We woke up early, just before dawn, it was a clear, cool, crisp morning; perfect conditions for a game day driving around the Park. We ate a light breakfast of muffins, fresh fruit and coffee before hopping into our 4×4 and driving into the African savannah.

It was only a few minutes before we came across a herd of hippos basking in the cool waters of a pond. They watched us watching them as they sporadically slipped underwater before slowly resurfacing. We sit in awe of these gentle giants before continuing on our way.

Dawn had broken and the great African plains were teeming with life with herds of giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and cheeky warthog grazing on the sweet green grass. The crisp morning air looked like energetic zebras playing a kind of animal game of tag: the younger ones would try to bite each other’s hocks; in defense, one would sit up and try to bite back. This game sees a dozen zebras form a bizarre but fun half-standing, half-sitting configuration, followed by a fast-paced chase across the savannah. We watched this funny show for several minutes.

The zebras played merrily until the great stallion let out a deafening warning squeal. The pack stopped moving immediately; frozen in position. At that moment we saw a lioness casually wandering across the exposed plain only about two hundred feet from the herd of zebras.

We held our breath as adrenaline coursed through our veins. Where are we about to see a carnage? In some ways we wanted the zebra to run for its life and in another way we wanted to witness the ultimate in wildlife viewing. It wasn’t long before our leader pointed out that the lioness was too exposed and clearly not hungry enough to hunt. So the zebra was safe for another day. To tease the zebras, the lioness found a quiet place in the warm sun, lay down and fell asleep.

We watch the grasses of nervous wildlife slowly move away from the lion’s position until they are safe and out of harm’s way. It was a couple of hours before we realized it and our growling stomachs led us to suggest going ahead to find somewhere to stretch our legs and enjoy brunch.

We continue on our way stopping to see herds of buffalo and giraffe before arriving at our brunch stop. We enjoyed a full meal of coffee, juice, fresh fruit, and French toast. With our bellies now full, we pack up and continue on our gaming journey.

10 minutes later we saw a leopard perched lazily on a branch of an acacia tree. His belly was full and he lazed happily while he digested his food; completely unperturbed by our presence. Not even a roaming herd of elephants seemed to bother the leopard.

We spent the day wandering around the game park at our own pace; having the independence of our own vehicle meant we didn’t have to rush around trying to spot the next animal like the packed tour vehicles seemed to be doing. We saw the Big 5 as well as 3 of the Little 5, numerous wildlife and birds to top off a truly memorable day. We made it back to camp just in time to watch the sun set over the plains. For dinner we enjoy a barbecue feast of tender meat, salads and garlic bread; washed down with a bottle of South African red wine. We retreated to our freestanding tents and crawled into our camp beds before falling asleep to the wild sounds of the African bush.

It was just another day on the fully guided self-drive 4×4 adventure from Cape Town to Nairobi with Africa Expedition Support.