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​Alison’s Safari Notebook: Linkwasha Camp, Hwange

Alison is just back from the wilds of the African bush and is sharing her insider look at the newest and most chic lodge in Zimbabwe, Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp:


Linkwasha lies in Hwange’s south-eastern corner, on a private Concession. Situated on the same site as the old Linkwasha, the camp is close to the famed Ngamo Plains, which offer fantastic summer game viewing – to add to the already excellent winter viewing.




Overlooking a pan that is a magnet for game across all seasons, the fresh, open and airy design of Linkwasha Camp is complemented by an eclectic mix of contemporary interiors that combine modern décor with the original spirit and essence of safari. The camp focuses on luxury in its eight spacious en-suite tents and one family tent that look out over the waterhole. The main area includes various multi-level decks, a pool area, and a winter lounge complete with library.




Another great aspect of Linkwasha – extraordinary safari guide, Buli!



Our family has a great history with Buli. On a family safari 5 years ago, Mark and I and our two sons met Buli on his first day as an apprentice ranger in Hwange. We had a wonderful experience with him and truly enjoyed his company in the vehicle. Fast forward to 2015, and Buli is now a top-notch Pro guide in his own right. In addition to guiding with Wilderness Safaris, he also spent two years in the wilds of Orlando, working for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a unique program where Buli was able to see the world and develop an even greater knowledge of the hospitality industry.



I requested him specifically when I arrived in Linkwasha, and was thrilled with his knowledge and guiding skills. One afternoon we spent several hours at a water hole as we watched hyena and fish eagle both scrambling to catch barbel (African catfish). And after decades going on safari, Buli helped me spot a first, and that was a Martial Eagle, the massive bird of prey, swooping and diving down to the ground at least half a dozen times trying to catch a guinea fowl, the smaller bird squawking and running and eluding the powerful and hungry raptor time after time.



Hwange is rich with plains games, and with Buli I was able to spot dozens of zebra and loads of giraffe, lots of elephant as well. Even just tracking with Buli was fun – we followed leopard tracks and the call of a splendid sighting of a Caracal cat through the bush until the sunset.



Another highlight of Linkwasha are the two great managers: Jeremy, and Chedo, who bring some great energy around the camp. 



I was lucky to also be accompanied by Courtney Johnson (far right), a former Wilderness guide who’s now the operating manager for Wilderness Safaris Zimbabwe properties. Yvonne Christian (with me on the left) and Alex, the chief Wilderness Air pilot (second from right) also were able to enjoy the guiding skills of Buli.


Linkwasha is definitely a special place in the bush, and a must visit for any client looking for outstanding accommodations, wildlife, and guiding in Zimbabwe. AAC is excited to offer it as an option on our award winning Eyes on Elephant safari in Zimbabwe: 


Read more about Alison’s 2015 Africa adventure, here:

10-Day Call of the Wild Safari to Botswana

Shared Mobile Tented Safari to Moremi and the Khwai Concession

Program highlights:
- Enjoy an exclusive experience within the Khwai Concession (bordering the Okavango Delta) and the Moremi Reserve.
- This safari is paced for those who really want to concentrate on photography and game viewing from a vehicle.
Limited walking is offered plus one full day in the Okavango Delta game viewing by boat.
- You use shared luxury mobile campsites in each area, which lessens your eco-imprint and enables you to meet other interesting travelers during mealtime .

This safari to Botswana began with the non stop Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg. I spent the evening at the Southern Sun O. R. Tambo hotel - comfortable accommodation and a very tasty breakfast. The next morning I met with two of our clients and that I had booked on the safari and we made our way by hotel shuttle to the airport. The shuttle was quick and efficient.

We met up with another client and we flew to Maun, Botswana. Air Botswana has a new plane with comfortable leather seating. The overhead bins are VERY small and my back pack back barely fit. Our AAC bags were checked plane side as they are too big for the bins. We arrived in Maun and the Capture Africa reps were there to take your bags and assist us to our charter flight. A quick 25 minutes and we landed and were met by the one and only - Nic Polenakis.

