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Elena Theodosiou in Botswana and South Africa


AAC Staff in Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana

 

Celebrating her 50th birthday in style, AAC Senior Safari Consultant Elena Theodosiou is currently traveling to Botswana’s Mashatu Game Reserves with her beautiful family. She reports that the game viewing has been very rewarding. “Every time I go on safari I am in awe and inspired like it is the first time!”

 

 

 

 

Update from Elena’s safari in South Africa!

 

Greetings from the MalaMala Game Reserve. What a fantastic day in the bush. Leopards are my favorite animals and I was thrilled to see this huge leopard out in the open. Know as the “Treehouse” male, he was out patrolling the Marthly region of the reserve.

 

 

  


 



Eyes of the Elephant Safari to Zimbabwe by Szilvia Hegyi and Elena Theodosiou


Our safari to Zimbabwe started with an overnight at the African Rock Hotel in Johannesburg. The hotel is in close proximity to the airport and a great option for overnight stays. The staff was friendly and the food was great! After a delicious breakfast we were ready to start our adventure in Zimbabwe.


Our flight to Harare was a little less than 2 hours. Our guide Nick Murray met us at the airport and together we boarded our charter flight to Mana Pools, and already enjoyed the fantastic scenery of Zimbabwe from the air (just over an hour flight).

On arrival in Mana we began game viewing immediately. Our first sighting 15 minutes from the airstrip was Fred (Astaire because he can dance!) who then promptly went onto his hind legs (not once but twice!).  What a nice introduction to Mana Pools, wow! We enjoyed a lovely sundowner at the Zambezi River and continued our afternoon game drive with many nice elephant, jackal and buffalo sightings. We enjoyed a very nice dinner at Vundu Camp and a restful night listening to a hippos and birds through the night.

Dancing elephant at Mana pools. Dancing elephant at Mana pools.

Dancing elephant at Mana pools. Dancing elephant at Mana pools.

Next morning we went on a shared walking safari with Alistair Chambers who took us on a quest to find the wild dog den. It was a great walk, cool morning and Alistair led us – barefoot – which was a wonder to all the Americans! We got to the den and crawled on our behinds, the dogs were behind heavy brush – however we could see the puppies and also the minders who were left behind to take care of them.  While we were sitting there the rest of the pack came back and we could hear the whole greeting ceremony!  Lots of chirping and retching….once the rest of the pack realized we were there a lot of loud growling ensued and after a while Alistair pulled us out slowly.  It was an amazing experience!

In the afternoon we drove around with Nick Murray until we found Mudzi. We parked the vehicle and the second walk of the day began. Our walk involved walking over that fine Kalahari sand which is like walking on a beach – challenging.  When we got to Mudzi – he was with a whole lot of other elephants: Some juveniles, some females with young calves.

Herd of other elephants: Some juveniles, some females with young calves at Kalahari sand Eyes of the Elephant Safari to Zimbabwe by Szilvia Hegyi and Elena Theodosiou

Mudzi was close to the river waiting for water to seep up through the sand and very busy drinking and almost dozing. We walked to the river bend and sat down in front of the ellies, only a few feet away from them. We were closer than we ever imagined being to a wild bull elephant but it was so peaceful it was surreal! We then pulled back a little bit and sat around some trees, sometimes on buffalo poop and many thorns, but we did not care. All we cared about was the amazing elephant sighting we had a chance to experience.  We spent the next two + hours sitting with the ellies. We actually got mock charged by a mommy and managed to take a short video. It was amazing that one ‘Hey’ from Nick was all it took and she backed off and walked away like nothing had happened (while we were already behind the trees)!

Close ecncounter of Mudzi the elephant sat down in front of the ellies, very close to the elephant

Next morning we had a morning game drive and came back to camp to collect bags and say goodbye to the staff.  Nick drove us to Mana West where the Ruckomechi vehicle met us. Both of us cried when we left Vundu. Nick was lovely and gave us lots of hugs and told us we could come back, but I think he was a little overwhelmed with the two crying woman on his hands!

We left Mana West and drove slowly to Ruckomechi – our guide was Gadrick. Upon arrival at Ruckomechi we enjoyed a greeting committee of 3 elephants roaming around the main area of the camp. Even when we returned for our high tea we found the elephants were in camp and walking around the dining room area!  Elena had to move from her seat because one of the ellies started to walk in her direction.

