Three years ago I visited Africa – South Africa, Zambia and Botswana, it was my first time and I vowed it would not be my last. I wanted to share the awesome experience with other like- minded people.
I fulfilled my promise just recently, having returned with my small group from travelling to Zimbabwe & South Africa.
Our first stop – The magnificent, exhilarating and powerful Victoria Falls, a World Heritage UNESCO site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, live up to their local name of Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders). A helicopter ride over the Falls is the icing on the cake. The historic Edwardian grandeur Victoria Falls Hotel is just the place to relax and wonder through the century old gardens where you can encounter an elephant or warthogs on the lawn!! Ending the evening with dinner & cocktails and a memorable sunset over the Zambezi bridge.
A four day break at Africa’s oldest city, Cape Town, followed and the weather was just right for going up to the famous Table Mountain, which I had missed on my first visit. High Tea at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is to die for.
Now we start on our adventure – Shamwari Game Reserve – Long Lee Manor luxury suites and the award winning pampering, delicious meals and experienced rangers come together. We were all very excited to go on our first safari game drive, the early morning ones greeted us with magnificent sunrises and the afternoon ones ended with Sun Downer drinks and brilliant multi-coloured sunsets.
On one such game drive we were faced with a charging elephant – an ominous feeling! Morne put us at ease with his quick and experienced manoeuvres. Another time a herd of elephants just sauntered past us; cameras clicking catching on video and still this spectacular scene.
A couple of other memorable experiences happened at Namibiti Game Reserve, we were staying at Cheetah Lodge; a different accommodation experience, closer to nature, in a lodge overlooking one of the many waterholes favoured by various animals.
Nambiti Game Reserve will be remembered for two lasting memories – The Dating Lion and Lioness all captured on film. It was absolutely incredible to be present and witness this natural part of life in the animal kingdom.
There are never ending surprises in the African bush, what are we going to see, hear, smell on this morning drive? Just as the sun rose and the frost started melting on the grass, the trained eye of Jamie, our ranger, picked up 2 lion cubs.
It was the most heartbreaking scene, which thankfully ended on a happy note.
The two cubs (from a litter of 6) were handicapped, with hip problems, and were lagging behind their mum and siblings. They were dragging their bodies up the ridge slow and steady winning the race. Then big brother cub came down the ridge to help his siblings reach the rest of the family! It brought tears to our eyes and if we could have clapped we would have done so. One must be silent and motionless during these close encounters.
South Africa offers lots more than safaris – The Drakensburg Mountain range and specifically Cathedral Peak, is paradise of fresh mountain air and exquisite surroundings, renowned for its natural beauty. It is walker/hiker/cyclist paradise.
An unforgettable experience through out.
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