Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > What was your best experience in Africa (and an aside to King)

What was your best experience in Africa (and an aside to King)

Reply

Mar 30th, 2003, 06:39 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 314
What was your best experience in Africa (and an aside to King)

What was your best experience in Africa? What is it that calls to you to return?

(And an aside to King) - King, I've dutifully printed all of your good information from the Africa threads here so I can put together my trip. I'm curious how many years you have been going to Africa, how long you usually stay, and how often you go.
mariacallas is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2003, 06:54 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 252
My best African experiences involve the big cats in the Sabi Sand, South Africa. Last May at Leopard Hills we spent the week tracking 3 leopard cubs and their mother. It was remarkable to be so close to them and follow their daily exploring. How easy it became to get caught up in the drama of their young lives...when will the mother return, will they survive another night alone, will they survive that fall from the tree as they practice climbing (they did : )

Another highlight was spending time in the middle of a lion pride as they fed on bush buck in complete darkness. It was an incredibly powerful, visceral experience. This was at Singita. I return this May for what I hope will be another remarkable game viewing experience.
girlpolo33 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2003, 07:25 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 723
Several experiences were so wonderful that I cannot pinpoint the "best."

Witnessing a crossing of the Mara River by wildebeest. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of it.

Watching a leopard in the Mara. It was incredible and it was only after it climed up a tree that we noticed it had an impala drapped over a branch. We watched as the leopard ate, as hyenas stood guard at the bottom of the tree in the hope a few scraps would fall. It was an honor and a privilege to spend time (we stayed with it for almost two hours) with such a spectacular animal.

Eating our picnic breakfast in the Mara while no more than 20 feet away from two magnificent males eating their breakfast. Stayed with them for a couple of hours and watched as the "clean up crews" i.e. hyena and jackals and vultures, moved in afterward.

Waking up one night and looking outside of our tent to see a massive hippo happily munching on grass no more than 10 feet from our tent patio. (Mara)

Being "slimed" by a giraffe in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Our guide got us so close to a giraffe eating from an acacia tree that we were literally underneath the giraffe. When the leaves fell from the gorgeous animal's mouth, they fell on top of us.

Being charged (perhaps it was a mock charge, but it was a charge all the same) by a hippo while in the Rufiji River in Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania.

Driving up to Lake Tagalala in Selous and realizing that all those hundreds of "logs" along the shore, were not logs but crocodiles.

Could go on but those were definitely the highlights.
SusanLynne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2003, 07:43 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 612
Dear Girlpolo

I also stayed at Sabi sand. Will you be going to different lodges this time?
pattysuericia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2003, 12:24 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 165
MariaCallas

I have been visiting Africa for over 20 years, sometimes once a year, sometimes twice. I have been to other parts of the world but I just feel there is nothing better than the African wildlife, landscapes, skies and people. Everyday on the field is a different day and I relish the unexpected surprises during the game drives. Even now as I write, I can smell the Masai Mara in the morning, I can hear the sounds of the African birds as the morning light creeps over the Africa plains, I can hear the grunts of the lions in the night,I can picture the amazing sunsets and dusks when everything suddenly falls silent, until the next day. I believe nature is the best therapy there is available. I have worked out over the years that visiting cities is stressful (queues, traffic jams, pollution, etc. etc..). Last year I went to Malaysia for a beach holiday and I found the resort too sanitized and the sevice extremely fussy. In contrast, everything in Africa is laid back which is my kind of style. I don't need the spas, etc. as that leads to more schedules to organise and to keep. All I need is nature and there is plenty of that in Africa.
king is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2003, 07:40 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,180
This is a hard one to answer.

When I was a teenager I first went to Kenya and Tanzania. Whilst there are some special moments which stand out in my memory I certainly didn't get the Africa bug then.

I do remember the stunning wide open plains with those wonderfully shaped acacia trees - the sunsets were so pretty and when the birds would sit on the trees the silhouettes were even more special.

I remember the awe of waking up to a view of Kilimanjaro.

Of course I remember spotting first wildlife.

But I also remember experiencing the worst racism I've experienced in my life (and I grew up in Luton!!) and also remember being very very very ill - my parents, both doctors were on the verge of arranging for me to be flown to hospital when I finally turned the corner. Travelling from one camp to another when that ill was hellish! Those looong bumpy rides.

I also wasn't so keen on the pop-top vans - it was impossible to stay standing when actually travelling and I wished I could.



So why did we book a trip to Southern Africa in 2001 when I hadn't been back since the 80s trip and my husband had never been?

My parents went to Bots, Namib and Zim in 1999 and raved about it. And considering they travel everywhere this really does say something. I mean, they were on the FIRST EVER tourist boat to the North Pole (these ice breaker cruises are common now but this was the first one)...

They suggested we go, and at first we said no... money issues etc. But then we decided to do it...

So the best Africa experiences for me are from Botswana and Namibia.

Here are just a few.

I'd worked all day in the office (I was a permie employee at Thomson Holidays back then) and then took the crowded, smelly, hot and sweaty London Underground (Tube) to the airport where I met Pete, and we flew to Johannesburg. Then we had to change and take a flight to Windhoek.