For our afternoon we choose to enjoy a flat bottom boat ride. It was lovely being out and the Zambezi river was truthfully awe-inspiring – very wide with lots of islands.  It was a little windy so the water was a little choppy and a little brisk. Again, we had some fantastic elephant sightings, saw ellies roaming around on the islands. Lots of hippos and crocodiles completed the idyllic atmosphere of the river. When the sun was starting to set we came round the bend and could see a lovely little fire on the banks.

Elephant sighting with beautiful sunset at Zambezi river

We had wonderful sundowners with a chef actually cooking wings for us over the fire.  The vehicle was waiting for us and the gentleman who had driven the vehicle then took the boat back to camp.  So after very nice sundowners (gorgeous sunset) and a walk through the ‘adrenaline grass’ to water the daisies we were off on a night game drive. Dinner was delicious as always, the food is definitely one of the wonderful elements of the entire safari experience.

The next morning we had breakfast and a game drive, came back to camp for nice brunch and then onto  Mana West for our scheduled charter flight departure. We very briefly saw a lovely young female leopard (our 1st leopard sighting on this safari!) right on the side of the track – gorgeous but we were both so taken aback no photos were taken. What a nice farewell sighting for our departure from Ruckomechi!

From Mana the flight took about two hours to Hwange. We were lucky and got a Caravan plane.  On arrival in Hwange we were met by Themba who was our guide at Little Makalolo. He and his lovely wife Bee manage Little Makalolo Camp.

Our first afternoon we sat at the log pile elephant hide! It was probably the most perfect afternoon for this experience – clear sky with fluffy white clouds, tons of elephants coming in drinking and moving off with other elephants waiting to come and drink, and all the reflections of the sky and elephants in the water of the waterhole!! We could have sat there for hours.

Themba is a larger than life character who turned out to be a really great guide and saw things in the bush that ‘normal’ human eye cannot spot.

with the guide, Themba at Little Makalolo we sat at the log pile elephant hide! at Little Makalolo

reflections of the sky and elephants in the water of the waterhole! at  Little Makalolo

Continued on for the afternoon game drive and went and saw the site for the future Linkwasha Camp – which will be in the same approximate area of where the original Linkwasha was. Beautiful location with a wide open plain, the water hole is close to camp which will definitely be a big favorite. We had sundowners here again the ellies came down to drink while we had a lovely drink. Nice dinner with everyone sitting around the fire and lots of buffalos very close to the dining area.

The next day we went out early and first sighting of the day a female leopard busily plucking the feathers off a guinea fowl!  She was a distance from us but then Themba (the eagle eyed) saw that she had cubs hidden in a tree across the track behind our vehicles.  She eventually made her way across the track and called to her cubs so we saw the whole family! It was fantastic and everyone around the sighting was over the moon. We say some plains game and came back for brunch and enjoyed a nice siesta!

We had a great afternoon drive – and went and saw Davison’s camp which is a lovely alternative option in Hwange. The upstairs deck is a great addition to the renovated main area allowing travelers a fantastic view of the waterhole.

female leopard busily plucking the feathers off a guinea fowl! female leopard busily plucking the feathers off a guinea fowl!

Again nice sundowners, and great dinner at Little Makalolo for our last night at the camp. The next morning we left early to begin the drive to Hwange Main game viewing along the way. This turned out to be a great morning as we saw a very handsome lion pair (beautiful black maned lion and his lady love).  They were walking on the side of the road so we kept up with them for some time.  Fantastic photo opportunities and considering our only other lions were a few moth eaten, lazy lionesses at Vundu we were very happy to see them. We also had a fantastic ostrich sighting here – one poor male wooing two females – he was all over the place!  Lovely to see the joy of the mating dance!

 very handsome lion his lady love lioness

On arrival at Hwange Main we were met by Lauren who drove us through to Ivory lodge which is an excellent addition to the Mother Africa voluntourism itinerary. We also went and saw Khulu Ivory which is looking gorgeous.

Departed by road to Bulawayo, which was about 2 hours. Continued onto Amalinda which is about 20 minutes away – what a special place!  The camp is built among rocky outcrops and offers a wide variety of activities including walks to rock paintings and a cultural opportunity to visit an orphanage. We had room 7 and 8 set in the one corner close together so this could also work for older kids. Room 7 has a little wooden bridge to the door and a lovely outside patio and an original rock painting inside the room, what a treat! Both rooms were gorgeous (the electric blankets on the beds!!). And the first hair dryer on the trip!!!

a Red Big Rock Amalinda Lodge built among rocky outcrops

a couple rhinos

After breakfast we went off to Ethandweni and met Lucien who is in charge of the orphanage. What an extraordinary man!  It was incredible what has been achieved and how well organized the orphanage is. We walked around the orphanage and looked at the rooms, the vegetable gardens (with the roster of who is on ‘baboon watch’) and met a few of the children.