Nic Polenakis on 10-Day Call of the Wild Safari to Botswana

We began game driving to camp around 1:00pm. I was still in my traveling gear so as ked Nic to stop by a tree to change. Pulled on my safari gear and we drove to enjoy two bull elephants eating tree branches. 

About an hour into the game drive I realized that my pants were missing - I had placed them on the floor of the vehicle and they had bounced out. I said ' Nic, I think I have lost my pants' We back tracked to no avail and Nic radioed Dave Carson, who found my pants about 50 feet from the elephants we were watching. 

We continued game driving to camp and arrived just after sunset - by our choice.

Food and drink were very important to us
Food and drink were very important to us

The camp was set up at the Bodumatau site - a path lit by lanterns and dinner awaited our arrival.

The nights in the camp were very active with a lone hyena passing through every night, hippos snorting and gurgling and lions roaring in the background. You did have to work harder for the game in Moremi. 

Bodumatau was his favorite camp.
 Sitting around the fire at 5:30am                                                     Bodumatau was his favorite camp.

How could I forget the 7 hour cheetah vigil - eating lunch in our laps - waiting for him to come out from the bush. After about the 4th hour we were all suffering but could not leave the sight, after all if we left the cheetah would come out.

We moved to Kwai after 3 nights by a LONG road transfer starting with the boat ride on the Delta. The Kwai region is flooded in areas and resembles a land water camp.

There is a very large hole to the right -which we avoided There is a very large hole to the right -which we avoided
There is a very large hole to the right -which we avoided

Kwai delivered - big time. Wild dog, roaring lions, leopa rd, hyenas mating in our kitchen, wild dog at sunset appearing at the pop of the champagne cork, viewing elephant splashing in mud hole. Kwai offers walking with the guide and we walked through mopane in search of elephant. Through the thick leaves

Nic's keen eye spotted water glistening on elephant skin. We were off - power walking through low trees to find the elephants. Can you hide a two ton beast behind a 5 foot tall Mopane? - Yes you can! Nic got us very close. We sat and watch the elephants play in t he mud and splash each other cooling in the heat of the day.

Enjoying a morning coffee and walk to see elephant
Enjoying a morning coffee and walk to see elephant

There he is!
There he is!

Nic "Now if the elephant turns and walks this way, just enjoy it!" Well he did turn and "walked this way" and our handy national park escort was no where to be seen, crouched behind a termite mound.

10-Day Call of the Wild Safari to Botswana

6 POSTCARDS from the AAC Voluntourism Trip to Zimbabwe in July 2013

Alison and Nicholas Nolting / Susan and Elizabeth Clemons / Anne and Caitlin Hampton

Matobo Hills and Hwange
- Zimbabwe is a country rich in wildlife and pristine ecological surroundings, one of the few places in the world where it’s possible to see the Big 5 in pristine wildlife areas.
- The uniqueness of this project arises from its truly magnificent ecological surroundings coupled with the communit ies living around Matobo and Hwange.
- Mother Africa is established to assist communities and conservation near Amalinda in Matobo Hills including WhiteWaters and Ethandweni .
- Children in the Wilderness is active with the Ngamo and Ziga communities around Hwange Park, situated near to their safari camp, Davison’s.

"So you may be asking, what kind of trip was this! 
This was a  “purpose-driven safaris” tailor-made for unskilled mothers and their student  children who wished to donate their time and leave a la…sting and tangible impression on Zimbabwe, in so many ways.

And that we did! We sourced over 6 large duffel bags of Grade 5-8 books for  both schools we visited. We acted as a “connector” in the classrooms  and community helping the next generation of children in Zimbabwe who are the future of their country.

We all came away with a mutual acceptance of one’s culture, beliefs and the lives they lead."

