My Recent Travels
I have had four stellar research trips in the last year that have 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 was to the Kruger private reserves alongside the Kruger National Park, which constitute the Greater Kruger area getting to see the Kapama, Timbavati, Umbambat and Sabi Sands reserves.
The second saw me self-driving from Cape Town along Route 62 before joining up with the Garden Route, combined with a high-end safari in the Eastern Cape. This was done in mid-winter over July, and this endowed the regions with a spectacularly lush and vibrant feel.
In the third quarter of 2018 I embarked on an extended trip through Southern Africa, taking in five countries. This included a stay within the largest inland wetland 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 incredible Big 5 sightings and scenery, I flew to Kasane. I stayed in an exclusive forest reserve in the Chobe Corridor, an area with prolific elephant sightings. I then spent several nights aboard a prestigious floating hotel on the Chobe River, with Chobe National Park of Botswana to one side and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia to the other.
Returning to Kasane I was ferried over to Zambia at the Kazangula crossing for a stay in 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 the Falls from above on a helicopter trip, as well as experience the gorge on a white-water rafting adventure. All this was done from my base at the original Victoria Falls Hotel. Finally, I ventured into Zambezi National Park and the Matetsi Private Game Reserve for stays at two spectacular lodges and a final safari experience.
My most recent trip, taking place in the early part of 2019, had me making my way through an extensive circuit of Zimbabwe… This area captivates me for sentimental as well as professional reasons. I once again spent time on both sides of Victoria Falls, expanding my knowledge of the lodges within the National Parks there. I then made my way through to Hwange National Park, enjoying a spectacular sleepout “treehouse” experience while there.
Making my way northwards, I then visited two iconic lodges in the Lake Kariba region, and got to explore the area where translocation of larger game was pioneered during the creation of the man-made Lake. Truly a wealth of activities on offer in this area that incorporates the now thriving Matusadona National Park.
From here I would head on to an area world-renowned for its walking safaris, “bipedal” elephants and African wild dogs made famous by Sir David Attenborough’s “Dynasties” series - Mana Pools National Park. Staying in both inland and river-fronted camps, I got to explore the full diversity the area has to offer, and will never forget the experience of being surrounded by seemingly hundreds of hippos in their pods along the Zambezi.
NEXT UP: A self-drive road trip through the spectacular KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa taking in the Drakensberg, Midlands, Battlefields, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, 2 high-end game reserves. I have another deep dive into Botswana coming up in the final quarter of the year, taking in Savuti, Moremi & a true Delta camp, followed by some nights in the Kalahari and concluding with 2 further stops back in the Delta on private concessions.
Where I have Travelled
Our family road trips meant I got to cover Mzansi (South Africa) far and wide, allowing me to explore it from the far-flung solitude of the West Coast through to the sub-tropical beauty of kwaZulu-Natal.
In 2018 I went on a journey through South Africa that started in Johannesburg, moved on to the peaceful reserves of the Waterberg Plateau, and then on to Pilanesberg National Park, Sun City and finally Madikwe Game Reserve, noted for its excellent Big 5 and African wild dog sightings.
I’ve also been privileged to spend time in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. 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!
Beyond Africa, I've sailed to South America in a 40-foot mono-hull yacht and backpacked around Brazil and Argentina. I nearly settled down 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.
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.