The trip was ending, so sadly we drove to the Bulawayo Airport (a very impressive clean and tidy small airport) and flew back to Johannesburg. SA Airlink served us the best meal out of all our flights – a very nice cold chicken salad with a beautiful blueberry mousseycheesecakey pudding and crackers with cheese (and this is a very short flight about an hour and 20 minutes)!

After both of us having been on many safaris we can confidently say that Zimbabwe is one of the best safari destinations offering superb wildlife and cultural experience! We will be back!!!

- by: Szilvia Hegyi and Elena Theodosiou



Lynne and Elena's Adventure to Kenya


October 2013
After a couple of nights spent in Nairobi and inspecting some properties, we both agreed that the new Hemmingway’s is definitely a fantastic addition to Nairobi’s accommodations. We spent a wonderful overnight at Giraffe Manor (every bit as beautiful as one would imagine) and then we were off on safari!

Feeding the Giraffe in Nairobi Feeding the Giraffe in Nairobi
Feeding the Giraffe in Nairobi

On arrival in Laikipia we were whisked off to Solio for two nights.  We had fantastic wild life viewing at Solio where the rhinos were the true stars – both black and white!  We spend a full day in the Aberdares which opened up another whole experience – the green hills and valleys, streams and waterfalls provided gorgeous scenery, as well as some interesting wildlife!

Green hills and valleys, streams and waterfalls at Aberdares Maasai Outfit
Lion hiding in the bush
Crowned Crane Black rhinos

From Laikipia we went off to Samburu and our next lodge Sasaab.  Sasaab is a stunning property – a mix of Arabian nights meets African Bush and set the side of a hill overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River.  Hot and dry with some very interesting additions to our wildlife viewing – Grevy’s zebra, gerenuk (who amazingly never drink water) and lots of elephants.

African Bush in Ewaso Nyiro River
Riding a Camel African ostrich
gerenuk

Last but certainly not least we flew to the Maasai Mara.  Here we were fortunate enough to spend two nights at Sala’s Camp.  We hit the game viewing jackpot on the way from the airstrip to camp.  Our guide spotted mating leopards!

Leopard in Sala's Camp Lynne and Elena's Adventure to Kenya
Group of Cheetah Wildebeest on a beautiful sunset background

Sala’s is small and intimate and tucked away in a secluded area with views of the Sand River looking towards the Serengeti ( Tanzania ).  Great game viewing but the lions roaring all night was definitely a favorite experience!  We then spent a night at Rekero Camp on the banks of the Talek River and a night at Naboisho Camp in the Naboisho Conservancy – both tented camps with excellent locations and game viewing.

We were very sad to come home but brought back with us great memories, fantastic game viewing and incredible experiences to share with our colleagues and our safariers!


Lynne and Elena's at Naboisho Camp

- by: Elena Theodosiou and Lynne Glasgow


Elena Theodosiou - Serengeti Explored Safari to Tanzania


Love affair - Tanzania!
This has been a very special year for us at The Africa Adventure Company. We celebrated our 25 th anniversary, and as part of the celebrations I was chosen to accompany our '12 day Explored Safari to Tanzania.

Our small group consisted of the five of us: Charles and Barbara Nance from St Louis Missouri, Judy Maron from San Diego California, Sonia Cohen from Fort Lauderdale Florida and me also Fort Lauderdale Florida. The sixth and I think we would all agree most important me mber of our group was our guide Emmanuel Mkenda. This gentle man with the big smile took our safari to the next level - his professionalism, knowledge, patience, skill in locating wildlife and absolute determination to make very minute we were on safari special blew us all away! We learned so much from Mkenda - he is definitely the best kind of ambassador for The Africa Adventure Company, Ranger Safaris and ultimately the wildlife and people of Tanzania.

I met the group in Tanzania at the Kilimanjaro Airport and we started our adventure with the drive to Ndarakwai our first stop. This lovely little camp is located in the foothills of Kilimanjaro and is a gentle introduction into the wonders of game viewing. We enjoyed a game drive , a very interesting game walk in the afternoon and a visit with the local Masai village.