Alison Nolting – Trip Leader
Alison Nolting –  AAC Voluntourism Trip to Zimbabwe in July 2013

Lizzie Clemons
Lizzie Clemons,  AAC Voluntourism Trip to Zimbabwe in July 2013

Anne Hampton
Lizzie Clemons,  AAC Voluntourism Trip to Zimbabwe in July 2013

- by: Alison Nolting

Legends of Zimbabwe

This was my first vacation to Zimbabwe since 1997, so I was very excited to be travelling with my husband and two very good friends, none of whom had been on a real safari adventure before. We had begun the planning p rocess just after Joanie and Bill married last October, and this was to be their honeymoon! None of us knew at that time that it would also be a celebration of Bill beating cancer (our departure was just days after his final radiation and chemo treatment), so I had some trepidation that my love of Africa would not live up to their expectations. Africa did not let me down!

Finally, the departure day arrived, and we were off!

Bill and Joanie Richardson George and Lynne Glasgow

Bill and Joanie Richardson  / George and Lynne Glasgow

After a long and ti ring flight to Johannesburg and an overnight to recover, we set off to Victoria Falls, where we met our pilot and flew in a small charter aircraft to our first camp, Davison's Camp in Hwnage National Park. We were greeted at the airstrip by our guide, Dixo n with our safari vehicle, and moments later encountered the first of what would be very many herds of elephant!

Davison's Camp in Hwnage National Park many herds of elephant

Hwange does have lots of other animals, and over the next two days we saw many!

Couple Giraffe in Davison's Camp in Hwnage National Park Zebra in Hwnage National Park Lioness

The accommodations at Davison's Camp came as a very pleasant surprise to my travelling companions. No matter how much I had reassured them that they would love staying in a '˜tent' they really did not believe how comfortable it would be until we arrived!

Lounge area at Davison's Camp Twin Tent (no Wi-Fi!) Davison's Camp A visitor to the fire -pit! an elephant

Lounge area Twin Tent (no Wi-Fi!) A visitor to the fire -pit!

All too soon we were beading back to the airstrip to board our charter flight to Mana Pools National Park, which is right on the edge of the Zambezi River. When we arrived, we were whisked off by open safari vehicle to Vundu Camp by our fabulous guide, Nick Murray.

Nick Murray at Mana Pools National Park First glimpse of the Zambezi River. Lunch at Vundu Camp
Nick Murray / First glimpse of the river / Lunch at Vundu Camp

We had time to enjoy a sumptuous lunch and unpack, and then it was off on our first adventure to find '˜Handstand' a huge Bull elephant that has learned to balance on his back legs to reach the higher, succulent branches of his favorite trees!

Nicks best friends.. Mudzi! beautiful elephant

The fun continued, as we walked across this open floodplain and came across one of Nicks best friends.. Mudzi!

Over many years, Nick has gained the trust of this beautiful elephant, to the extent that Mudzi now expects some special '˜treats' and is not too happy if none are provided! We spent several minutes gathering acacia pods and juicy branches to share with Mudzi.

Guide Nick with Mudzi the elephant

The next morning, Nick walked us to a pride of lion, very happily snoozing under shady trees and on a termite mound. They had just spent 2 days gorging on a young elephant, and all that was left was a pile of thick hide and a rib -cage. Thankfully they were SO full they had no interest in us!

two Lions gorging on a young elephant

The whole walking experience certainly got the adrenalin flowing, so we decided that we would take a relaxing afternoon canoe ride on the river, after lunch.

canoe ride on the river

We enjoyed the afternoon so much (including the '˜rush' of a pod of hippos charging into the water just as we went past!) that we decided to spend the whole of the next day canoeing, and took a picnic lunch along with us. This proved to be one of my best days in Africa, ever!

The scenery was stunning, the sky a perfect blue, and the hippos and elephant did not disappoint in providing some exciting moments!

canoe ride while watching  the hippos and elephant canoe ride while watching the elephant
Lunch- prepared by Dany  Mudzi decided to join us!  Mudzi decided to join us!
Lunch- prepared by Dany ………………….. And Mudzi decided to join us!

Once more, we returned to camp and enjoyed a wonderful dinner, before heading back to our tents for sleep in our cozy bed, listening to the night sounds and the river flowing gently by.

