Saturday, September 10, 2016

.

I'm not really an animal person, so it came as a bit of a surprise to my friends when I announced I was heading off to Africa for a safari! But now, having been up close to creatures I’ve only ever seen in zoos or in pictures, I’m something of a convert.





Starting in Johannesburg we headed north through spectacular mountain scenery. Stopping off at the Blyde River Canyon, we  viewed the odd looking Three Rondavels rock creations.

Click on pictures to view larger and in better quality 







Our accommodation for the first couple of days in the wild was Nsele Lodge, a compact and tranquil haven deep in a game park.  I had my own thatched lodge complete with an enormous bed and a mosquito net! Not only did hosts Olaf and Stephanie cook delicious food and entertain us, they also took us on our safari within Kruger National Park. Apparently, we were extremely fortunate in having seen all of ‘the big five’ not once but several times. A rare achievement! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.





























































































Our next stop was the Polokwane Game reserve where we travelled on foot. This was the only disappointing part of the whole trip as we didn’t manage to up close to many animals at all. The termite nests and trees were interesting though! I stayed in a lodge on stilts there.



















Then it was time for the long drive to cross the Limpopo and to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. The less said about the border crossing the better. I have never been pushed and shoved as much in my life. An absolute nightmare!

Matobo National park could not be more different from Kruger. We travelled on foot accompanied by a chap with a rifle to get up really close to some rhinos who seemed completely oblivious to our presence.


















We drove to a village and visited the homestead which came first in the best-decorated property contest. The prize? A wheelbarrow and some pots and pans!



























Then it was time to visit the Silozwane cave paintings. ‘They are just up there’ said our guide pointing to the top of a mountain. We clambered crawled, slipped and slithered our way skyward. What awaited us was worth ever puff and every pant. Amazing to think that these images have survived between 1200 and 1500  years exposed as they are to the elements.






























Norman our guide was also the leader of a Boy Scout troop based in the park. Baden-Powel wrote Scouting for Boys there, so setting in place the world-wide organisation which still thrives today. We went to the camp for a buffet lunch. Nice.































Matobo National contains many gravity derying balancing rocks. I kept well clear!
















We stayed in the Travellers Guest House, a simple yet delightful lodge decorated with fantastic modern art.



Time to move on again, this time to Victoria Falls. We stayed at the Sprayview hotel, a bit of luxury and opulence that was most welcome. He first night we enjoyed a wonderful sunset cruise along the Zambeze and were treated to a gourmet meal and unlimited alcohol!















Spot the aligator!








What can I say about the Victoria Falls? Words can’t do it justice. Neither can my photos. The grandeur, the noise, the spray that soaked us to the skin...!

























































An African adventure that ended too soon.

I can't finish without  sending a huge thankyou to my travelling companions You made this trip extra special! Kevin and Ann Marie from the US, Derek and Michele from Australia, and of course my new friend  Izzy from New Zealand via Leeds UK!, Thanks also to our host, guide and companion Simon.






I travelled with Acacia Africa and can recommend them most highly.


.

23 comments:

  1. What a wonderful trip, Keith, you lucky thing. Seeing animals in the wild is a heady experience, isn't it? Your photos made me feel nostalgic for Africa - it's such a mesmerising continent!

    Susan at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Keith - I've just had a South African friend here .. and miss my times in southern Africa - so glad you had a happy travel time ... seeing the major animals to see ... and then the Falls, the Matopos are stupendous aren't they ... sounds like an excellent trip - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just WOW! The adventure of a lifetime, thank you for sharing it with us in these beautiful photos!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Aha so that's where you've been..Alice asks did they serve animal crackers for tea..and where was Rosey ? Good to have you back in Blighty and blog land

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy that you're now a convert - awesome photos - looks like an amazing trip as well! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a nice treat of photos you gave us today I thoroughly enjoyed them and a big wow for the trip, I like that you included the group photo too :-)

    Have a recovertastic week :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. What an incredible experience. Thank you for all the photos. The animals are magnificent in their natural environment.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! What an adventure. Great photos that take us with you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, what an amazing trip and so many wonderful photos, I love the huts they live in and of course the animals are wonderful, I love seeing baby elephants.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow. Super stunning. What an amazing journey. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow - great photos! Thank you for sharing your amazing trip with us!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your photos are beautiful. It looks like you had an amazing time.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a great adventure! You got a lot of really good pictures by which to remember it. I love the Victoria Falls pictures even though it's impossible to get the whole thing in any one photo. I'd love to go there some day and experience it for myself.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Spectacular photos! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a fabulous experience! I feel like I've just been to Africa and back.

    Here's my Wordless Wednesday: Mabel Dodge Luhan House.I'd be happy if you stop by.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks like an amazing experience! Wishing you a blessed week!
    Tina - Amanda's Books and More and 1camera1mom
    My linky party:
    http://abooksandmore.blogspot.co.za/2016/09/red-winged-starlings-with-linky.html

    ReplyDelete
  17. Keith, what an interesting an amazing trip! This might be cool to do once in a lifetime. I don't think I would like the hostile environment even though I know it's not as rough as years ago. I prefer a more pampered accommodations. lol I loved the photos! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I meant to say I loved the story about the best decorated houses. I guess winning a wheel barrow is a big deal in those parts of the world. :)

      Delete
  18. What a trip! Your photos are amazing. You really saw quite a lot of wildlife -- abosolutely amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow. Just WOW! I don't even know where to start. I don't think I could be very calm if I was that close to a wild elephant! Such creatures - beautiful and majestic! I would be just in complete awed silence. Gorgeous photos - now I definitely want a Safari added to my bucket list!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I wish I were so adventurous. Thank you for sharing your lovely experiences. Fabulous!

    ReplyDelete