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King's Pool, Jao, Singita Ebony Trip Report

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Special thanks to the members of this forum for helping us plan this very special, once in a lifetime trip!

Ericka

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TRANSPORTATION

We were lucky enough to fly Singapore Business Class from JFK to Frankfurt and then Lufthansa First Class to Johannesburg. Both provided lay-flat seating and excellent service, but the highlight had to be the First Class terminal in Frankfurt. Lufthansa is the first to provide this unique service to its passengers – a small, discreet, fully functional terminal with security, passport control, and free services including a wonderful sit-down restaurant, unlimited French Champagne, a personal concierge, driver and valet. At boarding time, the driver brought us to the belly of the 747 in a Mercedes S Class to ensure a more private and efficient boarding process.

Once in Africa, our flights were somewhat less luxurious, particularly in Botswana. Most of our transfers between camps were done by light aircraft (4-6 seats) and the thermals made the trips very uncomfortable and nauseating. When we were lucky enough to board a 12-seater Cessna, the trips were much better. Federal Air, which operates in South Africa, seemed to be the only charter company that had larger (18+ seat) planes, which were better all-around.

ACCOMMODATIONS

All of our accommodations were luxurious, but in different ways. The one common element between them was the exceptional service. Since the properties were consistently small and the staff to guest ratio was consistently high, anything was possible. All we had to do was ask. The important thing to note is that we are confident we had just the right mix of lodging types and geographic areas when it came to the overall safari experience. There were also an abundance of animals that came very close to our rooms and often onto our decks for both water and mischief. These included elephants, hyena, vervet monkeys, baboons, and ngalas.

**Grace in Rosebank: Johannesburg, SA**
This is the sister property of the famous Cape Grace in Capetown. It is located in a Joburg suburb and has a very intimate feel. It is a smaller property by Joburg standards and we relished the quiet. We especially liked the traditional décor – painted wood, dark stained wood, lovely shades of green, and Ubatuba granite.

**King’s Pool: Linyanti Reserve, Botswana**
This is a luxury tented camp in a very dry (we were there in the dry season) area of Botswana. Free-standing suites are on raised platforms and have large decks, private plunge pools and salas. Hippos and elephants snored under our suite each night.

**Jao Camp: Okavango Delta, Botswana**
This is a luxury tented camp in a tropical, very wet part of Botswana. It was recently featured in Architectural Digest for its phenomenal layout and Balinese influences. Free-standing suites are on raised platforms with private salas. The walkways leading to the suites are raised as well. We especially enjoyed the songs of the birds and bell frogs each morning – they were so loud, they must have been fighting to be heard! Jao is best known as a water camp and offers a unique mokoro (canoe) experience.

**Singita Ebony: Sabi Sands Reserve, SA**
Singita is an award-winning lodge in South Africa. What set the Singita Ebony property apart from the others were the amenities available in each free-standing suite – air conditioning, full power, hair dryers, etc. The suites here also had plunge pools. We loved the British colonial décor, the claw-footed bathtubs and the slate floors.

GAME VIEWING (please forgive spelling)

**King’s Pool: Linyanti Reserve, Botswana**
Red lechwe
Hippos
Lots of elephant and babies
Giraffe and youngsters
Antelope
Red hornbill
Pregnant leopard
Red billed francolin
Tree squirrels
Vervet monkeys
Go-away bird
Grey headed sparrow
Cape turtle dove
Lilac breasted roller
Fork tailed drungle
Crested barbet
Fruit bat
Scrub hare
Lesser bushbaby
Hyena outside our front door
Warthog and piglets
Impala
Baboon
Blacksmith plover
2 male lion – cuddle sleeping
Lesser bee eater
Crested francolin
Hunting spider wasp
Jacana bird
Pied kingfisher
700 cape buffalo – breeding heard w/babies
Zebra
Bataleur eagle
Brown snake eagle
Steenbok
Crocodile
Monitor lizard
Tropical gecko
Green spotted wood dove
Carmine bee-eater colony
Greater blue-eared glossy starling
Guinea fowl
Genet
White-tailed mongoose
Waddled crane
Giant eagle owl
Bell frog
Waterbuck
Hawk eagle w/ a francolin kill
Female leopard in a tree
White backed vulture
Swallow tailed bee eater
Violet eared waxbill
Blue waxbill
Egrets
Tetse fly
Ground hornbill

**Jao Camp: Okavango Delta, Botswana**
Squacco heron
Lilac breasted roller
Steenbok
Red lechwe
Arrow-marked babbler
2 male lion
Yellow-billed egret
Breeding heard of elephants – watched a baby nurse
Tsessebe
Blacksmith plover
March owl
4 male lions fighting over territory
Hyena in camp
Lioness in camp
Pied kingfisher
Night and day lilies
Fish eagle
Malachite kingfisher
African jacana, nest and eggs
Young crocodile
Emerald spotted dove
Red billed buffalo weaver
Cape buffalo
Baboons
Kudu and baby
Ostrich and babies
Wildebeest
Zebras and babies
Spur-winged geese
Impala
Brown parrot
Vultures
Go-away bird
Black coucal
Open billed stork
Saddle billed stork
Pygmy geese
White faced whistling duck
Sacred ibis
Waddled crane
Tilapia
Water skater
Reed cormorant
Green pigeon
Vervet monkeys
Dragonflies
Purple heron
Red billed buffalo weaver
Reed frog

**Singita Ebony: Sabi Sands Reserve, SA**
Ngala mother and baby drinking from plunge pool
Impala
Waterbuck
Zebra
White rhino
Grey duiker
Barn owl
White tailed mongoose
Scrub hare
Greater kudu
Hyena
Bull elephants
Giraffe
Brown snake eagle
Steenbok
Yellow billed hornbill
Leopard with kill in tree, cubs stashed somewhere
Magpie shrike
Waxbills
Red billed oxpeckers
Vervet monkeys
Baby crocodile
Zebra
Wahlberg eagle
Go away bird
Gabar goshawk
Woodpecker
Crested barbet
Dwarf mongoose
Starlings
Striped kingfisher
Blacksmith lapwing
Chameleon
Cobra
Guttural toads
Wildebeest
Hyena mothers and cubs at den (they laugh!)
Lions on wildebeest kill
Arrow-marked babbler
Carnivorous ants
Hippo
Vulture
Yellow-throated longclaw
Scrub hare
Spotted genet
Lion steals kill from leopard/tree
Troop of hyenas steal kill from lion
Found dead hyena mother (killed by lion)

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