We arrived in Windhoek absolutely exhausted and still had one more flight to go! I have to admit I was wondering what on EARTH I was doing - had my parents gone mad? WHAT could possibly be worth this?

cont'd
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2003, 07:40 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,180
But then we got through immigration, were met by our WS pilots who grabbed our bags, walked us back around and through the outgoing desks (what's the opposite of immigration desk called at an airport?) and out to the tiny cessna sitting on the tarmac.

That flight lifted our spirits like little else. We were soaring spiritually as well as physically. It felt like my heart was singing. The views below were simply breathtaking and we were immediately revitalised.

We arrived at Wolwedans air strip and were checked in and given a drink before being driven to the dunes lodge. Wow! The first sight of that setting was also breathtaking. We went straight out on a sundowner having forgotten about the exhaustion of a long day at work followed by a longer journey�

After a fabulous meal that night, we retired to our dune lodge chalet � we kept the canvas wall at the foot of our bed completely open. Looking up at the clearest night sky I have ever seen was another special moment. I grew up in London & Luton and have also lived in Coventry. None of those cities allow for night sky viewing. I simply never knew that such a view existed. It was the most romantic evening you could imagine.

The next morning we awoke to the sun rising over the mountains and red sands we could see from our bed!

The whole trip was special but the last leg of the journey, and our first night and morning were doubly so.

Moving on we also had a special moment in Damaraland. From the road we�d seen a distant herd of desert elephant and our guide took us off road, parked the car and we began a walk towards them. They were quite a distance away so the intention was simply to get to the top of our hill so we could see them better as they grazed the next one over. Except suddenly we walked past a tree and bush and saw our guide stop dead and go very still. There, not far away, stood a bull elephant we hadn�t known was there, grazing calmly on a bush. The excitement of seeing this on foot was palpable. We watched quietly for a while before backing away, elated.

cont'd
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2003, 07:41 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,180
We also had some special moments at Little Mombo. When we landed our pilot had to buzz the runway first to encourage animals to get out of the way so he could then come around again and land. We landed and were greeted by the guide, BK. To our disappointment BK said he wouldn’t take us back to the lodge just yet (we were knackered) as another couple were landing in 15 minutes but would instead take us on a 15 minute game drive. Yeah right we thought, what would be the point. We drove off and a moment later BK heard a bird call, he said there might be a cat there, lets go. We were dubious. A few minutes later we were less than 10 feet away from a huge male leopard called Ebony. We followed him for a while and took many photos. After giving us a few minutes with him alone, BK called on the radio to say he’d found Ebony (the other guide , from Mombo main camp, had also been looking for him for a couple of days because they thought he was still in the area) and that car came and joined us and sat with him. We went back to the airstrip for the other couple and then had to go back to camp to collect another couple. We also were shown our tent, told a little about the lodge, etc. Then back out to spend the evening with Ebony (when we arrived back the other car left again). I had not expected this kind of extended and close contact with a leopard so was just bowled over. As it happens we spent the entire next morning following a female leopard and also spent lots of time with cheetah and lion but we weren’t to know that this was the norm for Mombo game viewing!

Another special moment came at Little Vumbura. The staff gave us some options for our last morning. We had taken a mekoro trip as well as a sunset powerboat trip and decided to go for the fishing option. Neither of us had ever ever ever been fishing before. Off we went with our guide, Kit, just the three of us. We made our way to a peaceful open water area amid papyrus and reeds and fished. I threw half my rod into the water and we all had hysterics, even the serious Kit who tried so hard to keep a straight face. Pete caught a bream. It was magnificent. I was pleased because Kit had clarified that it would get eaten – I don’t mind fishing if the fish get eaten, I’m not squeamish about where my food comes from, but I don’t like the idea of fishing, tearing their throat with a hook and then throwing them back in! Kit was delighted with the bream as he would have it for dinner that evening (we were leaving in a couple of hours so couldn’t share it with him). It was a moment more special than it sounds.

Anyway, now I’ve bored you all silly I’ll turn off the PC for a while and go and do something in the real world for a while!!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2003, 08:03 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,180
PS Ebony = Burnt Ebony. Not that it matters but some of you might have met him/ might one day meet him!
Kavey is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2003, 03:40 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 252
To: pattysuericia

This May I'll be staying at Phinda Forest, Singita Ebony and Londolozi Tree. Did you enjoy your trip, and where did you stay? : )
girlpolo33 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2003, 05:51 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 612
Dear Girlpolo33

I was invited by afrikaner friends who are "old hand" at these safaris-they go in the bush many many times every year. Because they booked everything at the last minute: we stayed at Idube & Sabi sabi Bush Lodge(or earth lodge)-nice nice rooms. She lives in Waterkloof Heights in Pretoria which is a beautiful area in Pretoria. I went to zimbabwe where I stayed at a lovely lodge on the Zambezi river. Went to Sun City, Cape Town and the vineyards. Then I was taken for close to a week at 3 different safari camps in Kruger National Park-so I experienced a lot. The wildlife is just so special as is everything there. Can't wait to go back. All the best
pattysuericia is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 2nd, 2003, 07:14 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4
Best Africa Moment: Taking a 3 day ride on a cargo boat up the river Niger from Mopti to Timbuktu in Mali, followed by a 4 x 4 trip back along the same route, stopping to trek through Dogon country on the way. Unbelievable!! Mali is absolutely gorgeous!
sjmcmill is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:06 PM.