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Rodger from African Lynx and myself picked the guests up from the airport in the African Lynx vehicle and took them up Table Mountain. LONG queues at the cable way, but all made it part of the experience.
We had an amazing sunset and started our bird list and saw our first African creature… a rock hyrax.
Rodger and I picked them up from The Silo Hotel and headed to Eagle Encounters at Spier which was a very cool experience. Enjoyed holding a Wahlberg’s eagle and a Verreaux’s eagle for the adults, and finished there with a live show of some of their birds: eagle owls, gymnogenes, all up close and personal. Had owl’s landing on our heads which was also very cool.
Finished with a picnic lunch at Warwick Wine Estate on the lawns and played frisbee, walk around the Babylonstoren gardens and finished off with an excellent dinner at Kloof Street House – Tams Bowren and Jemima joined us.
Day drive out to the Cape of Good Hope. Our first stop was Boulders Beach in Simonstown for the African Penguins. We avoided all the main touristy places and headed to the beach area, even though we had to scramble over boulders, it was a very cool experience. Only saw a few penguins but much better than going to the overcrowded areas. We were also super lucky to see a saw small shark in the shallows swimming with the penguins.
We had the same strategy at Cape Point, and avoided all the touristy areas like the lighthouse and the wooden sign where it can be very overcrowded. We decided to go to an ‘off the beaten track’ spot and walked for about a km to a very secluded rock pool where we had an awesome picnic and snorkelled. Saw seals and lots of cool little fishies. James (aka Runty), did not like the seas urchins.
Stopped for ice cream at Kirstys Kick Ass Ice Cream in Noordhoek, and visited some friends of theirs at the private gardens in Claremont.
Kirst and Alastair joined us for dinner at Bouchon Bistro which was excellent!
We organised a private charter – King Air – from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. Arrived later that afternoon in Vic Falls after some customs delays in Upington, enjoyed some cocktails on the terrace followed by an open air dinner in the Jungle Lounge with amazing live entertainment (dancing and singing from 8 ethnic groups.. shangaans, zulus etc).
Buffet style breakfast where James ate a million pancakes/waffles with nutella before our guided tour of the falls with Reason, our local driver/guide. Possible the most water I have ever seen coming over the falls, and could only see it properly from viewpoints 1-6 because of the mist at the rest – 7-18 – had us all completely soaked!
Back to hotel for change of clothes before we transferred to the helipad for 25 minute “Flight of the Angels”… Absolutely superb! Saw giraffe and zebra from the air, and amazing views of the Falls.
Chilled afternoon spent by the pool before heading out for our sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi. James and Leila helped us rack up 30 more species of birds and saw a small raft of hippos grunting away.
Another private charter from Victoria Falls to Kasane in Botswana to clear customs, and then a short hop to Vumbura Plains. Met our guide, Speedy, at the Vumbura Plains airstrip and saw 10 species of mammals on way to lodge including a mother elephant with day old calf.
Our afternoon safari rewarded us with 2 lionesses crossing the channel, a large herd of buffalo and one lone wild dog looking to cross the channel while calling and looking for other pack members.
On our first morning safari we saw 2 lionesses with 5 cubs and a pack of wild dogs that ran right into a pride of sleeping lions! A chase ensued, but the pack of dogs managed to get away.
Had a great coffee stop where James, Leila and I climbed a massive termite mound and played on some big fallen over trees. Amazingly, 2 days later we found a mother leopard and her cub lying on that exact same termite mound we were playing on!
Our second morning safari we saw 4 male lions – the dominant boys in the Kwedi at the moment – on the move, roaring and marking territory. We had a great elephant sighting with the whole herd walking within 2 metres of the vehicle. Leila and Lulu weaved African bracelets at camp in between drives.
We had an afternoon boating safari and stopped on an island for sundowners that had been set up for us… nice surprise. Danced at full volume to Juicy Wiggle and tried some fishing but had no luck.
Morning safari and canoe trip in traditional mokoro’s. Heard some francolins alarming and found a leopard and cub watching some nervous impala. We spent most of morning with these leopards and was an incredible sighting. Paddled for about an hour on the mokoro’s and saw some great birds.
We got stuck in deep channel on the way back to the lodge and had to call for an recovery vehicle. James stripped down and swam in the lagoon, then helped us hook up the tow rope under the safari vehicle as he was already wet!
Beautiful surprise bush brunch setup for us with table and bean bags overlooking the flood plains under massive Okavango trees.
On the last morning safari we managed to find the whole pride together! 4 males, 2 lionesses and 5 cubs with one cub only +-2 months old. Found a pack of 18 wild dogs on the hunt, and a blind bull buffalo walked into our vehicle. 🙂
Spent a lot of time chilling at the lodge after drive playing Trivial Pursuit and Uno. Before our private charter to Johannesburg and some sad goodbyes.
“Just over a week into my safari and I wonder how I’ve changed, if at all. Certainly the experiences I’ve had and things I’ve seen have shaped me in someway. But then, as if by some ancient, unspeakable memory, I remember… it’s in my blood.”