For this year’s Savanna Safari, our travelling companions arrived on the wings of the four winds, so to speak; some from Namibia, some from Zimbabwe, some from Cape Town and others directly from Oz the previous day. Beginning the Savanna Plus Safari 2016 We all congregated with the singular purpose of enjoying Destinations Africa’s annual Savanna Plus Wildlife Safari (2016). All but three of the holidaymakers were experienced Africaphiles. In fact, some had enjoyed the privilege of visiting the Savanna almost as often as John and I. So the reunion was a bit like a homecoming! To divert momentarily: Before the formation of Destinations Africa, both John and I worked in compliance. This is, to say the least, a very thankless occupation with customers motivated to shoot the messenger rather than the legislators or regulator! Instead of implementing required constraints, Destinations Africa is in the privileged position of creating unforgettable memories during the course of holidays of a lifetime! So rather than wanting to shoot the intermediary, customers tend to become friends. Thus it was with great delight we caught up with our friends at our favourite wildlife safari lodge for an extended five-night stay. With all participants either native born or long-since acclimatised Aussies, everyone was on the same page, speaking more or less the same language (whatever their origin), all anxiously awaiting the surprises this wildlife safari would deliver. A Slow Start Yields Great Game Viewing There were some unexpected surprises. For instance, a series of cloudy June days featuring what John called, “guti” (drizzle), meant it was much cooler than usual. So instead of following their normal routines, some of the wildlife stayed tucked up in their beds! Thus we had slightly less than average game viewing for a day – a rather unique experience in the Sabi Sands. Just as well we were scheduled to have an extended five night stay, as during that amount of time one will not be disappointed! And thus, as the sun’s warming rays burned off the cloud cover and started to thaw us all out, the wildlife began to come out of hiding. Even a few lions put in a cameo appearance from their current retreat in the north of the reserve. Although for the more seasoned African travellers among us they provide less than dynamic viewing (given the long hours they sleep), a lion-free wildlife safari would seem rather incomplete! After a slower start than normal, we were rewarded with delightful game viewing, including: An amorous rhino bull making valiant efforts to woo a female who continued to play hard-to-get A den of energetic, inquisitive hyena pups. While the parents are not the most attractive creatures in the world, the pups (like all babies) are very cute and their antics very entertaining. Hunting wild dog (also called painted dogs) who eventually made and demolished a kill. Wild dogs are one of Africa’s most efficient and effective carnivores and offer very exciting game viewing indeed! Hippos rendered even more cranky than usual by the drought affected waterholes A 1 000 strong herd of buffalo, which Dan had trouble finding until he realised that it would be easier to locate the herd rather than his fellow ranger. Elephants on every drive – breeding herds with babies, lone bulls and even male coalitions – all eternally on the move and so offering very engaging viewing Several different leopards, thankfully all left alive since we managed to avoid driving over Kashane! So all in all, even though the weather did us no favours, the Sabi Sands did not let us down and yet again delivered another fun, fascinating and memorable safari! – By HILARY HORAN Find out more about who we are at Destinations Africa *** If we’ve whet your appetite for an African adventure, we invite you to find out more about planning a trip with your partner or your family and/or a group of friends. We are currently taking registrations for the 2020 Savanna Plus Safari in the unforgettable Sabi Sands. Or talk with us about an itinerary suited to you, or to view some samples.