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Back from South Africa

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After helping to chase giraffe and zebra from the runway at Londolozi, my small plane was able to land and transport me to Jo'burg. That proved to be a wonderfully unique send-off as I left paradise...animals stopping by to say farewell!

Highlights of my May 18-28 trip:

>The matriarch of a large breeding herd trumpeting and chasing our Land Rover at top speed. Certainly gets the adrenalin pumping.

>Watching a week-old elephant baby cross the Sand River right beneath my deck at Singita. No need for a game drive : )

>Following leopard as she tracked impala at night under a moonless sky. The Milky Way and her constellations are just incredible with virtually no light pollution.

>Sighting sub-adult cheetah that I'd watched as a 5-month old on my visit last May. I'm not sure she recognized me, but I was thrilled to see her : )

>Learning a bit about the Zulu and Shangan cultures (11 cows as the Zulu' bride price'...not sure the Shangan tracker was 'topping' when he said that in their culture the bride price was 16 cows)

>Following a large male lion as he called for and tracked his two females and two cubs. He was hungry and wanted them to hunt for him. Wisely, they did not respond and later, we watched the small pride go out to hunt without him. At one point, I think I heard the male lion say, "where's the remote?"

After months of planning and getting great advice from the travelers here, it's hard to believe my trip is behind me. I was close to heaven there. In retrospect, Phinda Forest was a wonderful surprise. I found the setting enchanting, as red duiker and nyala are literally on your doorstep. The setting made me feel like I was a part of a fairy tale. The price is one third that of Singita. Phinda is an exceptional value.

Londolozi Tree was special as well. Six chalets keep the feel intimate. My ranger, Maxine, was just exceptional. I look forward to reading about others traveling, so I can relive these moments vicariously through your stories. Thank you, thank you for your advice and support.

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