Even in today’s world, Africa remains the great unknown. The one thing everyone has on their ‘someday bucket list’ and let’s face it, it probably won’t happen. Life will just plain get in the way. But, the reality is that Africa and it’s wonderments are often closer and more affordable then a summer holiday in Europe.
Going on safari is like joining a secret club where even the members can’t begin to describe the feeling of a safari to each other, it’s that incredible and enlightening of an experience it renders you quite unable to describe the experience. That said, to ensure you you move it up your to position #1 on your bucket list, I’m going to try and let you in on the secret club.
Most days follow the same relaxing schedule, and you slip into the routine with an incredible ease. Before the sun peaks over the earth you’re woken up to the sounds of gentle knocking on your door or, if you’re in a luxurious tent, the sounds of a hot shower being poured for you in your own private bathroom in the beautiful confines of your decked out tent.
Once refreshed, you’re met with a cup of your preferred morning brew and a light snack before you head out onto the land in a fully equipped, yet roofless Land Cruiser in search of early morning creatures still stirring in the dawn light.
Here’s where the magic happens, as you’re driving along enjoying the sounds of nature not ring tones and your co-workers demands, taking in the memory of the rays of sunshine peaking through the trees, listening to the calls of the vidid birds, your tracker gestures and makes a low noise, you immediately turn your attention, your ranger alters your course and your tracks turn in the direction of a big cat stalking a zebra.
Before you know it you are on the hunt with a female lioness, your breath catches as she deftly sidles up in the crook of a tree, the zebra’s nose tilts in the air searching the breeze for the tell tale smell of danger. The lioness holds her position, she knows that patience will reward her – as will yours. The zebra returns to grazing, blissfully unaware. From the corner of your eye you see a flex of tan, the lioness’ sister has joined in the slow chase. She’s moved up in the cover of your Land Cruiser, the air is so quiet you can hear her fur brushing up against the metal of your truck and you smell the adrenalin coursing through her veins.
Time seems to stand still as both females move in unison to close in on the unsuspecting mare. They’re stalking, crouched low to the ground, hidden so well within the tall grass, they are now almost on top of the zebra and your knuckles are white from holding onto the seat in front of you, you’re doing all you can to understand whose side you’re on. Before you’re ready the lionesses have gone in for the kill, the zebra is hit from one side, lashes out with her hooves in desperate shock, but the sisters planned their attack, the second sister launches from the other side, digs her claws into the striped flesh, her weight dragging the animal down, she closes her jaws down on the zebra’s throat. Your blood is pumping in your ears and it’s all over, the Zebra has passed.
This sacrifice of life allows the continuation of the sisters pride for another week. In that moment, life as you know it has irrevocably changed for you, you’ve been privvy to the hands of fate and seen the kings dominate the circle of life.
As you finally leave the kill, you meander through the bush playing witness to life before your eyes, you may pass a herd of elephant migrating, ambling along, their feet and jaws crunching on all in their path. The matriarch proudly leading the charge in search of a watering hole.
Or perhaps you’ll find yourself in the company of a bull Elephant in must, knocking down a tree in a display of play aggression and dominance. Or come across a baby giraffe learning how to walk gently nuzzled up onto his new legs by his sky-scraping mother, very eager to have him up and out of harms way.
Your morning drive will conclude and you’ll follow it with a hearty breakfast, the rest of the day is spent at your leisure, you may take a nap under the big African skies or even swim to cool off from the heat and as the sun starts slinking down past the horizon you’ll go out on another drive and find your next wild encounter, this time though you’re ready, you have a sundowner and feel the African heartbeat in your chest.
When you’ve taken the time to give some of your time to Africa, she will capture your imagination and leave you longing for more – and that’s when you’ll know you’ve joined the club.
Our personal favourite company to experience all of the beauty of Africa is called &Beyond – we’ve been travelling with them for nearly 10 years! The company ensures you have the most luxurious safari and the most wonderful time in the bush, their attention to detail is flawless, all the while focusing very heavily on their environmental conservation efforts. It’s this perfect mix that keeps us going back.