Elly in Africa

Baboons running amok at the side of the road, endless streams of people walking alongside the road – I must be back in Africa. Flying in to Victoria Falls Airport I headed to the aptly named Elephant Camp in the Victoria Falls National Park. It was superb, the staff really look after you and I loved the refreshing iced tea on arrival and mezzo platter for lunch. My tented suite had a private deck overlooking the magnificent Victoria Falls, the spray rising high into the air – this was definitely my kind of ‘tent!’  I loved the outdoor shower and plunge pool, both in total privacy.  All guests at The Elephant Camp can interact with the resident elephants, and I highly enjoyed feeding my elephant, Jambo.

Next up was Botswana, only a short drive from Zimbabwe. On the way to camp, we passed by a herd of elephants at the riverfront, not surprising since Chobe National Park is famous for its elephants! We arrived at &Beyond Chobe Under Canvas, set in the heart of Chobe National Park, in time for afternoon tea (a lemon cake, still warm).  I loved my massive bed, complete with electric lamps and en-suite including bucket shower. Bucket showers are definitely an experience but well received after a big day of game drives! Botswana is fantastic for wildlife and I was lucky to have two big days of game drives beginning at dawn.  Our first was along the Chobe River seeing the elephants, water buffalo, baboons and a huge group of mongoose acting exactly like meerkats. We also saw giraffes and a group of lions sleeping the afternoon away. On return to our bush camp, G&Ts provided a nice refreshment. On the second day we saw elusive lions, two male giraffes fighting, a massive group of baboons at the river and hundreds of water buffalos all quenching their morning thirst.

After Chobe, I went to Kasane for a flight to Nxabega in the Okavango Delta. Sitting in a small plane flying over the Delta, I noticed the sparseness of humanity and the small airstrips dotting the landscapes. I would recommend this as the best way to see the Delta. Arriving at &Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, I was welcomed with a cold drink and welcome song and met my guide, AK.  The camp was buzzing with energy as that morning a female leopard had made a kill. On our game drive, sure enough, we came across the female resident leopard up a tree with a decaying impala at the bottom of it.  As we sat watching her dozing in the tree, she decided it was time to come down and plant herself about two meters away from our vehicle! Then we drove off to see two resident male lions waking up from their afternoon nap. I was amazed the animals were so nonchalant, completely fine with us watching just a few metres away.  As darkness set in, we headed back for a starlit dinner in the Boma, under the warm African night sky.

On this trip I was fortunate to see some of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth, some truly iconic African landscapes and vast stretches of wilderness. Get in touch if you are planning a safari in Africa – we have a ‘Best of Southern Africa’ small group hosted journey or can tailor make an itinerary especially for you.

– By Elly Wealthall