I‘m not really an animal person, so it came as a bit of a surprise to my friends when I announced I was heading off to Africa for a safari! But now, having been up close to creatures I’ve only ever seen in zoos or in pictures, I’m something of a convert.
Starting in Johannesburg we headed north through spectacular mountain scenery. Stopping off at the Blyde River Canyon, we viewed the odd-looking Three Rondavels rock creations.
Our accommodation for the first couple of days in the wild was Nsele Lodge, a compact and tranquil haven deep in a game park. I had my own thatched lodge complete with an enormous bed and a mosquito net!
Not only did hosts Olaf and Stephanie cook delicious food and entertain us, they also took us on our safari within Kruger National Park. Apparently, we were extremely fortunate in having seen all of ‘the big five’ not once but several times. A rare achievement! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Our next stop was the Polokwane Game reserve where we travelled on foot. This was the only disappointing part of the whole trip as we didn’t manage to up close to many animals at all. The termite nests and trees were interesting though! I stayed in a lodge on stilts there.
Then it was time for the long drive to cross the Limpopo and to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. The less said about the border crossing the better. I have never been pushed and shoved as much in my life. An absolute nightmare!
Matobo National park could not be more different from Kruger. We travelled on foot accompanied by a chap with a rifle to get up really close to some rhinos who seemed completely oblivious to our presence.
We drove to a village and visited the homestead which came first in the best-decorated property contest. The prize? A wheelbarrow and some pots and pans!
Then it was time to visit the Silozwane cave paintings. ‘They are just up there’ said our guide pointing to the top of a mountain. We clambered crawled, slipped and slithered our way skyward. What awaited us was worth ever puff and every pant. Amazing to think that these images have survived between 1200 and 1500 years exposed as they are to the elements.
Norman our guide was also the leader of a Boy Scout troop based in the park. Baden-Powel wrote Scouting for Boys there, so setting in place the worldwide organisation which still thrives today. We went to the camp for a buffet lunch. Nice.
Matobo National contains many gravity-defying balancing rocks. I kept well clear!
We stayed in the Travellers Guest House, a simple yet delightful lodge decorated with fantastic modern art.
Time to move on again, this time to Victoria Falls. We stayed at the Sprayview hotel, a bit of luxury and opulence that was most welcome. The first night we enjoyed a wonderful sunset cruise along the Zambezi and were treated to a gourmet meal and unlimited alcohol!
Spot the alligator!
What can I say about the Victoria Falls? Words can’t do it justice. Neither can my photos. The grandeur, the noise, the spray that soaked us to the skin…!
An African adventure that ended too soon.
I can’t finish without sending a huge thank you to my travelling companions You made this trip extra special! Kevin and Ann Marie from the US, Derek and Michele from Australia, and of course my new friend Izzy from New Zealand via Leeds UK!, Thanks also to our host, guide and companion Simon.
I travelled with Acacia Africa and can recommend them most highly.