 Vundu Camp   Vundu Camp
 Vundu Camp  Vundu Camp Pool

But our fun was not over. We headed back to Victoria Falls to spend our final two nights at Elephant Camp, just a 10 minute ride from the center of Victoria Falls town. Jonathan, the camp manager, welcomed us into a little bit of paradise! Each room has: a lovely sitting area beautiful bedroom and a plunge pool!

Dinner that evening was the best meal of the whole trip. The food ove rall was terrific, but the attention to detail at Elephant Camp was five star.

Esther' best guide at the Falls! Lynne at the Devil' Cataract
Esther' best guide at the Falls! /       Lynne at the Devil' Cataract

The whole reason to go to Victoria Falls is of course to SEE the falls, so the next day we had a guided walking tour with resident guide, Esther. Esther has looked after and guided our clients for many years, and is now a grandmother, but each day (sometimes twice!) she strides out along the path edging the Falls, and shares her knowledge. She is indeed a treasure of Zimbabwe, and we are proud to have her as part of our exten ded family.

It is awesome seeing the Falls on foot, but to get a real perspective of the size, the best way is from the air, so we all jumped on board the helicopter for a 13 minute ride over the Falls and the surrounding area. WOW!!!

Victoria falls view from above. Victoria falls view from above.

The Falls are subsiding as the water level drops. From the air, you see the gorges, carved out over the millennia. Our adventure was over, but will remain in our hearts forever.

Africa is already calling us back..
Next time.. Cape Town!

Africa is already calling us back.. Next time.. Cape Town

- by: Lynne Glasgow

Monica Kowalski - Safari to Zimbabwe and Botswana

On my recent safari, I experienced the wonders of Zimbabwe, and was able to return to one of my favorite places, Botswana. Our group of six traveled to a number of varied places, and we had most of the camps to ourselves!

We were a group of six eventually. Four of us set off on the international non -stop flight from New York to Johannesburg, and were so pleased to spend a night at the African Rock just outside of Johannesburg. It was a short 20-minute drive from the airport and a nice respite in the suburbs. Collette welcomed us with open arms and the property has a nice, cozy feel to it, with a lot of beautiful African artwork, sculptures and touches. We had a nice leisurely afternoon with some friends after the long flight and were treated to the most amazing dinner by Chef Christine that evening.

African Rock just outside of Johannesburg

The next morning we were up early and eager to get into the Zimbabwean bush! We flew to the Victoria Falls airport where we met up with our other two friends, and without a hitch, our bush pilot was waiting for us to fly to Hwange National Park. We were greeted by none other than Nic Polenakis, and his welcoming committee - a pair of ostrich and a herd of zebra at the airstrip ! We headed towards our camp - Somalisa Acacia - where our 40- minute drive turned into a two -hour game drive. We saw kudu, ostrich, impala, sable, roan, giraffe, mongoose, baboons and vervet monkeys, owls, wild dog, and a buffalo herd that numbered around 800. The elephant t hat we saw here were literally by the hundreds. They drank daily from the plunge pools at camp! Another highlight was walking with Nic in search of lions. We followed their tracks and the roars. While we never did see them, it kept the adrenalin pumping! The camp itself was intimate with only four tents. They were quite spacious and had the most comfortable beds! Listening to the sounds at night was a treat! The food was delicious as well. We feasted on fresh locally-caught fish, delicious soups, vegetables and salads and a great barbecue on the last night! We had gained a couple of pounds by this point already.

Somalisa Acacia Camp
herd of elephants drinking

After three nights we sadly said goodbye to Nic, and flew back to Victoria Falls and stayed for two nights at the Victoria Falls Hotel. It truly is a classic. The hotel beautifully displays its historical facets wherever you look and the view of the falls from the back patio is unmatched . Two nights at the hotel gave us an evening to relax on the Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi and a full day to tour the Falls with Esther and experience an elephant -back safari! The cruise was nice and we got some great shots of the local hippos and the sunset! The tour of the Falls was amazing. The Falls themselves had been impossible to imagine; they were truly awesome, especially with the water levels so high! Esther is so knowledgeable and gave us the complete history (and a predicted future) of the Falls. The elephant back safari was one of the highlights of the entire trip! You get to pet them, ride them and then feed them treats. Can you tell I love elephants?

