World Travel – Africa Adventure 2022 – Satara Rest Camp

The first 24 hours in Kruger National Park were incredible and our stay at Skukuza Camp was one of my favorites of the trip but we only spent the one night there before we headed north to our next destination – Satara Rest Camp.

Remember I mentioned that we saw the Big Five within our first 24 hours in Kruger National Park and 4 of those were on the first afternoon?  Well, shortly after checking out of Skukuza camp and heading to our next camp, all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I spotted movement and BOOMa female African Leopard was just walking out of the brush parallel to the car!  Once again, I screamed LEOPARD and almost punched out the window pointing as she wove back and forth from the brush and then towards the road where she crossed directly in front of our vehicle!! Second proudest moment for me – I spotted the first leopard of the trip!! 

We were obviously pumped and had so much adrenaline that our drive, which was technically a 2 hour drive turned into a 6 hour drive, taking our time and hitting as many different roads as possible because you just never know whats around each bend.  She was our only leopard of the day but it set the tone for the upcoming days – Satara is known as the “Cat Camp” because it’s the best camp for viewing lion, leopard and cheetah.  We drove all day, and arrived at Satara just as the sun was setting after a full day of seeing elephants, impala, giraffe, warthogs, 1 leopard, zebra, dwarf mongoose (squeee), kudu, klipspringer, a secretary bird, barred owls, wildebeest, ostrich, vervet monkeys, and the magnificent baobab tree, also known as the tree of life!! 

Satara camp checked in Aug 29 out on Sept 1, 2022 –

Our group checked into 3 of the Satara Rest Camp Bungalows.  These bungalows were situated on the perimeter fence and had a view over the African bush. Each bungalow had an en-suite bathroom with shower and was fully air-conditioned plus a fully equipped outdoor kitchen fitted with a cooker top, combination fridge/freezer in a monkey proof cage, cutlery, crockery, and utensils and access to an outside braai (barbeque) facility.  Satara camp also had a full restaurant, a quick service that was perfect for coffee and breakfast on the go, plus a large grocery  store and souvenir shop. 
We had dinner at the restaurant, did a little shopping before the stores closed and got to bed at a decent time because we were going to start the next day with a 4:30 AM wake up call for our first Satara morning drive… and it’s one I will never ever forget.  Here come the happy tears…

Side note about the vervet monkey with the cashews – someone, not in our party, was unloading their car into their bungalow and kept leaving their door open and I witnessed one sneak into the vehicle and grab food – then they proceeded to bring the snacks to our porch area and destroyed everything LOL!! (Think poop everywhere) You can’t trust them for even one-second and they can be super aggressive so unfortunately if they get something – it’s officially theirs!! Never ever feed the wildlife on purpose! 

Our first early morning safari was FREEZING cold and was a little underwhelming for the first hour or so with the exception of seeing a beautiful barn owl by spotlight before the sun came up.  We were getting close to the time where we needed to turn around and head back without having seen much besides some of the plentiful herd animals… then all of a sudden our driver slows down and points.  Off in the distance, hidden amongst the tall grass I could see little faces and ears poking out of the bush – LIONS, well over a dozen of them!! Moms and babies all resting from they’re nightly hunt, many of them still covered in blood from the meal.  It was surreal to see so many of them together for the first time and we were lucky to just sit for a while and observe them and listen to them communicate with all their grumbles, head bonks, and calls off in the distance between groups.  Moms cleaning the babies, babies wrestling and snoozing, but everyone was always on alert and with good reason.  Also hidden in the brush was a spotted hyena waiting for scraps or for someone to let their guard down, which never happened because eventually one of the females let him know he wasn’t welcome.  I just cried and honestly looking at these images as I write this now, I am crying again – This is one of those moments and memories in life that just changes you forever. I knew this experience was going to be hard to top but we were certainly going to try!  

We headed back to camp with a lovely baby elephant and baby zebra sighting along the way, grabbed breakfast and hit the road again for another full day of driving around with the adrenaline of the morning safari and it did not disappoint.  

Our first sighting on our own was unique-The southern ground hornbill which is classed as vulnerable to extinction globally, luckily we had several sightings throughout our trip so here’s hoping they continue to thrive.  Within minutes we spotted a lone lioness far out in the brush and within seconds she laid down and practically disappeared before our eyes.  It really makes you wonder how many animals are really just right in front of you whether you see them or not – amazing and scary!
As we continued to explore the area around Satara we saw our first tree squirrel, the largest group of impala so far, warthogs at a waterhole, the cutest fluffy zebra baby, a male and female ostrich, our first sighting for hippos, a fish eagle, and helmeted guinea fowl.  It was an eventful day but ended with a race against the sunset to get back to camp and one of the most incredible sightings and experiences with one my new favorite animals – Hyenas!  

I won’t ever forget this moment.  It was almost dusk and out of the tall grass emerges a lone hyena.  He makes eye contact with us and proceeds to walk directly in front of us to meet up with two others that we didn’t even see on the other side.  All three of them made eye contact and walked directly towards us.  We quickly put the car in reverse because Hyenas are known to bite and attack tires, the last thing you need at sunset is a flat tire! They crossed off into the tall grass beside us so we took the opportunity to turn around and head back to camp and as we started driving we had company again- the Hyena was running down the road beside us and it was magic!

Here are some fun iPhone photos of this leg of the trip to give perspective on how close we were for certain sightings and that I didn’t always need a big fancy camera to make lasting memories. Also the only respectable way to get a selfie with wildlife – NEVER pay to play, touch, hold, or get your photo taken with wild animals.

The next day was again spent in the Satara area exploring on our own for most of the day.  We got an early start at the local watering hole in hopes of seeing some predators starting their day with a drink but instead watched some playful hippo for a while.  A very cool sighting happened when we spotted a honey badger just off doing his thing and the adorable mean-muggin red-crested korhaan plus baboons with babies just waking up for the day – so cute! 

Leopard sighting number two happened in the middle of the day which is unusual as they are typically sleeping but both of our leopard sightings to this point happened around noon or one.  This absolutely handsome young male leopard was stalking a herd of impala until too many cars noticed him and he sulked into the brush and disappeared before our eyes.  Forever my leopard boy love.
We spent some time bird watching and had lovely sightings of more southern ground hornbills, magpies, and yellow billed horn bills, plus a feisty elephant and hissing Nile crocodile before heading back to camp to get ready for our last night tour in Satara. This night tour got very cold, very quickly and sadly didn’t see any cats but we did see a beautiful pearl-spotted owl, the silliest baby giraffe who was trying to hide behind a bush and the cutest fluffiest baby hyena – triple squeeeee!! The evening ended with a beautiful sunset and a cookout as a group for our last night in Satara! 

We checked out of Satara Rest Camp and headed to our next destination which I will save for my next post! Olifants Rest Camp here we come!!

Did you miss any of the previous posts?

Read our full trip Itinerary here!
Read Day One – Germany here!
Read Day Two – Cape Town here!
Read Day Three – Wine Tour here!
Read Day Four – Penguins & Whales here!
Read Day Five – Skukuza Camp here!

*** All photos taken on iPhone 12 Pro Max, Canon 80D, 60D or Insta360***

4 thoughts on “World Travel – Africa Adventure 2022 – Satara Rest Camp

  1. I love these blogs about your Africa trip. Your photos are absolutely amazing. Feels at times like I’m there with you.

  2. Thank you for letting me go on this wonderful trip with you guys. Your descriptions bring it to life for me. Love the cat sightings. The photo of the baby giraffe hiding behind that bush was so darn cute. That looked like a great place to stay too.

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