I should probably warn you guys that this post is going to feature a whole bunch of meat, but you can’t eat any of it. In fact, try and they might eat you, or at least that’s what I was told. With that knowledge tucked away in my little brain, I remained incredibly well behaved, kept my arms inside the truck and trundled my way through an African private game reserve and survived, lions, cheetahs and all.

How did all this come about? Well you know how there are those days when work is so bad you want to cry? There are those, and then there are days when your boss tells you she’s taking the team away for three days on a safari trip and you’re like holy shit, this job really isn’t so bad after all! I had one such day a few weeks ago (actually, I think I had one of each) and finally on Tuesday, we were shuttled off to Welgevonden Private Game Reserve for three days of relaxation and boozing bonding.

It was my first ever game trip and aside from images burned into my brain from years of watching The Lion King re-runs, I didn’t know what to expect. In reality though, it wasn’t all that different to The Lion King, except that Pumbaa is much smaller in real life than he appears on screen.

Here are some of the photos that I took with my point and shoot camera, which if nothing else, shows you how damn close we were to the animals…




lion stalking a herd of wildebeest

This was pretty insane, watching the lion stalk a herd of wildebeest. He was a slow bugger though and we waited and waited for him to just make a move already but alas he didn’t.

Pumbaa! I mean, warthogs

Pumbaa! These guys are hilariously cute and way smaller than I imagined them to be. Small, curious little things and they trot like the little pigs that they are. I want to take one home.

zebras’ bottoms

Since I already shared a photo of zebras up top (with a one week old bubba!), I thought I’d share some of the zebras’ bottoms. So stripy and pretty, even on their ass.

mama rhinoceros and a baby rhino!

More babies! Six month old baby rhino with his mama. This was my prize spot, like literally if there was one thing I wanted to see out there it was a baby rhino. WIN!

lioness coming nice and close to our truck

cheetah stretching against a tree

Definitely the coolest and scariest part of the game drive, when this cheetah came within metres of our truck and did a little stretch on the tree.


To say that I loved my first game experience would not do it justice. It was priceless, I’m speechless and no amount of my waffling on this blog can define how awesome it feels to see these wild animals up close in their natural habitat.

If only I were so comfortable in nature. Sadly, I thrived in the fact that after each game drive, we could retreat to our five star lodge and drown ourselves in luxury… I wish I could tell you more about our lodge and you know, tell you to go there, but unfortunately it’s privately owned by the awesome company that I work for and not up for grabs.

Oh what the hell, I’m gonna talk about it anyway.

It’s called Mziki Lodge (but not the same as this public Mziki lodge) and has awesome stuff like outdoor showers, sun chairs and a swimming pool. The main house is lush; there’s a fireplace, well stocked bar, cosy lounges and even board games which this competitive lot almost killed each other over so um, not a great idea to do that whilst drunkety drunk.

The lodge is run by Madeleine and Roy – who’s also the ranger – and hey! What’s a food blog without food? Madeleine fed us well over the three days, with breakfasts including the derrrrricious scrambled eggs with salmon served on a corn fritter, lunch spreads and…

… we even had a braai in a boma last night. That’s basically a BBQ in an enclosed outdoor area for those of you who, like me, were not in the know.

Don’t be too jealous, Welgevonden also has a number of other lodges where you can stay – check them out here.

Anyway, the fun is now over and I need to knuckle down for 1.5 weeks of nothing-but-meetings. Except for that thing we call a weekend which if I can salvage, I might just check out the Lion Park here in Bryanston. At least I’m back on wifi!

Oh and here’s another photo of a wild beast for you, just for kicks.

Have a good weekend, everyone! xx

19 Thoughts on “Welgevonden Private Game Reserve: where I met Pumbaa!

  1. I cannot believe that you saw so many animals! It looks amazing.

  2. Charmaine on June 23, 2011 at 11:04 pm said:

    How I miss home..stunning photos Cat so glad you could experience that part of our world!

  3. excellent photos. the warthogs are damn cute!

  4. Nicola on June 24, 2011 at 7:20 am said:

    heya Cat – I am so jealous, that place looks fantastic – can’t believe DD own their own game reserve!! …if only I had known that earlier…. 😉

  5. Esther on June 24, 2011 at 9:25 am said:

    hey Cat, thanks for sharing the photos and the lively blog. It’s an awesome experience and I have certainly enjoyed the moments we all shared in the game park and in our long bus ride. Coolest!:)

  6. So jealous. There’s a restaurant here called Braai, but I’d much rather experience a real one like you did. Such pretty photos!

  7. Warthogs are so f**ing COOL! But that last and final wild animal,..oooh… she was scary.

  8. Loreen on June 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:

    Is it cold there? You look rugged up… Safari is pretty amazing isn’t it? Couldn’t get the experience anywhere else…

  9. Loreen on June 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm said:

    Ok ignore my last comment… I forgot its in the Southern Hemisphere, haha!

  10. Tehbus: I know, I think I was UBER lucky to spot so many all in one day!

    Charmaine: I’m so glad I did too… can’t wait to see you here end July 🙂

    mc: Aren’t they?? I want to take one home hehe.

    Nicola: haha I know, I didn’t know all this time either. Now I’ll have to try and wing another trip back!

    Esther: I know! Great to meet you by the way, hope next time I see you is in Singapore 🙂

    Lara: Yeah, a braai in a boma. Can’t get more traditional than that!

    Linda: I WANT ONE! (not the final wild animal)

    Loreen: It was fucking freeeeeeeeezing.. 6am game drive omg I almost died.

  11. What an amazing experience! :O Everyone that I know that has been to somewhere similar has been completely wowed by it. And hehe I’m glad you showed us your lodge because at first I was like “Aww no!” when you hinted you might not show it 😛

  12. Jelise on June 25, 2011 at 3:06 pm said:

    Love it!

  13. Gosh I know someone who works in the same org! At least I think I got the name right. What a cool place to work for!!!

    Gosh how I want to go to a Safari now! It has been on my to-go list since my Dad came back from an African one years ago with interesting tales!

  14. Lorraine: hehe you know me too well, I can’t help myself! Yeah you and the Mr should definitely do a safari trip one day!

    Jelise: love YOU!

    Corsage: really? What country is your friend working in?

  15. WOW! You are so lucky to have seen all those animals in their natural inhabitant! What a wonderful experience!

  16. jenny on June 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm said:

    Oh WOW! WOW! I have never seen animals like this up close! you are so lucky to have gone with your company… it looks amazing! Great photos!

  17. Oh wow that looks AMAZING! I love the idea of an indoor bbq, that looks like so much fun.

    p.s. reading this post reminds me of The Lion King! You mentioning Pumbaa probably contributed a little bit to that too, haha. 😉

  18. Ooooh! It looks like sooo much fun! (and looking good, btw!)

  19. Maria: I know, and lucky to have seen them in just two drives! It’s so surreal seeing them in nature and not on tv lol!

    jenny: Yes, VERY lucky and now I definitely want to go back on my own accord.

    Su-yin: well the BBQ is outdoors but in an enclosed area, like there is a fence to keep the wild animals out! All i thought of was the Lion King too!

    Su-Lin: what me? the wild animal? 😉

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