After departing Cape Town (and flying on a very small plane, which I white knuckled the entire way), we landed in Madiwke where our first lodge, Jamala Madiwke was located. Immediately upon landing, you can feel the majestic nature of the bush, which instantly draws you in. The zebras and jackals that lined the runway certainly added to the magic.
Our guide, Lazarus, greeted us at the 'airport' and drove us via an open air Land Cruiser to our hotel. On our way there, he spotted a leopard in a tree, which apparently is quite the rarity...lucky us because he was stunning! Upon arrival, we were greeted with champagne and tea sandwiches overlooking a watering hole filled with hundreds of elephants. Not a bad way to start our safari experience. Within 3 hours of our first game drive, we saw the big 5 (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo, and leopard). Words truly cannot describe what it feels like to be a few feet away from a wild animal in the middle of the bush with nothing surrounding you but open land and fresh air. From the endless sights, smells, and textures, Africa is truly unlike any other place. As each evening drive drew to a close, we enjoyed sundowners (cocktails during sunset) in the middle of the bush. Absolute perfection!
After spending two nights at Jamala, where the staff could not have been more attentive and we pretty much had a luxury apartment (bigger than any in NYC) all to ourselves, we departed for our second lodge, Tinga, which is located within Kruger National Park. The decor at this hotel was to die for! I could not get enough of the various layers of fabrics, textures, and African artifacts and cannot wait to decorate a home someday with all of the goodies we picked up during our trip. The landscape at Kruger National Park was completely different than Midikwe, as it was more dense and lush. This made it a bit more difficult to spot the animals, however, even a drive with no animals was relaxing and special in its own right.
We flew back to NYC after 10 incredible days in South Africa. I will never forget this trip and look forward to the next one! I certainly have been bitten by the Africa bug...
Enjoying the sunrise + views
Sunrise breakfast safari style
Rhinos kicking up dust, photo credit Drew Doggett Photography
Elegant Zebra, photo credit Drew Doggett Photography
Family bonding, photo credit Drew Doggett Photography
African elegance at its best
Cheetahs just 3 feet away!
Interior Design at our gorgeous hotel, Tinga Lodge