As mentioned, Nottens' accomodations are completed structures rather than the tents at Tanda Tula. Here are some photos of our room:
As we expected, we did get to see some different types of animals at Notten's and had some more great experiences! Here are some of the highlights:
According to our guide, these are very rare to glimpse in this part of Africa. He said he sometimes goes six months without seeing any. However, on our second evening drive, we spotted this guy sitting on top of a large termite mound staring out over the open fields.
This time we came across a group of four female lions snoozing in a field on our morning drive.
We saw many more buffalo at Notten's, including a group of about 8-10 grazing in a clearing. This is the only time we saw our guide get a little nervous. Some of the buffalo are more used to the safari vehicles than others. Because the reserve is not fenced in, animals come and go from other areas of the park and beyond. Those that are not as used to seeing vehicles and people can sometimes react unpredictably. We saw a buffalo freak out when we got too close, and our guide quickly moved the vehicle away from the area. Nevertheless, we got some great shots!
For such an elusive animal, we got lucky twice and saw more wild dogs at Sabi Sands. We saw these guys coming, turned off the engine and waited. Three dogs came right by our vehicle, barely paying us any attention. Later that night, we saw a solitary hyena prowling around for food and captured a few shots, though he seemed a bit put off by us. Even our guide, Thomas, could not believe our luck and the number of animals we were spotting, saying It's like a zoo out here tonight!
After breakfast on our second day at Notten's we went on a guided walk through some of the local areas to learn more about some of the interesting plants and smaller animals one might not see on a game drive. We soon came across a local warthog named Philemon.
We made the six hour drive back to Johannesburg, as the return flights from Hoedspruit and Nelspruit were very expensive. This is another very tedious drive due to lots of severely potholed roads, more trucks, and curvy mountain passes. If possible, we'd avoid this drive next time around.
Overall, the safari experience was amazing and a highlight of our voyage so far. We would highly recommend it to anyone and hope to do another someday.