OK not to brag but in May of 2010 I was very fortunate to travel to South Africa for a 10-day safari – certainly the adventure of a lifetime. Thanks in part to my former colleagues at Travel Leaders Donovan Travel and Maxim Tours; I was able to experience such an incredible expedition. Many, many unbelievable memories were created that obviously won’t soon be forgotten.
To view a collection of my photos from the trip, go to flickr.com.
My trip started off with a three night journey on the Selinda Canoe Trail which is along the Selinda Spillway – the waterway linking Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Linyanti and Kwando water systems. The high rains of the 2009 wet season resulted in epic floodwaters; and for the first time in nearly three decades the Selinda Spillway flowed in full, connecting these two ancient waterways. Then, the ample rains of the first half of 2010 ensured that the Selinda Spillway continued to flow. We are very fortunate to be able to say that we were some of the first few to cross this area that year.
Photos courtesy of Humphrey Gumpo
After “roughing it” we went on to stay at the luxurious Selinda Camp for two nights. Located on the banks of the eastern Selinda Spillway in the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana, it’s deep with in rich wildlife territory. The Selinda Camp is a relaxed, yet very well-appointed tented safari camp (to say the least.) We spent our days on open vehicle game drives and the evenings enjoying the ‘home away from home’ atmosphere. All in all an authentic bush camp environment with some extra special features, creating a standout experience.
We spent the next two days in Livingstone, Zambia with the highlight being Victoria Falls; we were treated with a guided tour of the Zambian side. We saw 650 million liters of water from the Zambezi River crash into the chasm below! Let’s just say, that’s A LOT of water… the mist alone had you drenched. We also got to walk through the spectacular rain forest with absolutely breathtaking views of the Falls. At night we laid our heads at The Royal Livingstone which offered an unparalleled level of luxury, service and sophistication.
While in town we got to encounter The Royal Livingstone Express which is a unique dining experience with the charm of rail travel. The train is an all inclusive luxury rail experience rooted in the nostalgia of a bygone era. The train provides fine dining as you travel through the picturesque Irwell Valley in Pullman style coaches which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.
Back to civilization, we were transferred to the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town, our destination for the next 2-nights. Located at the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, this deluxe five star hotel offers fantastic views of Table Mountain, the yacht basin or the working harbor. All spectacular in their own right!
Here we embarked on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula taking in the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, before crossing over to Hout Bay. We drove to the Cape of Good Hope nature Reserve via Chapman’s Peak, one of the world’s most breathtaking coastal drives. We also got to witness the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens; located against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain it is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world.
Our final day/night was spent in Stellenbosch, the heartbeat of the South African winelands. After savouring several wineries during the day the real highlight was getting to enjoy all that is the La Residence. Tucked away in the tranquil vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley, situated on a private 30 acre working farm transports its guests far from the bustle of city life even though it’s located just 45 minutes outside of Cape Town. Designed along the lines of French Country Chateau, each La Residence suite provides the ultimate in luxury, decorated with treasures such as fine French antiques, exquisite Persian carpets and an eclectic mix of objects d’art. A 5 star review would not be enough to describe it – it is definitely in a category all of its own. I guess the only compliment I could really think of is that we weren’t there long enough!!!