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Our Journal

In Your Wildest Dreams

To be able to visit three unique destinations across three different African countries, is a truly incredible experience. It allows one the opportunity to see the most spectacular wildlife, wilderness and cultures, all in a different light. Things most can only dream of. This past Christmas and New Year, I was lucky enough to explore some of my favourite safari lodges with an amazing family. Our story follows here…

Sunrise with elephants whilst having our wake up coffee.

Our adventure began in South Africa, in the world famous MalaMala Private Game Reserve. Knowing that we had many safari days ahead of us, we didn’t rush it, and took our time at each game drive sighting that presented itself. The bush was lush and green from the recent rains, a much needed break for the land after all the dry heat it had recently been hit with. Needless to say, the scenes were breathtaking! As always, the game viewing here didn’t disappoint and we were treated to a variety of beautiful wildlife. Whilst enjoying our stay, a heatwave hit MalaMala. However, although very warm, it drove animals towards watering holes and the Sand River, giving us many more fantastic viewing opportunities. Some of our highlights included finding a pack of wild dogs on the hunt, tracking and finding a lion pride, elephants enjoying a mud bath, leopards hiding out, and so much more!

A pack of wild dogs on the hunt.
Playing and cooling off in between hunts.
A zebra stallion stands to attention ever watchful.
A view looking out over the reserve with a coffee in hand.
A leopardess hides in the long grass to escape the heat and the insects.
A herd of buffalo heads to a watering hole to drink and have a mud wallow.
A hyena sniffs out the rest of her clan.
After successfully tracking a pride of lions we found them resting up in the shade of a large termite mound.
A large hippo provides the perfect spot for a baby crocodile to bask.
White rhinoceros heading towards a mud wallow.

After a whirlwind safari in South Africa, we headed north to Zimbabwe to visit Singita Pamushana in the Malilangwe Reserve. This is a very spiritual and raw part of Africa, where the San bushmen once roamed and where a whole variety of wildlife often interact in one area. A myriad of vegetation and habitats also occur here. From granite rocky outcrops to grassland plateaus dotted with baobabs, the next few days saw us exploring all these magical and vibrant areas.

A Pilatus PC12 NG, our chariot for this leg of the safari.
Singita Pamushana, perched atop a cliff and overlooking a beautiful lake.

On our first afternoon we decided to go down onto the lake and enjoy a relaxed afternoon of cruising around and tiger fishing. Although we lost a few of these tough fish, we enjoyed the peacefulness of the water and the special memories we were making together, all while watching a magnificent golden sunset reflecting over the water.

Time, our fishing captain and one of the lodge guides. What a magnificent sunset!

The next few days were spent searching for the animals we had not seen yet on our safari. Singita Pamushana has both black and white rhino roaming the plains, however, as we had seen a white rhino already, our goal was to find black one… Brad, our guide, suggested a specific watering hole that we could sit at and wait for them to possibly come to us. We did this hoping for the best… Well, we were rewarded with not one, but three different black rhino! As if this sighting wasn’t incredible enough, they were joined by another seven white rhino, a journey of giraffe and a sneaky Black-backed jackal to complete this amazing gathering of animals!

A black rhino bull sneaks down in the fading light for a drink. He would later be joined by a mother and her calf...
White rhino and a journey of giraffe.

Spotting cheetah was also very high on our wish list, and having been told that there were two brothers that had been hanging around the area, we thought we would try and find them!  Unfortunately no luck, however we saw plenty of other animals, including a shy leopard, a pride of lions and a plethora of other spectacular flora and fauna.

A clan of hyenas tussle over an old carcass.
A majestic kudu bull poses beautifully.
A vervet monkey feeds on new growth around one of the water pans.
A shy leopard, rarely seen in this part of the reserve, stops and takes a final look at us.
There are over a thousand San rock art sites at Pamushana. This is just one example of their ancient artwork.
Sunrise on our last morning. What a magical place...

Our next adventure was waiting around the corner, at Mombo Camp in Botswana’s ancient Okavango Delta. Unbeknownst to us, this was to be the game viewing highlight of the entire safari! Yompy, our skilled guide, pulled out all the stops and managed to coordinate a number of incredible animals. Some of the most notable sightings were a lion pride with very young cubs, two different leopards, wild dogs, black rhino and elephants everywhere. We also managed to include a helicopter ride in order to experience to Delta from another perspective! Seeing the Okavango Delta from this height, in all its glory, was indescribable and unforgettable. This special place was where we welcomed in the new year! An incredible stay all round with memories to last a lifetime!

A lioness and cubs on the move.
A small lion cub looks at a very curious journey of giraffe.
An incredible and unique sighting...
A beautiful young leopardess having a drink.
The Okavango Delta from the air.
Aerial beauty... Can you spot the buffalo?
It was a time of plenty, and all the youngsters were out.
An elephant calf entertained us with its unique feeding style.

A Citation M2 jet was to be our ride to Cape Town, our final stop of the safari. This brilliant and powerful machine got us to Cape Town in just two hours, where after landing we were picked up and taken to Camissa House, our home for the next few nights. We spent our time adventuring through Cape Town, enjoying sumptuous dining and engaging in extraordinary cultural experiences.

A Cessna Citation M2 Jet.
Hiking along what is known as "the pipeline", with Lions Head in the background.
Boulders beach, with the African penguin colony.
The wine cellar at Groot Constantia.

It’s hard to put into words how a safari like this affects and enlightens¬†you. The complete relaxation, freedom and awakening that Africa brings is soul touching. For myself and this wonderful family, this safari adventure will stay on in our hearts forever. Once you’ve experienced the magic of Africa, you’ll always carry a piece of it with you…

 

Warm Wishes,

Chris & The Safari Architects Team.