Dreaming of the Road Less Traveled

Samburu Guide- Kenya

Botswana Leopard-

Samburu Guide – Kenya

Images of my some of my favorite past travel adventures. An adventure to Africa is life changing.

I feel like I have a PHD in Safari planning!

 
As you have been reading, I recently completed a phenomenal 16 day Educational with Africa Inscribed, hosted by their Directors Dylan Harriss and Gavin Ford
 
Properties we either saw or *stayed in were:
 
*1. Saxon Hotel – Johannesburg  10+
*2. Jack’s Camp-  Salt Pans on the edge of the Kalahari Desert Botswana  9
3. Camp Kalahari- Kalahari Desert Botswana 5
*4. Wilderness – Vumbura Plains – Okavango Delta Botswana 10+
5. Wilderness – Little Vumbura_ Okavango Delta Botswana 8+
6. Duma Tau- Linyanti Reserve Botswana  9
*7. Savuti- Linyanti Reserve Botswana  9
8. Victoria Falls Hotel- Vic Falls Zimbabwe 10
*9. Singita – Pamushana- Pamushana Reserve Zimbabwe 10+
*10. Royal Malewane- Thornybush Preserve South Africa 10++
*11. & Beyond – Exeter Leadwood- Sabi Sands South Africa  9+
12. Dulini- Sabi Sands South Africa 8(under renovation)
13. & Beyond – Exeter River Lodge – Sabi Sands South Africa  9
14. Singita Ebony- Sabi San Reserve South Africa  10+
15. Singita Boulders- Sabi Sand Reserve South Africa  10+
16. Lion Sands – 1933- Sabi Sands   9+
17. Lion Sands – Ivory- Sabi Sands       10
18. Lion Sands – River Lodge- Sabi Sands 8+
*19. Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge – Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve  10+
20.  Selati Camp – Sabi Sabi – Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve  9
21.  Little Bush Lodge- Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve  8
*22.  Singita Sweni – Kruger National Park   10+
23. Singita Lebombo _ Kruger National Park    10+
*24. Molori- Madikwe Game Reserve ( Malaria Free) South Africa    10 but expensive
25. Lion Sands – Madikwe Lodge – Madikwe  9
26. Mateya – Madikwe   10
27. Jaci’s Safari Lodge 5 and Jaci’s Tree Lodge- Madikwe    7
*28. JNB Intercontinental – Johannesburg Airport South Africa   9
 
 
The numbers after the resort names are the ratings I personally gave them -10 being the highest.
It really depends on the client but these were my personal impressions.  
I totally defer to Dylan on resort choices.  He is really picky.
 
When I say educational I really mean educational. At the beginning of the EDU we were given a manual which included all predeparture information for every country in Africa. We also received a map covering the destinations AI favor. We actually had a map session one afternoon, locating preferred camps in Botswana, SA and Zimbabwe on the map. We went over zones that were malaria free and those that were not. We went over destinations near beaches, marshes, plains, mountains, best game viewing, and best locations for particular game. Best locations for families, honeymooners, groups, couples, photographers or special interest groups.
 Each day we learned about birds, mammals(predators and grazers), birds, insects, trees, birds, grasses, seeds and the environmental impact on the climate on each area, did I mention birds? We also learned about animal conservation,  land conservation, water and the impact on the reserve we happened to be traveling in. We learned about resort management, land management, and safari planning down to details as to why one wants a private game vehicle- and the enviromental impact too many cars can have on the resort. I feel like we have a PHD in Safari planning.
We traveled in style, Dylan chartered a Pilatus PC12NG ( the largest Pilatus). And we learned what a luxury having a less pressured schedule can be.  
The biggest take away for me was the tremendous knowledge, creativeness, and passion  Dylan and Gavin have as a DMC.  Their excitement was contagious. We were on a high from the moment we landed to the moment we left. And it was so much fun!
We had the best group- we laughed all the time, and never stayed still for long. So we were the best exhausted group.
If there was a glitch, we never knew it. Dylan and Gavin travel to camps and resorts 200 days a year, so they REALLY know what they are talking about. We looked at high end, medium and low end camps. All came with value for the right client. They are very selective. 
It was a privilege to participate in this EDU with Africa Inscribed. I can’t wait to book Africa with them

Welcome to Dumatau Camp!!!! Linyanti Wildlife Refuge

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Savuti Camp – Linyanti Wildlife Refuge Botswana

Next stop was Savuti Camp, again a Wilderness Camp, on the Linyanti reserve ( northwest corner of Botswana). Savuti Camp is a wilderness area destination, far from the crowds and along the northern borders of this sandy, thorn-tree country. This is the northern most reach of the Linyanti river system, which in most years has been a barren, grassy gully. Four years ago, the water from the main river 17km’s away reached this and flowed down it creating a lifeline for the wildlife that has learnt to live in this harsh and forbidding zone. The result is a wildlife experience with a difference, and game drives are never sure what they will find. Tents were large and comfortable. Staff was outstanding; so friendly and happy to see us. They greeted us at the entrance with a song and dance, along with a wonderful bar and snacks. Love those gin and tonics out in the bush!!
Savuti is famous for it’s enormous elephant population. In dry season, one can see four to five hundred elephants at one time.