Sonia, Judy, Elena, Ndarakwai Guide, Mkenda, Charles and Barbara
From Left to right: Sonia, Judy, Elena, Ndarakwai Guide, Mkenda, Charles and Barbara

5353 North Federal Highway, Suite 300  Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33308 U.S.A Tel: 800·882·9453  Tel: 954·491·8877  Fax: 954·491·9060

email: safari@AfricanAdventure.com ï‚· www.africanadventure.com

Judy with her personal bead artist. Elena and Sonia with the young Masaai girls
Elena and Sonia with the young Masaai girls and Judy with her personal bead artist.

From the foothills of Kilimanjaro we drove through Arusha and onto Tarangire National Park - and the most wonderful camp Tarangire Treetops . Tarangire proved to be full of wildlife from the moment we drove in to the park. The visit rewarded us with lions, a beautiful male leopard, lots of elephants, buffalo, many more elephants, an African rock python in a tree, a giraffe at a water hole (drinking!) and so many grazers I lost count.

Lion Lumps   Leopard in a tree? Elephants everywhere
Lion Lumps    /             Leopard in a tree?          /        Elephants everywhere

We made is our mission to spread the word about the AAC anniversary throughout Tanzania and Mkenda was kind enough to get the local Masaai involved in the celebration.

Elena Theodosiou - Serengeti Explored Safari to Tanzania

The next day we began the drive to our next destination, Lake Manya ra. Mkenda stopped at the Masaai livestock market - where Masaai from many villages meet together and buy and sell cows, goats and sheep. The vibrant colors and all the human and animal sounds together were really incredible and opened another window into this fascinating culture. During the game drive in the park w e were hugely fortunate to see the tree climbing lions here.

Catnapping - in a tree
Catnapping - in a tree

The next day we continued with the drive through the Ngorongoro Conservation area on the way to the Crater our next stop. The crater is a wonder of nature. The only non -flooded intact caldera on the planet! The wildlife who live here are concentrated in this small but incredible area and make game viewing really easy. We saw lions, hyenas, black -backed jackal, and elephants. We had lunch with one of the huge elephants who call the crater home. He was eating the bark of a yellow acacia and we were in our vehicle enjoying a lovely packed picnic lunch! We all agreed it was one of our best meals - good company!

Enjoying the view of the crater below	Lunch in Ngorongoro Crater Elephant
Enjoying the view of the crater below Lunch in Ngorongoro Crater

Next came Oldupai where we stopped at the Leakey's Museum and we then continued the drive to the Serengeti stopping off at the shifting sands. Being game f or everything we all had to climb the sands and continue our AAC anniversary celebration.

Enjoying the view from the shifting sands
Enjoying the view from the shifting sands

As we neared the Serengeti the terrain again began to change . Having had some early rains this year, parts of the park were lush and green and other parts still dry. The Serengeti is amazing in that it has so many different landscapes - from granitic outcrops (called kopjes) to rolling hills and then the vast open plains. It continued to surprise us the whole time we were there.

Where to celebrate our AAC anniversary?? Right, let's do it after lunch.

Lunch in the Serengeti!
Lunch in the Serengeti!

Once we arrived at camp and after a nice warm shower we sat around the fire reliving a very exciting and full day. Mkenda had asked us to be up and ready extra early so that we could maximize our day.

Mobile Tented Camp
Mobile Tented Camp

This is truly one of the best parts of being on safari - the hands on, on the ground (but with all the comforts of home - and then some) '˜Out of Africa' safari experience.

Our first sighting about 15 minutes from camp was a secretary bird - killing (with some hard kicks that were audible all the way to the vehicle) and then eating a puff adder! Certainly one of the most memorable kills I have every seen.


Secretary bird with puff adder   /         Baby Zebra napping      /      Lions making advances
Secretary bird with puff adder   /         Baby Zebra napping      /      Lions making advances

The Great Migration! W e went off to see what was happening at the river only to get there just in time for the tail end of a river crossing! We were so excited and overwhelmed it brought some of us to tears - just the privilege of being witnesses to this awesome spectacle.

In to the river and out the other side! In to the river and out the other side!
In to the river and out the other side!

While waiting to see if any more wildebeest would take the leap - Charles spotted some action close to
the river and pointed it out to Mkenda who said one word '˜cheetah'! Off we went to investigate and found a coalition of three male cheetahs who had brought down a juvenile wildebeest and were in the process of lunch. The two of them had moved off to the side while the third took his turn and we then watched them all relax in a nice shady spot with very full bellies!


