Thanks again for organising our wonderful safari. Tarangire Tented Camp had a spectacular view over the river and we loved the central boma and dining room. We liked the food there – buffets always work out well for we vegetarians. The Serena hotel on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater was lovely with very friendly staff. We thoroughly enjoyed the road trip to the next camp in the Serengeti with a short detour to the Oldupai Gorge. I had read so much about the place, it was a thrill to actually see it.
The Migration Camp was one of the best camps we have ever stayed at – very luxurious. Unfortunately the game viewing was poor at that time and we did not see anything on the savannah and only a little along the Grumeti River. Our luck was back at the next camp – Sayari. As we came nearer to the camp the numbers of wildebeest increased until we saw them grazing for as far as the eye could see. Along the road we found a poor, wounded wildebeest lying down and panting. I don’t think it had long to live. If it had been a stray dog here in Nassau, we’d have taken it straight to the vet to be put down and if we had a gun we would have been quite capable of shooting it. But, of course, such an option isn’t available. In our minds, we know this is only Nature but the image still haunts us. The following day we went to the Mara river and witnessed the most wonderful crossing! Tens of thousands of wildebeest were assembled on the north bank and finally one jumped in and then thousands followed. It went on for one and a half hours! We ended up seeing two more crossings but that first one was the most spectacular animal sighting we have ever seen.
We were crushed to have to leave Sayari. During the nights, we would be visited by wildebeest and zebra just outside our cabin and one night we had a lovely hippo. But our time was up and we flew off to Kilimanjaro. The KIA lodge was delightful! We were rather expecting a standard airport motel, but the lodge was very rustic and full of character. Their hotel dog – a Maasai Hunting Dog – was a special treat. She was just like my first dog I had in Nassau!
After a couple of days in Jo’burg, we drove off to Kruger – one of our favourite places in SA. We had a bit of a set back as Maggie had a terrible migraine attack, but luckily we were in Skukuza, only 50 metres from the doctors office. Maggie recovered after a couple of days, but we didn’t do as much driving as we used to do so as not to bring on another attack. In a way, it made our time there more enjoyable as we now had time to braai ( a new experience to us in the Park ).
At first the game viewing was a little sparse. We saw lots but at a distance whilst on previous trips we had animals right next to the vehicle. Towards the end though, we had wonderful sights and I rather think we saw a black rhino. Maggie is less convinced, but I am a little surer. As we were driving early in the morning from Lower Sabie to Crocodile Bridge we came across a lone rhino about 30 metres away. We had seen lots of white rhinos before and they had always been easy-going, so we were not in a hurry to get our cameras. Instead of chomping away as other rhinos had always done, this one looked right at us, charged towards us for a few metres and then ran off at high speed. There was no time to look for the tell-tale differences such as the lip or the shoulders, but its behaviour led me to think this lone rhino was black. Am I trying to convince myself or could I be right?
Next year we were thinking of Namibia and I looked up the camps you suggested. Etosha seems to be the place to see and I would love to see the elephants of the Skeleton Coast. If we do another safari, we may well start in Cape Town this time and afterwards see some more of the sights around there. However, we are a bit more budget minded this time so could you do an itinerary that is more in line with our first trip to Botswana which was 10 nights and cost under $4.000 each? We think we might be taking our time off work around April-May but if September-October is better, let us know.
I’m sorry this is such a long e-mail, but once I get started, I can’t stop!
All the best,
Julian and Maggie