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“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.”
These are the words of that fabulous bespectacled storyteller, Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr Suess. The Father of Fantasy, you could say. We consider ourselves Fantasy Creators too. Fantasy Facilitators. A little kinky, yes, but what is more fantastical, more remarkable, than Africa’s wild places?
Our Aussie clients, Craig and Donna Ferguson, visited three of the wildest spaces Africa has to offer: the Big 5 wilderness of the Sabi Sand, South Africa; the gorilla territory of Bwindi in Uganda; and the Serengeti in Tanzania for the Great Migration.
To experience all three in one trip is a feat of fantasy, something people dream of and few get to experience. And according to the famous Rule of Three in writing, omne trium perfectum, everything that comes in threes is perfect, complete. Travel, like Suess’ gobbledy-goop, lets us see life with a little more playfulness and awe.
And so we present, Craig’s experience of Africa’s Wild Three, organised by consultant Leigh-Ann Combrink. Take a look below and contact us if you’re interested in turning this fantasy into your reality…
Over to Craig.
As Aussies, we had high expectations for our safari in Africa. We wanted to see as much of the wildlife as we possibly could. We even forked out for a better camera to record our journey. Icon Expeditions, a division of Rhino Africa Safaris, made all arrangements necessary.
Londolozi in the Sabi Sand did not disappoint. There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe our experience at Londolozi. From the moment we got to the airport for our transfers we were looked after as if we were VIP. Upon landing we were picked up by our guide. We stayed at Varty Camp, because it was the original camp. It was everything it is advertised to be from start to finish – management, staff and lodgings excellent.
Just on the drive down to the camp we saw hippo, elephant and warthog. The first drive we had multiple sightings of many species but the highlight was the leopard. By the time we finished the second game drive the next morning we had well and truly achieved seeing the Big 5, including a pride of lions with cubs. On one of the drives we were lucky to see a cheetah with her four cubs that had just finished feeding. Magnificent! A big thank you to Londolozi for a great three days.
Our second adventure was to Uganda for gorilla trekking…
The lodgings at Bwindi Safari Lodge were good and close to Bwindi so we were not travelling too far to view the wildlife that we had travelled such a long distance to see. The trek started with a briefing video at the ranger station, then a briefing by the park police on protocol for our adventure to come. We would be tracking a group of 12 gorillas. The trek up the hill into the forest was challenging. It took one and half hours to reach the area the troop was in, but our experience with them was very special. We encountered 10 out of the 12, the youngest 11 months old through to the silverback of the group. It was very difficult to be able to walk away from the group – they just kept on entertaining you with their every move something as simple as feeding was just so special to see.
Find out more about gorilla trekking here | Read our blog, The Adventurer’s Ready-To-Go Gorilla Tracking Tour
Adventure three took us to Tanzania for our Elewana Sky Safari, which includes the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, Treetops’ Private 87,000 acre game concession and an excursion to Lake Manyara National Park.
We started at Arusha Coffee Lodge and enjoyed a tour of the coffee plantation around the lodge and sampled the produce. After lunch we were transported to the local airstrip for our flight to the Tarangire National Park. There to meet us with more food and drink was our guide for the duration. En route to our accommodation at Tarangire Treetops, on the edge of the park, we saw more elephants than I have ever expected could be in one area. Treetops is excellent for viewing elephants as they have a watering hole in front of the resort. We toured the local Masai village and saw plenty wildlife on game drives, including vultures feeding on a wildebeest and a leopard in a tree – quite spectacular.
You will never starve on one of these safaris. After more food and drink on offer, we were on a flight to Ngorongoro Crater, where we were whisked off by our next guide to our accommodation: The Manor at Ngorongoro. Sitting on the outer edge of the crater, this lodge overlooks the surrounding area. The service here is really special. The next morning our crater game drive lived up to our expectations. The Crater is a wide expanse of land with much wildlife to see. We watched a lion-buffalo chase and the hippos were the star of the day; their antics in the pond rolling over were hilarious.
Next morning, we headed off to Lake Manyara. Absolutely beautiful! The drive through the forest revealed baboons and monkeys. The lake was alive with birdlife, including pink flamingo. After lunch we were back to the airport for our flight to the Serengeti. At the airport we were greeted with an afternoon drink. On our drive to our accommodation, Serengeti Migration Camp, we saw two young secretary birds being fed by their mother and a pride of lions resting under a tree. As we approached we could see the buffalo the lions had been feeding on. My wife commented, “If this is camping count me in for it anytime.”
Serengeti Migration Camp is the luxury version of camping, on a rocky ridge overlooking the Grumeti River. The resident hippos keep you amused with their noise all day long.
Next morning, we had a two and half hour drive to the Mara River. We saw a lion lazing under a bush to avail itself for pictures. You could tell we were approaching the Mara area as the number of wildebeest increased dramatically. There is no place like the Mara River in the world – wildebeest as far as the eye can see. It seemed like they just mindlessly follow each other around in large circles. While watching one enormous group ahead of us, our young British colleague cried, “They’re crossing behind us!” We all turned to see a small group reach the Kenyan side. Then someone shouted, “They’re turning back.” One of the wildebeest had been taken by a crocodile.
It was something you wish to witness but don’t think you’ll ever get to see.
After a small fight by the wildebeest it was lunch for the crocodile. Seeing the migration on the river bank was well worth the time spent on the drive. Our flight back to Arusha took us over the active volcano – what a sight. We don’t have any of these in Australia. Back in Arusha we went to the Coffee Lodge had a quick clean up and we were then transferred to Kilimanjaro – homeward bound… And so ended our three wonderful safaris.
Read more in our blog: The Great Migration Uncovered.
Thank you to The Fergusons for sharing their wonderful memories with us!
Keen to visit these wildest places in Africa yourself? Contact us to start planning!
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ― “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” By Dr. Seuss
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Tamlin has been exploring, writing about and photographing Africa ever since her first job as a photojournalist for Getaway Magazine. She's lived on an island, eaten with lions, sailed catamarans in the Indian Ocean, tracked wild dogs with Kinglsey Holgate, and white water rafted down the Zambezi and has kept just about every airplane ticket that has crossed her hands.
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