My Recent Travels
In all, I have had three stellar research trips so far in 2018 that have further added to my knowledge and understanding of the lodges, experiences and areas I use when I craft journeys for my 'collaborators' (as I think of my clients).
The first trip was to the Kruger private reserves alongside the Kruger National Park, which constitute the Greater Kruger area. I got to see the Kapama, Timbavati, Umbambat and Sabi Sands (western and southern sectors) reserves.
The second adventure saw me self-driving through the Western Cape along Route 62 and winding through the Cape Fold mountains before joining up with the the Garden Route, combined with a high-end safari in the Eastern Cape. This was done in the mid-winter period over July, and this endowed the regions seen with a spectacularly lush and vibrant feel.
Finally, in September 2018 I embarked on an extended trip through Southern Africa taking in five countries. This included a stay within the largest inland wetland area in the world - the Okavango Delta - taking in Chief’s Island within the Moremi Game Reserve as well as another concession allowing for a more water-oriented experience. After some incredible Big 5 sightings and scenery there I flew north to Kasane Airport. I was then able to spend several nights within an exclusive Forest Reserve an hour south of Kasane, still situated within the Chobe Corridor, an area with prolific elephant sightings. These incredibly social creatures frequented the watering hole in front of the lodge’s deck and infinity pool for much of the day (and night!).
Heading back to Kasane and crossing over to Namibia, I then spent several nights aboard a prestigious floating hotel on the Chobe River with the Chobe National Park of Botswana to one side and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia to the other.
Returning a final time Kasane I was ferried over to Zambia at the Kazangula crossing for a stay within the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park along the banks of the Zambezi River and got to experience a truly profound walk with white rhinos along with a stunning tour of the Victoria Falls.
Arriving in Zimbabwe via the iconic bridge, I was fortunate to see Victoria Falls from above on the Flight of the Angels helicopter trip, as well as experience the gorge below the Falls on an adrenaline-fueled whitewater rafting adventure. All this was done from my base at the original Victoria Falls Hotel.
Finally, I ventured up into the Zambezi National Park and the Matetsi Private Game Reserve for stays at two spectacular lodges and rounding off the trip with a final safari experience.
I still have one further adventure planned for South Africa in 2018, so watch this space!
Where have I travelled
I will always be grateful to my parents for our family road trips growing up, as it meant that I got to cover Mzansi (South Africa) far and wide, which allowed me to explore it from the far-flung solitude of the West Coast through to the sub-tropical beauty of kwaZulu-Natal.
Last year I went on a journey through South Africa that saw me starting off in the city of Johannesburg, moving on to the peaceful and uncrowded reserves of the Waterberg Plateau, and then on to Pilanesberg National Park, Sun City and finally the Madikwe Game Reserve, noted for its excellent Big 5 and African Wild Dog sightings.
I’ve also been privileged in having the opportunity to spend a good deal of time in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in Southern Africa. A memory that has stuck with me is staying at my uncle’s lodge on Lake Kariba as a kid, and ‘fishing’ all day for tigerfish – I don’t think there was even bait on the hook! My love for the peaceful solitude afforded by being in nature was very much alive, even back then.
Beyond Africa, I sailed to South America in a 40-foot mono-hull yacht – when young and crazy – and backpacked around Brazil and Argentina. I nearly settled down with a girl from Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro but the travel bug kept rustling and I made my way north to the US and spent several months road-tripping New England. Spending a week in a log cabin in the forests of Vermont was a highlight.
What I love about Africa
To be in Africa is to be in the ancient. There is something uncomplicated and raw that you can experience whenever you wish, if only you take a moment to. It is a place of humility, of great divides but of even greater bridges spanning them. There is a majesty to Africa that is inexplicable and needs to be felt to be understood.
Some African Travel advice
Africa is a place of feeling. While it is important to capture memories as reminders, do not allow technology to stand between you and the precious moments you have in it. Being present offers rewards unimagined.
Where I’d love to go next
It has been a lifelong dream to go gorilla trekking and see both the highland and lowland gorillas. Accordingly, Congo, Uganda and Rwanda are all on my bucket list.