View from the tent, Vumbura Plains – Okavango Delta Botswana

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Vumbra Plains – Okavango Delta Botswana. View from the tent

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Vumbura Plains – Okavango Delta Botswana

Vumbra Plains is one of Wilderness resorts’ premier properties. Each of the suites has been constructed with a totally private view of the delta floodplains, and are shaded by ancient, tall Jackalberry trees. The rooms are all open-plan in design and have a sunken lounge, spacious bedroom, over-large shower (in-door and outside too), dressing area and writing desk. The outside decks have a comfortable sala, with large comfy cushions to snooze on and of course a small plunge pool for those torridly hot days! There is 24 hour electricity and bed lights for those comfy evenings with a book just before going to sleep in spacious softness, with percale sheets and duvets. In the winter months, a hot-blanket or a hot water-bottle are available. These cabins are a luxury indeed. All of the suites are linked to the main lodge by a raised wooden walkway at the back of the suites that allows the hippo and other game unobstructed access to the river, and allows safe access for guests too. The main lodge with a large fronted service area is spacious, has a dining area, a lounge and a seating area that is slightly separate from the main lounge.
A birdwatcher’s dream, one can sit out on their private deck and be totally entertained.
We took small boats down the river late one afternoon and had sundowners on the boats all tied together. Sunsets in Africa are unforgettable.
Game drives were terrific-hippos, lions, giraffe , elephant, Kudu, Oryx, ending with an incredible leopard sighting. I really hated to leave Vumbra Plains after a very short two days.

Lilac Breasted Roller- Okavanga Delta

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Leopard tracking Vumbura Plains- Okavanga Delta

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Lion sighting

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Lion’s call

Jack’s has no electricity after 5PM so when we returned to our tents for bed, we had lanterns. An interesting experience for me, I had never turned on a lantern, and when I move it it immediately went out- plummeting me in complete blackness. Fortunately I could put my hands on the trusty flashlight that Africa Inscribed had supplied us, ran out waving it, and got one of the staff to teach me the ins and outs of lighting and shutting down a lantern. Another new skill.
Next morning I was awakened by a lion’s roar- what a wakeup call!!
Game drive and bush breakfast were in store. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day. Then we hopped back on our lovely PC12 and flew off to Vumbra Plains

Trance dance with the BaSarwa Bushmen

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Walking with the Bushmen

We had the pleasure of taking a walk with the local bushmen. Some the new skills we learned were eating sour berries, catching small wildlife with a stick trap, and cleaning a scorpion’s eyes. As the sun was setting, the tribe went into a trance dance in a circle around a fire. A totaling memorizing experience, it depends on the tribal chief’s mood. He and 2 elders dance around a fire with the tribal ladies chanting. He works himself into a trance, contacting his ancestors. Watching the fire, under a canopy of endless stars, with the dancing and chanting is an experience I will never forget.

Not shy- Meerkat at Jack’s Camp Botswana

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Checking out the Meerkats – Jack’s Camp Botswana

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Sunrise Jack’s camp

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Jack’s Camp

First stop was Jack’s Camp. The camp, named after Jack Bousefield, a legendary pioneer of this region, is a permanent, tented camp built with considerable elegance, understated style and by the soft lights of the paraffin lamps in the evenings. There are animals and birds that live here, not found anywhere else. The tents are decorated with Persian carpets, old period furniture, beds with wooden headboards and decorative drapes. Hot water and flush toilets add a comforting touch and the drapes around the beds in the bedroom area keep out the Mosquitos at night. Safari Chic.

Lily Flower Okavango Delta

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The Glorius Saxon Hotel- Johannesburg

Having breakfast at the divine Saxon Hotel where Pinky found fresh sliced mango for me. Their breakfast buffet was beautifully presented. 
“An expression of five star ethnic African elegance”is how the Saxon described and the attention to detail is amazing. The Saxon is better know to many as the location where Nelson Mandela edited his biography.  I wish I had more time to spend in Johannesburg. Today we are flying off to Botswana – Jack’s Camp on the edge of the Kalahari desert.