Cheetahs, relax in a nice shady spot with very full bellies! coalition of three male cheetahs who had brought down a juvenile wildebeest

I love cooking so I had to check out the camp kitchen. The metal box is the oven (it produced some of the most delicious bread we have ever eaten and for desert - a crème caramel)!

Elena Theodosiou - Serengeti Explored Safari to Tanzania Elena Theodosiou - Serengeti Explored Safari to Tanzania

Leaving camp behind we started the drive, game viewing along the way to our last night on safari at the beautiful Migration Camp. Arriving at Migration Camp in the late afternoon we all wanted some time to think over the amazing abundance of wildlife we had seen and then some well deserved sundowners on the deck!

The beautiful kopjes, and our banner one last time with the wildebeest as back ground. The beautiful kopjes, and our banner one last time with the wildebeest as back ground.
The beautiful kopjes, and our banner one last time with the wildebeest as back ground.

Tanzania was truly a revelation for me - having had the privilege of being on safari before the sheer scope of the parks and the abundance of the wildlife was incredible. This was truly an adventure to remember for all of us!

Many thanks to my fellow safariers for making this such a fun safari , and to Mkenda who made this safari special - whose knowledge and pride in his beautiful country touched us all. Your love of what you do and the joy you bring to it is remarkable.


Wildlife in the plains with Mt. Kilimanjato in the background

- by: Elena Theodosiou


Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou


A special safari this one - I had the pleasure of traveling with 3 Africa '˜virgins' - my partner Sonia and our dearest friends Barbara and Steve. For those of us who have had the good fortune to have been on safari lready taking first timers is incredibly exciting - we know what is coming and how fantastic the whole experience is ….

Africa Adventure with friends by Elena Theodosiou

After a few days with my family in Johannesburg we left for Maun and were met by our bush pilot and our first flight over the delta. Chitabe was our first stop and our first game drive we found a juvenile leopard that had eaten too much impala and lay full and sleepy in the shade a few feet from the vehicle - needless to say my safariers were blown away. The sense of triumph an d I told you so…was overpowering. After a second game filled day at Chitabe we continued to Vumbura Plains - the game viewing continued, our first night drive at Vumbura a pride of lions roaring so close to the vehicle you could feel the vibrations in y our chest! What can I say we saw it all and more - with the most memorable '˜encounter' being that night when we all went to bed and the hippos came to crop the grass under the tent and kept Steve awake the whole night wondering what was going on outside - needless to say the three girls slept through it all and he has yet to live it down!

Herds of elephants in the bush Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou

Next Victoria Falls where the water was so high you could see the mist from everywhere - it was truly the smoke that thunders! We stayed at the grand Victoria Falls Hotel which is so beautiful and where sitting on the outside patio gives you a sweeping expanse of lawn, the bridge and the mist from the falls as your view - breathtaking. We enjoyed the Jungle Junction for dinner, the next day an elephant back safari and a sunset cruise on the Zambezi. A grand time was had by all…

Victoria Falls Victoria Falls Victoria Falls

Cape Town was good to us and the weather was absolutely beautiful! We stayed at the Cape Grace with a beautiful view of the Marina. One of my favorite things is to reserve '˜a go as you please' and I had arranged two days for us. The first day we did the peninsula with the drive on the coast, Cape Point, and visited the penguins and the seals - our afternoon ended with Table Mountain - crystal clear air views of the who le city, the new stadium and a glass of wine. The next day we drove to the wine lands - some of the most awe inspiring countryside, surrounded by mountains, vine yards on the slopes and the little historic towns of Franshhoek and Stellenbosch. We had lunch at the Goatshed at Fairview - where you can enjoy some of the excellent wines they produce along with excellent goats cheese a fantastic combination for a lazy afternoon. The next morning we spent some time at Greenmarket square looking (and buying) so me of the fantastic curios and African art, a visit to the V&A for an excellent lunch at Balthazar - and a stroll enjoying our last sights and sounds of Cape Town.

Penguins in Cape Town. Cape Town

Our last stop was Phinda in northern KwaZulu -Natal. We spent time at Mountain and Forest Lodge and enjoyed both very much. Forest Lodge is in a very special sand forest area and has a very special feel about it - definitely a favorite. Here we had our fist rhino sightings which we up close and personal and reminded me how huge these animals are - for my newbie's they were impressed and a little shaken at how close this encounter truly was. The game viewing was great and in -between game drives I got the opportunity to have a look at all the Phinda properties. Our last night on safari we had a boma dinner under the African stars with the special smells and sounds surrounding us.

Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou Safari with friends by Elena Theodosiou

- by: Elena Theodosiou


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