Elephant Back Safari & Beautiful Victoria Falls

From Victoria Falls Hotel, we were transferred by a mini -bus to Kasane airport. Along the way, at the border crossing, we were able to stretch our legs to break up the near -two-hour drive by getting our passports stamped. From Kasane airport our bush pilot escorted us on our flight to Duba Plains, one of the most remote camps in the northwest Okavango Delta. We arrived at the airstrip with Moses , our guide, waiting for us, a nd arrived at camp to the singing of the welcoming staff! We were briskly whisked off to the lunch table that overlooks the plains for a feast of Botswana beef, lots of fresh salads and warm 'bush' bread , which just added to our weight gain . On our evening game drive, our first encounter was with a pride of nine lions that were just starting their nightly hunt! After the first lioness took the lead, they followed each other, one by one, through the deep waters, stopping to look and listen after every few steps. The birding was quite good, and we saw many raptors, owls, and water birds in the area. Hippos were plenty, as were grazing animals , especially red lechwe , although the buffalo had already moved out of the area.

evening game drive & a pride of nine lions
Red lechwe and African Birds

The next flight was into the Khwai area of Botswana, where we had our mobile camping experience! What good fun! Our guide Andrew greeted us at the airport, and we were presented with cool towels and drinks by the friendly staff at the campsite. W e quickly settled into our comfortable tents and were amazed at the fact that the staff had erected the entire camp in the afternoon the day before our arrival. Andrew took us on some great game drives where we saw a large herd of waterbuck, and one morning, a pride of seven lion s till feasting on a kill from the night before. On a late night game drive, we saw an African wildcat and two separate genets, plus a mother hippo and her baby grazing on the grass. Walking through the dead tree forest was a highlight, where we tracked so me hippo and some zebra, before encountering a bull elephant. From a safe distance, we watched the elephant eating his breakfast and then eventually meandered off. Another highlight was the mekoro ride. It is the most serene and beautiful outing. We watched as African Fish Eagles hunted for food, elephants browsed along the shoreline and fish made quick appearances at the surface of the water. Water lilies were in full bloom and plentiful, giving the jacanas new paths in which to search for food. Back at camp, Florence the chef, made the most incredible meals - soups, lasagna, chicken pot pie, and even the most incredible beef roast - all on the campfire. We still couldn't fathom that she baked us a cake on the campfire' but she assured us it was true. Regardless, we managed to put on a few more pounds.

Lioness having rest  mekoro ride encounter an elephant
Khwai Camp  mekoro ride

The three nights in the Khwai passed quickly, and soon we were back on a charter flight, this time to Zarafa in the Selinda Reserve. David, the camp manager, and Foster, our guide, picked us up at the airstrip. It was about a 40 - minute drive to camp, however, it turned into a bit longer as a large herd of elephant were feeding and cooling themselves off along the lagoon. The 'African traffic jam' set us back about 20 minutes, but we didn' t mind. Soon we found ourselves in the lap of luxury! This camp is all about the special details and is a place to really decompress with their relaxed approach to safari. The tents are huge with a separate living area, a n oversized king bed, and a bathroom area complete with a fire pit, copper tub, shower, double vanity sinks and a separate toilet and outdoor shower. Also outside along the deck is your own plunge pool! The main lounge overlooks the lagoon, and at any given moment, you can look out and see hippos, or elephant nearly completely submerged with only their trunks up and doubling as snorkels, or monitor lizards swimming across the lagoon! The view is just stunning. David and Foster hosted a fun trip on their pontoon boat where we did some wine-tasting, the African way! We had so much fun we decided to go on the boat a second time! Once again, the food did not disappoint, and there was an abundance of delicious meals waiting for us every time we stepped into the main lounge. All of us barely managed to squeeze into our clothes towards the end of the trip! On our last night we were treated to a magical dinner out in the bush, complete with dozens of lanterns and a roaring fire . The entire staff was there to celebrate us, and likewise, we were there to celebrate them for all the wonderful things they did to make us feel so special. It was the perfect ending to a perfect safari!

