our breakfast, we got the option of muesli with Greek yogurt and a side of fruit and muffins along with some tea, coffee, soft drinks or water. Everything about that entire drive was just PERFECT and everyone that knows me knows how much of a perfectionist I am but attention to detail is clearly something that River Wild Safari’s pride themselves in and I am all for it because it made my trip!
I am telling you, if you are ever in Southern Africa this is something you HAVE to do!
Things I realised you need on a game drive/ safari
Really and truly I was so unprepared, or should I saw we were unprepared despite thinking we were very prepared. Here are some of the things that you cannot forget;
- Binoculars – some of the animals were kind of far to see so this would help you to see them a lot closer.
- A hat – even though you’re covered most the time, the sun is STRONG especially around December (rain season)
- Suncream – sun protection all day every day, no matter what
- Insect repellent – just for precaution
- A pair of sunglasses – again the sun is STRONG
- And of course, a camera – so you can collect memories
Thank you again to River Wild Safaris for this experience! In case, you guys wanna check them out, here is a link to their site – https://www.riverwildsafaris.com/