The Wild Side

Before coming to South Africa, I imagined safari was going to be like the movie The Lion King. I dreamt of vast plains, the beating sun, and stampeding herds. Many places in Africa fit this description, but the landscape of the continent is very diverse.

Table Mountain in Cape Town is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the world. It’s also one of Africa’s most visited tourist attractions.

Some famous people have reached the top of Table Mountain: Queen Elizabeth II, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Oprah Winfrey. From his prison cell on Robben Island, Nelson Mandela could see Table Mountain. To him, it was symbol of hope and freedom.

Hiking to the top of Table Mountain looks difficult. I learn the steep climb takes about three hours. Lucky for me, in 1929, the cableway opened. This makes the journey to the top only five minutes long.

From the mountaintop to the Atlantic Ocean, the ground looks like a thick green carpet. I enjoy exploring the beaches, gardens, and mountains of Cape Town. But, my favorite part of visiting South Africa is going on safari!

Safari drives begin early in the morning. Animals nap during the heat of the day once the hot African sun rises.

I wake at 5:30am and climb into an open-topped jeep. With the ranger and tracker on the lookout, I saw: antelope, lots of warthogs, wildebeest, zebra, and even rhinos! For me, the best part of safari was seeing several giraffe graze from the tall trees. I never imagined being this close to animals in nature.

The ranger points out animal footprints and droppings. This is an easy way to track animals and see what direction they are headed. It is easy to spot the elephant droppings. They were almost the size of my head! Gross, I know.

By the end of my safari, I have spotted four of the Big Five. The leopards stayed hidden.

I’m in awe of the wildlife I’ve discovered during my South African adventure. I have new appreciation for how amazing our world is. Hopefully, we will protect the Earth so that people can keep exploring the world and its wildlife for many years.