African Safari Extraordinaire: A Dream Safari for First-time Safari Adventurers
From Johannesburg, we flew to Hoedspruit, to begin our game drives. This is where we start to get a real taste of being on a safari. Our first stay was at King’s Camp. If you have a chance to select either of these accommodations in Timbavati and Sabi Sands I would certainly recommend them. It wasn’t disappointing in the least. This is one of the good things if one books a safari with an experienced safari travel agent. They have already been to many of the places they recommend (or refuse to recommend). You don’t have to worry about poor accommodations. Accommodations can run the gamut from poor to luxurious and it is not necessarily the cost that determines that.
Both King’s Camp and Simbambili are private reserves and our experiences were definitely up close and personal. The camps were phenomenal, with staff attending to each person’s needs at every turn. The food was just wonderful! Our rooms were incredibly large with a large viewing deck where frequently a warthog or a herd of impala would walk by our ‘living room’.
Our first game drive was a real adventure, ending up with our group tracking a leopard with our Ranger and Tracker…..en route getting stuck in a ditch, which was a really great adventure. Those of you who have been on safari already know and are prepared to expect anything while on safari. The group had a fun time during this experience out in the bush, and as we finally got going again, the leopard had not moved, still laying and sleeping in the bush. A less experienced tracker would have never found that leopard, and certainly never been able to get as close to him as we did, but Patrick and Albert at King’s Camp made it happen.
Most people go on safari and never see a leopard because leopards are so elusive. This safari we saw five of them, between the camps. In Simbambili, we saw a small leopard cub in a tree, a first for me too. Leopards are usually hidden, but to see one in a tree is remarkable. In another incident, a leopard was so close if I put my hand outside the vehicle, which I dared not, of course, I could have petted him. I had to resist the urge, because that leopard was such a beautiful creature.
We continued to see all of the Big Five; Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo, (BRELL, as my client claimed this acronym to remember them). There were quite a few other animals we had the pleasure to see, some that many people have never heard of. Our four night game drive was simply one of the best I’d ever been on. For all the first timers that were with me, they too, found it an exhilarating and thrilling experience. I’m not sure they realize how fortunate they were to have seen all this on their first visit, but take it from someone who has been on ten years worth of game drives, they were truly fortunate.
At night the skies were so clear we could even see the Milky Way and all the constellations. In addition to having great Rangers and Trackers, we had a guide ‘Laz’ at Simbambili who pointed out all the constellations, many stars, and the planets. Now, it doesn’t get any better than that, a Ranger and an Astronomer.
From there it was on to Sun City, the ‘Las Vegas’ of Africa with its huge five and six star Sun Hotels International properties, casinos, shops and elegance. Opulent, was the term one person in our group called it. That it was! Most people would never believe Africa offered anything like this, and I was as pleased as my clients that they had an opportunity to experience it.
For some the journey ended here, and for others, an optional three-night extension to the strength and full-power of Victoria Falls, a day in Chobe and an up close and personal experience with the elephants. That’s simply a wonderful way to end a long, but exciting African safari if you can afford the extra cost and time.
My Dream Safari offered some of everything, and something for everyone. Many thanks to all who were instrumental in making that journey a success!
Kay Trotman, (aka Safari Kay)