My Africa adventure continued with safaris in Kruger National Park in South Africa and back to Botswana.
I spent a whole lot of time in airports in Africa, taking 13 flights in 20 days. We flew from Botswana to Johannesburg, then to Kruger, where the safari camp was.
We landed about 2PM and the safari lodge was about a 90-minute drive from the airport. It was like a mini-game drive because the driver stopped many times to point out animals along the way. The big difference between Kruger and Chobe, where we were in Botswana a few days before, was the animals were much closer to the road and you can see them up front and close. The landscape was a lot more varied and lush.
The lodge we stayed in was Hoyo Hoyo, an intimate lodge with only six suites. We were greeted with a jolly host who said hoyo, hoyo a number of times upon our arrival, which means welcome, welcome in Tsonga, the native language. Our room was a traditional muti, a circular earthen hut with a thatched roof with modern day luxuries including a king sized bed, air conditioning, large bathtub on a platform. We also enjoyed the outdoor shower, which was so refreshing, and our private deck overlooking the game reserve. All the decoration and fittings in our room were sourced from locally from the Tsonga community. In the evening, a fire was lit outside in a pit, setting the tone for a relaxing dinner. The dining tables were set with festive tableware and linens and the food was a combination of local and western cuisine.
Early the next morning we set off again on a game drive. The air was fresh and crisp and we warmed ourselves with blankets in the jeep. We were fortunate to see a leopard within very close viewing distance and I got some great shots. A little later on we spotted a lion in the bush, on its side napping. A special treat was an infant elephant crossing the road but I couldn’t get a good shot because it was hiding on its mother’s side. We had a terrific guide who was so knowledgeable about the animals. He was so in tune with the sound and rhythms of the animals, as he would sometimes stop the jeep, turn off the motor, and listen for the sounds of nearby animals. Sometimes he would receive radio calls from other safari drivers alerting him to nearby rare animal sightings and he would race the jeep on the bumpy terrain to quickly spot them before they moved away. We stopped to stretch out legs and take in the sprawling terrain while the guide set up a little breakfast buffet with hot coffee from a thermos and biscuits.
My last safari was back in Botswana in the Okavango Delta, a very special place.
After two flights from South Africa, I landed in a small airport and later boarded a four-seater propeller plane. I thought I would be petrified flying but it was quite beautiful seeing the lush landscape from an aerial view.
Chitabe Camp is a small, luxury lodge with just eight rooms. More like tents than rooms, they are on stilts with thatched roofs. My room was beautifully appointed with a king sized bed and white linens with white netting surrounding it. Handsome brown tufted leather chairs overlooked the bed and the bathroom was spacious with two white basins with an outdoor shower. The décor was reminiscent of the old English style lodges from the early 1900s.
At dinner it was just kerosene lanterns lighting the dining area making the mood quite romantic. The reason there were no lights was it rained heavily the few hours before dinner and the rain attracts hoards of termites. Yes, it sounds gross, but these are a different type of termite, the kind that doesn’t eat through the foundations of your house. In fact they were quite striking with thousands of white, translucent wings completely covering the surfaces around the lanterns.
The next morning on our game drive, there was a haunting mist over the trees and bush. The terrain was the most beautiful of all the safari grounds I visited with much more variation in the landscape including more water because of the flood plains. Giraffes, zebras, buffalo, hippopotamus, kudu, springbok,birds, turtles and baboons roamed freely. One highlight was the rare sighting of wild dogs, which are an endangered species.
That evening when I returned from my afternoon game drive, there was the most magnificent sunset from the porch in front of my room and I was so transfixed, I was late for dinner.
One of the things I most appreciated about the safaris was how the animals mixed and roamed so freely. I don’t think I could ever go back t seeing animals caged in a zoo.
Next week I will write about my fun time in Cape Town.
Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge, Kruger National Park
Chitabe Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana
My room ar Hoyo, Hoyo
My room at Chitabe Camp-Love the white netting
New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotte's professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday,Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
Click here to sign up for the next class or for more info.
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
Tours cost 210 euros for up to 3 people, and 70 euros for each additional person. I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com
Click here to watch a video of our famous Marais tour