On the day of checkout, you can choose to relax, sleep in or like me, get up one last time for the 5am wakeup, ready for the 6am game drive. Safari is the ultimate example of FOMO (fear of missing out). My young friend laughed at me when i said FOMO – “how do you know that?” which in Millennial to Gen X speak means “you’re old, how do you know that?”. In my opinion – you don’t want to be the person at breakfast/dinner to hear the tales and see the photos of what you missed out on – you pay more than enough to experience it, so you should get out and do so (there’s time to sleep on the flight home). What i did get everyday for the torture of the early wake-up call (i am not a morning person) was the gorgeous African sunrise – there was no way to be grumpy after that.
This would be my last day on safari, my safari that started twelve days ago in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Now three countries later, I was ready to ditch the drab clothes, my duffel bag and hiking shoes for my city uniform of jeans and cute shoes without the 5am wakeup call. I just had one more game drive to experience. Our morning drive was quiet and we had no luck finding animals for a while. Our guide decided to revisit the African Wild Dog, who I had seen yesterday but for the new guests was a treat. Just like yesterday, the dog was sleeping but not hiding among the trees so i could get a better photo.
With no Big 5 sightings this morning, we would focus on the smaller animals in the park. With over three pages of bird names in my guide book that the lodge provided, I wish i could remember all the names of the birds that we saw. Here are a few and if you know their names, please enlighten me as they fall into the “not city pigeon” category of my bird knowledge. So pretty and lucky for me they didn’t move so i could take a photo (there are so many others that i wasn’t quick enough for)
One of the smaller animals on safari is the dung beetle. Everyone has to play their part in society – not everyone gets glamorous work. While you are intent on seeing the “Big5” you need to realize that there are many other animals, small and large that deserve your attention as well.
In our continued search for animals, we left the birds and beetle and again tried the water – was no one thirsty this morning?
With a bit of luck, we saw tracks in the sand and this reminded me of my Botswana walking safari tracking animals from their footprints. Unlike Botswana, we would find the owner of the footprints relatively easy.
She eventually came out of the grass and walked away from us in the sand to meet another lion in the area.
During my time at Inyati and with six game drives, I had yet to see zebra or giraffe. While the zebra would prove elusive on the drives, I would finally see a giraffe in South Africa (I had seen many in Botswana). Giraffes were one of the highlights on my safari, such interesting and beautiful creatures.
My time on safari was now officially over as the lodge sent a game vehicle to pick me up during the morning drive. The lodge was good to do this, to allow me proper time for breakfast as well as last minute packing (and gift shop time) before my airport shuttle was set to arrive. This allows guests to get a final game drive in on their departing dayand not have lingering FOMO .
My driver and I had a quick ride back to the lodge but,of course, hit a bit of traffic along the way which was ok by me. The elephant was the first Big 5 animal I had seen in Botswana on my first day of safari so it was satisfying that the elephant was now my last animal on safari – a fitting ending to my story book safari trip.