Each day on safari brings new perspectives and experiences. Snow-capped mountains. Cavernous valleys. Sweeping savannahs. Vast deserts. Lush forests. Sparkling lakes. Arid plains. Romantic beaches. Vibrant waterfalls. And, most especially, animals by the thousands.
There is no way to know exactly what the safari experience will be from day to day. But a typical day might be something like this:
Sun-up—a brilliant blanket of light over a golden land. You've never seen anything quite like this sunrise, and never heard anything quite like the accompanying savannah silence. As if reading your mind, your driver hands you a steaming coffee. You're ready for your game run.
The dew is fast disappearing and the predators are on the prowl. Your driver expertly sets off in pursuit of the herds. The ever-changing menagerie is mesmerising—wildebeest, rhino, eland, buffalo, zebra, gazelle, giraffe, klipspringer—all easily within your view.
Back at the lodge you sip a hearty breakfast tea, breathing deep while you watch the flaxen grasses sway in the westerly winds. Sharing a particularly memorable game-drive moment with a fellow traveller ("Did you see that?"), you glance out at the stunningly wild vista before you. The vast open spaces are exhilarating.
You're really enjoying the third of four lunch courses, taking time to savour each delightful bite. It's a local dish—and seeing that you like it so much, a member of the staff hands you a piece of paper with the recipe scrawled in pencil. Coffee and cheese are served on the veranda overlooking the waterhole; yet another opportunity to absorb the beauty that surrounds you.
Ahhh…this is the life. Relaxing for a couple of hours at the pool, you hear the subtle soundtrack of the bush—chattering monkeys, roaring lions and splashing elephants as they bathe in the waters nearby. The sun warms your skin. The moment warms your soul.
A proper English tea on the veranda is followed by an afternoon game drive. The variety is what is staggering: sleek cats…lion, leopard and cheetah, each embodying a ferocious grace. Elephants by the thundering herd. Exotic birds in every conceivable shape, size and colour. The sun is making its way down to the horizon producing long, enigmatic shadows—the perfect camouflage for all concerned. Your driver is pointing out a dazzling array of happenings and some fascinating facts about the wildlife. Your camera can’t take in the stunning images fast enough, and your finger is getting sore from trying.
You return to the welcoming environment of the lodge. A leisurely bath removes a thin veil of red dust to reveal the beginnings of an appealing tan. “Sundowners” at the bar precede dinner, a delectable meal of continental and local cuisine — so many choices, such arresting aromas. It is delicious — you compliment the chef’s cooking, and he responds cheerfully by complimenting your taste.
After sitting quietly on the veranda for a spell, watching game converge on the waterhole, you make your way to the fire. The star-specked canopy above inspires wonder and humility, with the crackling flames and esprit de corps adding a warmth that is hard to define. This is perhaps when Africa feels most untamed, and most beautiful: silence broken only by the distant lion’s roar, the air sweet with the smell of the fire.
Tired after a long day, you retire to your deluxe accommodations—so rustic and so very African from the outside, yet welcoming and luxurious inside. No expense has been spared to provide for your every comfort. As you drift off to sleep, you wonder what tomorrow will bring… and whether the dreams to come can compare with another day of safari.