What really makes a safari an experience? 26 November 2013

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What really makes a safari an experience? Maybe, it’s the fact that you head out every day searching for something or someone that might, or might not be there, maybe it’s the sense of space, the light and that feeling of freedom from the pressures of the modern world and being at one with nature exploring timeless, unspoilt environments.
 
For us a safari should include all of the above but, also very importantly be all about adventure…

And, Mobile Safari Expeditions have to be one of the ultimate family adventure holidays: Private, relaxed - the sharing of unpredictable moments together as a family is an incredibly bonding experience providing a gift of indelible shared memories.

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We therefore cannot help but be very proud of the recent feature in AFAR, where the adventure aspect our Mobile Safari Expeditions and the family history of Uncharted Africa Safari co. is portrayed so beautifully.

We think Tom Downey, captured the our Mobile Safari perfectly when describing one of his days: “We continue out lazy day on the water, spotting more elephants and stopping for a swim. After a 5-hour boat ride we dock and jump into our four-by-four for the drive to our tented camp. We cross a river, and John yells at us to lift our gear off the floor just as water starts to flow into the vehicle’s cabin. When we pause on the opposite bank to drain, we see a group of zebras drinking at the side of the river, antelope galloping past them in the backgound.”  Tom Downey, Afar

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Echoing what we have said, a lovely English family who recently did our Mobile Safari expedition sent us the following glowing report:

“This was FANTASTIC, the undoubted highlight of the holiday and streets ahead of the other two parts. Moremi is stunning. Our guide was John, who is Ralph Bousfield’s nephew and the grandson of Jack. He is absolutely brilliant – his knowledge was endless as was his enthusiasm. He instantly took it on board that we were interested in birds and started a bird list with his SASOL App. In the three days we were with him we clocked up 112 different birds! He also found us lots of other things, including two aardwolves mating on the first day, and spotted serval, leopard, civet cats, African Wild Cats...the list is endless. The camp manager is a chap from England called James and he was also outstanding. They make a great team and you would follow them anywhere if you could only afford it! I don’t know how much we paid but we all agreed that this was the best part of the trip and we were so lucky to have experienced it. The food was excellent and everything in the camp was great. “

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The Laing’s Kubu trip was guided by the perennially sardonic Chabba whose status in the mind of George (aged 9) remains almost God-like. The guests, including both adults and children, were new to Botswana, but not to Africa, and had of course never experienced anything quite like the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Embarking on their safari that morning - all clean and crisp - it was great to see them return from Kubu weary but happy, and bearing a remarkable resemblance to dusty travellers of old. Kubu trips are, without doubt, expeditions in the truest sense of the word. Conducted in an area the size of Switzerland, where tracks are washed away every year by the summer rains, it’s highly possible that one is going where no man has trodden before.

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And while on the subject of family and adventure - Camp Kalahari which was also featured in the South African Conde Nast House & Garden is definitely the wild child of all our camps!

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Nestled amongst the woodland it’s a perfect haven for both guests and animals and this month, we had several visitors who were not on our booking sheets! Maybe they were also attracted by the Camps new look? Or, maybe they have heard that Silvia’s bakery is one of the most delicious in the whole Kalahari?

A couple of weeks ago adventure was converted to pure adrenaline for some guests at Camp Kalahari when lions were in camp until the early hours of the morning, roaring, fighting and playing. The soundtrack was so loud and powerful, that we could not help but, feel that intense primordial instinct of fear despite the fact we know that we are (thankfully) completely safe in the tents… Other guests, a lovely American couple spent their first two evenings in Africa listening to the noises of grazing elephants, and woke up to find that their walk to breakfast was covered with stripped branches and piles of dung! Fortunately, they were ecstatic about it!

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We have had a magnificent winter season with the horses – And now it’s once again, that time of the year when the heat builds up to a crescendo of cloud and fireworks and the long-awaited rains and the migration finally arrive! Cantering alongside thousands of zebra and wildebeest, David can become quite emotional, knowing as he does that this is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in Africa to be experienced on horseback. 

We loved this feedback from a recent guest, Lord Portsmouth as it captured both the unique environment in which we operate as well as the adventure aspect of the horseback safaris so perfectly: 

“The Pans are a fabulous place to muck about on horses, and, at the same time to be in such a unique environment. The memories of our holiday - in particular the ‘moon jumping’, the campsite on the pan itself and the canter by moonlight - will remain with me forever. 

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And it has not all been about the superb riding; the wildlife sightings on horseback just get better all the time with the safari horses now very relaxed around elephants (though maybe not quite so relaxed when an aardwolf explodes out of its burrow at their feet!)”

It seems that we have been inspired to let Guests and media tell our story this month. This is of course a privilege for which we are very grateful – well done and thank you to our team for all their hard work. Media coverage may bring business but, happy guests and stories and experiences are the very best advertising for our camps and safaris!