Zarafa in the Selinda Reserve
Hippos at Selinda Reserve
Herds of elephants walking at Zarafa at Selinda Reserve

- by: Monica Kowalski

Kyle Witten - Zimbabwe

Exclusive Group Safari to Zimbabwe - Hwange, Mana Pools and Victoria Falls

Program highlights:
# This is a new safari highlighting the extraordinary guides in Zimbabwe who will lead you on this signature 25 year anniversary safari.
# Experience the ultimate walking safaris in northern and southeastern Hwange with Dave Carson and Nic Polenakis and in Mana Pools Nick Murra y will take you walking and canoeing. Game drives in open vehicles are also offered.
# This safari operates as an exclusive group with up to 6 persons per departure.
# Accommodations are a combination of first class, private mobile tents and permanent tente d camps in the parks.

September 2012
I had the pleasure of traveling with three clients on our 15 Days Eyes on Elephant safari to Zimbabwe. We spoke on the phone for months, so it was nice to finally meet everyone face to face at the Airport Sun Intercontinental. We relaxed over an excellent meal, retired to our rooms and tried to sleep - never a success for me coming off the international flight.

Kyle Witten - Zimbabwe
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: ï‚·

The next morning we got together and made our way to Terminal A - no wait a minute Terminal B (check your e-ticket receipt and itinerary!) for the flight to Victoria Falls. After clearing customs Sofret, met us and cheerfully transferred us to an unmarked road near Hwange Town, where we were met by private Guide Dave Carson. We changed vehicles and were off , driving to Sinametela. The landscape in the region is marked by large granite outcroppings, mopane forest and open plains. We stopped for our first walking safari en route. Dave spotted something interesting from high on the escarpment, an impala lying on the ground. We drove down and did our first walk of the safari. We discovered that the impala must have passed due to natural causes, as no lion or scavengers were in the area.

Private Guide Dave Carson

We continued driving through the park and reached our camp by nigh t fall - delayed by a tire puncture that was solved by a can of fix -a-flat because none of the 32 tire irons (spanners) that materialized from good samaritans were the right size. Dave met his high school buddies who he had not seen in years, who happened to be at the stop, carrying an air compressor that you can hook up to a car battery. Can of Fix -a flat, a little air and were on your way to camp. Dave does not know the meaning of a schedule, so be prepared for long but rewarding days. We witnessed a new born elephant just minutes old, welcomed into the herd by the female elephants and their young, and later the final days of a old bull, struggling with each step to make it to water, his tusks and head so heavy he could no longer hold them up.

A new born elephant just minutes old
Life begins

Oh my shattered nerves it was the Three Mohicans - Daniel, Day and Lewis. Lewis was shy and rarely showed himself but Daniel and Day gave us some excellent shots in the morning and evening sun. We also tracked lion on foot with our incredible tracker Felix. There is good work being done by research teams in Hwange and the lion numbers have increased since my visit 5 years ago, during which I did not see one, but this trip we saw lion every single day.

Group of lions in Hwange
Group of lions in Hwange

We bid farewell to Kazuma Trails and h eaded off to Davison's at Hwange National Park - game viewing along the way. We stopped for snacks and drinks at Ngweshla Pan and the amount of game coming to drink was astounding. There were giraffe, warthog, roan and birds all in one shot. We enjoyed a f ew snacks and then headed on to camp.

Davison's at Hwange National Park and giraffe, warthog, roan and birds all in one shot

Davison's is a permanent tented camp in a private concession in Hwange National Park. We witness ed a pride of lions setting up for a buffalo kill just as the sun was setting. You could just make out the silhouette of 16 lions in military formation, waiting for the right moment to launch the assault. We could only here the stampede of hooves in the twilight. It was too dark for photos so we soaked in the sounds and enjoyed the experience.

Dave Carson will do anything for you on safari. He insisted we drive ahead of a herd of Sable and wait under a tree to see if they crossed in front of us, making their way to the watering hole. It was a hot day and I mentioned if Dave insisted on keeping us out under this tree, then we would need refreshments - and Dave delivered them on a silver tray. You can just make out Davison's in the background of the photos. Dave ran to the camp, I was using his binoculars to watch making sure he put enough ice in the G&T.

