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. The greatest thing about it was that I got to experience it with my parents and they enjoyed it just as much as I did if not more.
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, simply meaning “journey” and is the word used in most East African countries and central Africa, whereas the preferred term in Southern Africa is “game drive” because that is exactly what they are… drives undertaken (either in one’s own vehicle, or in one driven by a “ranger”), in order to see and perhaps photograph “game”, or wildlife. Personally, to me, it makes more sense to call it this, but then again I guess when you’re advertising it, safari sounds more glam.
The Game Drive
So we got 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 I’d advise to do it in the morning because the sun gets HOT HOT at like 10;30am. There is also the option of a night game drive but to be quiet honest night game drives in opinion don’t seem as live and the mosquitos at night are not the one either.
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, so incredibly patient and you could literally talk to him about anything.
One of the main things that I want to focus on within this blog is to bring light onto the issue of climate change. Obviously everybody bangs on about this issue and it’s quite obvious that it’s something that needs to be dealt with however when you see it with your own two eyes, the damage that it causes, how it alters things within a country, how it affects wildlife and everything like that it really changes the way that you see everything because that’s what happened to me when I endured on this experience.
One of the things that I learnt and that was very evident whilst I was on this trip is the fact that the park has to use a water pump in order for the animals to get enough water because of how dry the dams and the rivers are, to me this was so heartbreaking, to think that this is what climate change is causing. The drought is so bad that it actually affects the electricity in Zimbabwe, from 9 am to 5 pm our lodge had to use a generator in order for there to actually be electricity. Even from seeing the actual falls itself my parents spoke on how it looks drier than it used to be.
Think about this, if the worst comes to light, will the next generation even be able to experience game drives, will they even be able to see the animals that we have seen in our lifetime? 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). On the game drive, we didn’t really see as many animals as I expected; we saw giraffes, zebras, elephants etc but we didn’t get to see any lions which I was kind of upset about however the overall experience itself was amazing. The main reason for this was because of the lack of water, so do you see the problem here and how big it actually is.
In addition to this problem, poaching within the park is also still a big issue, imagine people travel all the way from the Democratic Republic of Congo just to poach, I’ll never understand it. Imagine decreasing a population just for your own personal gain. Come on. This Elephant died of natural causes but just know that at least 100 elephants are killed every day due to poaching.
Another 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 is 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.
We also got the opportunity to eat breakfast with the most stunning view when we took a break, 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. 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
- Suncream – sun protection all day every day, no matter what
- Insect repellent – I really did not think that we would need this until a bunch of insects kept attacking me
- 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/