A Wild Imagination
For those who have been lucky enough to visit Africa in their life, to absorb her magic and to feel her spiritual peace, there is an everlasting pull to return to this beautiful, sacred and enlightening continent…
At this point in time however, as our world slows down and comes to a halt in so many ways, our ability to once again feel the embrace of Mother Africa has been put on hold, and for now all we have are the memories we have made, the memories we hope to make for the first time or again, and the knowledge that one day soon, we will find our way back to her…
So, as we sit at home and reminisce about the days of safari, and as we cannot physically visit the land we miss so dearly, let us indulge our minds and create a safari for the imagination. Through this, we will get a taste of what is to come, an array of colorful stories and experiences to choose from, all in the hope of creating longing and excitement for the day we can jet off once again!
Your safari adventure begins in Johannesburg, a vibrant city full of history and culture, your entry point into Africa! After leaving the airport, you are whisked away to a luxurious hotel to spend the night and unwind before your early flight the following morning. As the sun begins to rise, you get yourself ready for your first day of your African voyage! You leave the hotel full of delicious breakfast delights, and make your way to the tarmac where your private plane awaits you…
As the plane begins to roar (the first, but not last roar of your safari…) you feel the wheels lift beneath you, and you watch how the city appears smaller and smaller out the window. A short trip later, you make it to your first camp with a welcoming party awaiting you. First stop: Singita Ebony Lodge. This elegant, pristine lodge sits high above a riverbed, giving its guests a truly “in the wild feel”, whilst still providing every luxury and comfort. You stand on the balcony’s edge, the ice dancing in your glass, the sun rays gently warming your face, and the neighborhood animals having their afternoon chats. The wind tiptoes through your hair, you take a deep breath in, and feel a sense of ample peace. After a tour of your lavish room, it’s time to head out into the wilderness! The first game drive engulfs you in breathtaking scenery, brings you up close to regal animals, and delights your senses through and through. You head back to the lodge as the sun begins to set, painting the plains a softer shade of gold, and your mind, your heart and your soul feel full and content.
After a few days in this South African paradise, it’s time to leave and head up north to the sacred wetlands of the Okavango Delta, every safari-lovers dream destination! As you fly in over the floodplains, you find yourself looking at a meandering, intricate pattern of crystal-blue water and jade-green grass. If you are lucky, you may even spot a herd of grazing elephants, or a few giraffe heads poking out of the trees! As you land, you are welcomed by the team of Abu Camp. First on the agenda is to visit the resident herd of elephants, all who have grown up here in the area. Even though there is no physical interaction with the herd, just to drive alongside them is a truly humbling experience. The beauty and elegance of these giants, who are so large yet who move so silently, is mesmerizing. Once at camp, a welcome thirst-quencher, an array of cuisine fare and an afternoon residing by your private pool awaits you. Imagine this: you open up your sliding door out onto your own patio, and a view of the delta wetlands performs before you. You then step down into your crystal-clear pool and begin to glide up and down the water, in complete peaceful bliss. The birds sing above you, the sunlight reflects off the pool water, and then suddenly, in the distance, you catch a glimpse of something moving: a mother elephant and her calf are walking through the trees, unaware or unaffected by your presence, just continuing on with their day, giving you a glimpse into their natural, idyllic life.
After your superb stay at Abu, you travel to your next Delta camp, taking a quick plane ride over the wetlands once again. As you take off, the resident herd suddenly appears right close to the tarmac, as if they are wishing you farewell. A while later, you begin to descend, and another team of friendly faces await you with song, dance and smiles. You jump into the game vehicle and head off to your next camp: Vumbura Plains. The camp itself boasts modern finishes, natural colours and peaceful tranquility all around. The water from the Delta comes right up to the front deck, and you spend your days here feasting, relaxing, telling stories and sharing thoughts around late-night campfires next to the water. On one of the afternoons, you decide to go down to the water for an experience unlike any other, to experience this water world in a new way: a traditional mekoro ride. You get into the dugout canoe on shore and stretch your legs out in front of you, then suddenly you feel yourself become weightless as the canoe leaves the sandbank and begins to glide. Slowly, you move through the reeds, listening to the sounds of miniature frogs alongside you, birds of prey up above you and the rippling music of the water as the oar gently breaks its surface with each stroke. Seeing the delta from this perspective is tranquil and enlightening, giving you a deeper, more detailed look at the smaller things you might miss on a game drive.
Finally, after a special few days at Vumbura, it is time to head to your final Delta destination: Zarafa Camp. You take flight once again over the Okavango, looking down at the beauty of this ancient water system, a phenomenon that has been carved out through thousands of years. Once you land, you are greeted by a gentleman with a smile that would melt even the toughest heart and make your way to the camp as he shares with you the history of the area. As the camp is a while away from the airstrip, this pick-up drive turns into an impromptu game drive! On your way you come across an assortment of incredible sights and landscapes: marveling at the incredible fauna, driving over rough terrain, gliding through the Delta channels while water spills into the car and under your shoes, it’s all a blast before you have even arrived! Soon, you spot a something in the greenery as you drive: someone’s sharp eyes have spotted a leopard, moving stealthily behind the long grass. You veer off course to follow her for a while, respectfully keeping a reasonable distance. Her large abdomen encourages the hope of young nearby, however this remains a beautiful secret to us, as the heat of the day begins to build and camp is now only a few minutes away, we decide to head in. Zarafa is an old-world safari style camp, with beautiful vintage rooms, and a true feel for the adventure and magic of safari. You spend your days out on drive, exploring the terrain and taking in all the incredible animal interactions. You spend your evenings dining on cuisine prepared by a world-class chef, and finally fall asleep to the gentle calls of hyena or the muffled roar of a lion in search of his pride.
After your stay at Zarafa comes to an end, following a breathtaking few days, it’s time to move from the wetlands of Botswana to the ancient dunes of Namibia. As you fly in over this sacred desert, you see the rolling dunes of red sand begin to grow bigger and grander as you descend. Once on the ground, you stand in an oasis of sand giants and golden sunbeams: you have arrived at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. Unlike any other place on earth, the wildlife here is adapted to extreme heat and alternative means of survival. You soon arrive at your luxury camp right in the middle of these majestic dunes and relax before the next few days of adventure! Whilst here, quad biking on the desert plains, hot air ballooning over the sacred landscapes, spotting animals disguised into their surroundings, learning about the history of the land and hiking up some of the oldest dunes on earth, will engulf you in many life-changing moments.
Finally, after this incredible journey in Africa, it’s time to head home. After these days spent on safari, you look back and reflect… To be able to visit and engage with a land as raw as Africa, is an honor and a privilege. In our world, we are so used to constantly being busy and on-the-go, that we seldom take the time to slow down and actually ground ourselves. Luckily, there are still places in our world that march to the beat of their own drum, that disconnect from the modern world, and that celebrate the natural sphere far ahead of the manmade domain. When we are fortunate enough to visit these extraordinary places like Africa, often times our perspective will change, our inner pace will slow down, and our mind will open up. Africa certainly leaves a forever-mark on the soul and teaches us about what is truly important in the world and in ourselves: respect for those who we share the earth with, a deeper connection to nature in all its forms and a greater understanding of ourselves and our role in the world.
For now at least, while we wait, we need to hold on to what we have once experienced or what we one day hope to experience in Africa. Let us remain home and stay safe while we imagine all the breathtaking adventures, lessons and enlightenment that lies ahead. The excitement should still be building, your dreams are still in line to come true, and Africa is ready to welcome you when the time is right!
We cannot wait to host you on another life-changing safari soon!
The Safari Architects Team