Dave Carson at Hwange National Park

Hwange is all about elephants in September and we had a spectacular show at Makalolo Pan; Moms, sisters and babies were all enjoying the evening sun and fresh drink of water.

herds of elephants at Makalolo Pan; Moms, sisters and babies were all enjoying the evening sun and fresh drink of water

We departed by charter flight to Mana Pools, one of my all time favorite national par ks. We were met at the airstrip by Nick Murray - the Indiana Jones of Mana Pools. We were transferred to camp and enjoyed a delicious lunch. Desire Murray designs the menus and the food was amazing. My favorite salad was the blue cheese and biltong dressing - yum.

We walked to lion on our first game drive, and discovered a buffalo kill they had not finished eating. We stayed near by to see them return to the kill. This was our first, but not last exercise in bum crawling to get close to wildlife.

Game Drive at mana pools Game Drive at mana pools

We had three extraordinary experiences with elephants. We met Handstand one of the only elephants that can stand his back legs to reach the acacia branches. We also had a very close encounter with Spirit who insisted that we were hiding more pods somewhere in our bag. The final experience was with a bull on the banks of the Lower Zambezi, during our full day of canoeing. Nick Murray has a way with these bulls and can deliver magical moments. I was over come with the awe and emotion of having a bull elephant just 3 feet from me eating acacia branches. This is the magic of Mana Pools.

Handstand one of the only elephants that can stand his back legs to reach the acacia branches
Handstand one of the only elephants that can stand his back legs to reach the acacia branches

We spent two days on the river with a combination of walks and fishing. Who knew I was a fisherman supplying breem (tilapia) for the appetizer at dinner one evening. We stopped to swim in the river, play tennis ball with an ore enjoying the cold water on a hot hot day. Brunch was served on day one, a full English breakfast cooked over a camp fire by learner guides Tan and Dani, along with fresh salads and breads. Day two was salads and pizza.

Swimming in Lower Zambezi/Fresh Breem/Dani - Cracking eggs for breakfast
Swimming in Lower Zambezi            /           Fresh Breem        /      Dani - Cracking eggs for breakfast

The Bushlife Conservancy is directly funded by your contribution when staying at Vundu Tented Camp. This donation goes toward the animals and National Parks employees for the betterment of the park. Several recent examples include transporting a NP member's sick child to the nearest hospital (several hundreds of miles away); the NP anti -poaching team received new tents and backpacks; and improving the NP self-catering lodges. Vundu also serves as the 'head quarters' for wild dog research. The packs are growing large and we spotted some from our canoes and went for a walk go get a better look.

wild dogs at Vundu wild dog at Vundu

Our last morning was a walk to an ancient baob ab tree that is Zimbabwe National Historical site, having served as the burial chamber for a village chief. The inside of the trees are hollow and the body was placed inside and the hole was sealed with stone and mud, the tree would eventually grow over the whole, leaving a scar.

We had a blast with our guides Dave Carson and Nick Murray - two of the best in Africa. I am trying to convince Nick to become the spokesperson for Stoney Ginger Beer, what do you think?

Nick Murray Kyle Witten
Nick Murray                                 /                             Kyle Witten

We finished our adventure in Victoria Falls meeting our special guide Esther for a tour of the falls. Below is picture of our group with Esther. I am taking the picture because I would step one foot closer to Danger Point.

With the guide Esther at Victoria Falls Victoria Falls

The Eyes on Elephant safari to Zimbabwe gave me experiences I have never had. This could have only happened with our private guides Nick Murray and Dave Carson. This safari is a real adventure with up close and personal game viewing experiences with days as adventure filled as you want.

- by: Kyle Witten

Allana Botha in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana

I recently returned from a fantastic adventure to southern Africa which included my first safari to Botswana!

My trip started with a wonderful weekend in Durban, South Africa where I caught up with family and visited the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks. Recently refurbished, this hotel is beautifully situated on the beach offering luxury accommodations and excellent food.

Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks

After spending a night in Johannesburg at the Southern Sun Tambo International Airport Hotel, I departed for Victoria Falls. My reception on arrival at the Victoria Falls Hotel was welcoming with a warm face cloth and drink. The bellboy took me through the main entrance and my breath was taken away with the beauty of the bridge and the Fall's mist bellowing high in the air. - just lovely! After a light lunch on the hotel patio, I enjoyed a guided trip of the Victoria Falls by Esther (Africa Adventure 's exclusive local guide). The water levels were very high and mist came from everywhere leaving us soaked.

In the evening I enjoyed a s unset cruise on the Zambezi followed by a relaxing dinner under the stars at the hotel's Jungle Junction

The Victoria Falls Hotel Victoria Falls view with a rainbow

The next day created fabulous memories at the Elephant Interaction camp and in the evening lots of fun and good food was to be had at the Boma (which is located next to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, about a 10 minute drive from the Victoria Falls Hotel).

With excitement I left Victoria Falls and transferred by road t o Kasane on the Botswana border. I was promptly met by lodge's vehicle and driven to Muchenje Safari Lodge on the border of Chobe National Park . The view is the first thing that hits you on arrival at Muchenje - the Chobe River flows directly in front an d is stunning! You feel like you have arrived home . Great people, home cooking and lovely accommodations. My first game drive was exciting as we viewed giraffe, buffalo, various antelope, baboons and lots of elephants (they were at the camp's front door ).

Our 12-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari visits Victoria Falls and Chobe.

12-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari visits Victoria Falls and Chobe. 12-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari visits Victoria Falls and Chobe.

After breakfast we drove back to Kasane and departed by a scheduled chart er flight for Savuti Camp, located in the Linyanti Reserve (which is an extension of the world famous Okavango Delta). The game viewing was especially good and our guide and during our day and night game drives we saw elephant, giraffe, zebra, antelope, h yena and even wild dog! I thought the staff and hospitality at Savuti were outstanding. One morning I visited Kings Pool, a premier level camp in the Linyanti Reserve which offers incredible luxury.

Savuti Camp, located in the Linyanti Reserve Wild dogs

A scheduled charter flight took me to the heart of the Okavango Delta and m y next stop was Jao Camp. This premier camp is stunning! Between game activities I enjoyed incredible luxury, water views and outstanding service (and for those who really want to indulge can arrange for a massage on their priva te deck).

I was fortunate to explore two other camps in the region which included Kwetsani, where I enjoyed my first mokoro ride (a dugout canoe that glides through the Delta waterways) and Jacana Camp.

Our 11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana

11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana 11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana

Ready to experience a different region, I flew to the edge of the Moremi Reserve and Chitabe Camp. Technically within the Okavango Delta, this camp offers big game viewing and Chitabe didn't disappoint as it was here that I got to see m y first lions! Between game drives I thoroughly e njoyed a siesta at the camp's pool and a traditional boma dinner. All guests enjoyed the singing and dancing by the staff - a memorable evening for all.

11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana 11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana

My last stop was Banoka Bush Camp located in the Khwai game concession . I could hear the welcoming song of the staff before we saw the camp. After warm introductions I checked out my tent and loved the endless view of water and grasslands.

Part of the adventure of visiting Botswana during this time is the annual rising water levels and I got to witness the beauty first hand. On a practical level, it is impressive how prepared the Wilderness Safari camps are for the rising water. Supplies and food are well-stocked and ready at a moment's notice with a replacement vehicle if a Land Rover gets stuck during a game drive. Dinner was served under the stars with magical lanterns sc attered around. It was just magical and what a lovely camp to end my African adventure!

Our 07-Day Awesome Value Safari to Botswana visits Banoka Camp

07-Day Awesome Value Safari to Botswana visits Banoka Camp 07-Day Awesome Value Safari to Botswana visits Banoka Camp

The next day I flew to Maun for my connecting flight to Johannesburg and home.

- by: Allana Botha

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