Africa – Cape town, Botswana, and Victoria Falls with Alexander & Roberts
OUT OF AFRICA!
By Kris Tripp
I remember as a child while watching such movies as “BORN FREE” and thinking how much I would love to travel to Africa.
It has since been a number 1 destination on my list, even before I was old enough to know what a bucket list was!
Thanks to Alexander and Roberts my dream has come true!
Our journey begins with arrival in Cape Town, our home for the next 3 nights is “15 Orange Hotel” in central town about 20-30 min. from the airport.
Our first full day begins with a guided tour of the coastal drive along Chapman’s Peak with spectacular mountain pass views of False Bay in route to the Cape of Good Hope National Park, and Cape Pointe Lighthouse. We are hosted a lunch at Two Oceans Restaurant right at the park with great views and delicious food. Afterwards there is a stop a Boulders Beach to see an African Penguin Colony. We are told between August and September the best months for whale watching as they migrate along the coast.
This evening we visit the Taj Hotel for a site inspection of the rooms and dinner, a 5 star experience in a great and safe walking distance to the very popular waterfront area.
Day 2– Takes us to the famous Table Mountain for a cable car ride and on to the wine lands. Our drive takes us through Stellenbosch a lovely Dutch City to “Delaire Graff Estates”a Relais and Chateaux Property. A gourmet lunch is served with delicious wines and as it is fall in Africa, views that rival our California Wine Country. Vineyards are dotted along the mountain sides and what a beautiful sight. We continue back through Franschoek where the French Huguenots settled in 1688. This is a lovely quiet village, very relaxed and easy to explore on foot. Here you will find small boutique type lodging that offers all the pampering you can ask for. In the Leeu Collection we visit “Leuu House” with a very colorful and fun décor while still offering all of the services. Just across the way is their more deluxe property ” Le Quartier Francais”. Once in the courtyard there is a tranquil and pampered feel. This evening back in Cape Town we dine along the waterfront, a busy area with many shops and restaurants.
Day 3 Gives us the morning free to explore, and some choose to visit Robbins Island. The rest either explore the city or enjoy spa treatments at half the price that you would pay at home.
In the afternoon we will continue to Johannesburg for an overnight hotel with convenience to the airport for our early morning flights to Botswana.
We stayed at The Southern Sun Airport Hotel, which offers shuttle to and from the airport. This hotel offers convenient location at good rates. The hotel is basic, buffet breakfast was good, but far from luxury. The good news is that it is half the price of the Intercontinental right at the airport.
Day 4/5 – The Okavango Delta
SA flights take us to Maun, we are met upon arrival by the Wilderness Safari assistance, guided to their private air lounge, and we continue on private plane to the Private Jao Concession located along the delta. We stayed 1 night at the newly renovated Wilderness Kwetsani Camp. These tree house style tented rooms are managed by a dedicated couple that has managed the property for 16 years. It is easy to get excited, as she shows her incredible photos of the lions that she obviously loves so much and is so dedicated to.
The delta this time of year is almost completely flooded as the rains have just finished in Angola and water makes its way south over the plains. Once this happens the safaris will be by boat rather than by jeep, and wildlife will be confined to smaller areas with higher ground, but for now we are still able to drive through.
Seasons are opposite of USA. It is fall, the rainy season has ended and the weather will cool in the coming months of May, June, July, and August.
This makes for superb viewing of huge herds of Red Lechwe, Impala and Tessebe. Many colorful bird species are residents as well.
In addition to game viewing we also visit other properties in the area- Tubu Tree and Little Tubu offers units that connect and that are good for families. Pelo Camp is arrived by water, only accommodates 10, and is considered an explorer level camp, as it is more rustic while still very comfortable.
Each evening we take an afternoon game drive, that includes sundowners (cocktails with a view in the wild)
The next evening we overnight a premier level property Jao Camp in tented suites. These offer indoor and outdoor showers, and canopied beds. The main lounge and dining area is built among a canopy of trees, and they offer two plunge pools.
Day 6/7- private flights from the local airstrip take us to the 350,000 acre Linyanti Reserve that boarders Chobe National Park.
Here the terrain changes to more dense bush, that offers an incredible diversity of wildlife. A group of elephants cross our path en-route to the lodge!
During our 2 night stay at Duma Tau overlooking the river, the excellent naturalist guides Socks and Name drive open jeeps throughout the bush and over scrub in an effort to provide the best viewing and photo opportunities of herds of elephant, giraffe, zebra, water buffalo, warthog, and wild dog, not to mention the before mentioned animals seen at the delta.
Each morning we rise at 5:30 am for a light breakfast, and morning game drive, return for mid day afternoon meal, and then return to the bush in the afternoon for game viewing that ends with a spectacular African Sunset. We chant and pray for cats, and see a leopard, but they are quite shy and do not stick around for photos. The lions remain elusive.
A stop is made to Kings Pool a second camp in this reserve. With a maximum of 20 guest I recommend this premium property for the honeymooner, as the layout of the rooms and private plunge pool in each unit is conducive for romance. The views are overlooking the Savuti Channel River and also offer spa treatments in the privacy of your room.
Our last evening they planned a special event for us for dinner with singing of their traditional song and dance around the campfire with a candle lit meal.
Day 8/9 – By now we are losing track.. what day is it anyway? No one cares!
Although wifi is available, I find it hard to find the time to connect as I am so much enjoying the peace and tranquility of the stars in the evening at camp.
The guides also point out constellations, they are trained and very knowledgeable in many aspects.
On to Kasane Airport again by private plane where we will cross into Zambia to continue on to Livingstone.
Our home for the next 2 evenings will be Toka Leya Camp. Again a premium property this time we are overlooking the mighty Zambezi River. And mighty it is, the waters are quite high reaching over the banks, as they roar downstream to Victoria Falls one of 7 Natural Wonders of the World.
This camp is located in the Mosi-Ao-Tunya National Park, also known as Livingstone National Park. The Zambezi River boarders Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Now in a national park the game drives are restricted to the roads, and are monitored by armed guards as they protect the wildlife from poachers. This evening we are able to do a walking safari, and take photos of the endangered White Rhinoceros. The following morning we will enter the park and get closer to Victoria Falls.
Lunch is hosted by the Royal Livingston hotel o lovely property that lives up to its well known reputation and views.
Afterwards there is a boat ride on the Zambezi to an Edwardian style Eco lodge called The River Club, where the owner greets us with high tea, snacks, and a tour of his historical property. The owner is an historian in his own right, and property is like a museum as he describes the grounds and its fascinating past.
Day 10 – Time to head home!