It was indeed a very special safari that saw 19 people congregate at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg to embark on a flight bound ultimately for Savanna Lodge in the Sabi Sands (a private game reserve adjacent to the well known Kruger National Park) for 6 days of some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa, fun, frivolity and friendship. The bush paparazzi! Looking like aged-school kids in our safari uniforms, complete with Destinations Africa logo, we constituted a mixture of dyed-in-the-wool Africa travellers and those new to Africa. While those who respond to the repeated calls to return to this amazing continent are familiar with the rules of the bush (like no standing in open 4 x 4 WD vehicles, no loud noises and so forth) the “Africa novices” dusted everyone with the magic of their enthusiasm. Indeed, it was all they could do not to shout out in surprise at the wildlife they saw (such as the Big 5 lions, leopards, elephants and more!). They were shocked at just how close they were and how uninterested they were in us, the bush paparazzi. It was almost as if we were not there! Safety Counts When on Safari Invariably “those in the know” explain that with all participants seated, the animals regard game drive vehicles as a single entity providing no threat. However, break the contours or make a loud noise and individuals begin to attract attention. Some people still regard an African safari holiday as not completely safe (if you can believe it!) All that is not safe is a failure to observe instructions. Take, for example, the woman who, contrary to clear signage, opened her car window while driving through a lion park and was consequently mauled by a lion. While regretting the consequences of her foolish actions, the fact is that this awful incident happened purely because she failed to follow instructions. Obviously the lions in that park were not accustomed to open vehicles or even open car windows! As said, the animals in game reserves have been acclimatised from birth to the form of vehicles used for game viewing. In addition, safari guides are trained to read animal body language and behaviour, so they are able to protect you. Fear not — if you avoid silly actions and simply observe instructions you will have a wonderful and perfectly safe safari! The “Plus” in Savanna Plus This was our third Savanna Plus – the “plus” mainly indicating there is more to the safari than the 6 days at Savanna which are led by John Mitchell-Adams. These safaris are also usually the culmination of a more extensive safari by participants (which can include Botswana, Zimbabwe — particularly Victoria Falls — Namibia, Zambia and even Mozambique). However another aspect of the “plus” is that participants gain the benefit of a discount offered for a full lodge booking. An African safari is one of the most unique, memorable and welcoming of all holidays. However since Destinations Africa personnel and clients regularly return to Savanna in particular, the welcome received is akin to that given to the prodigal son! This time was no exception, greeted as we were with a champagne reception on our arrival at midday, a wonderful precursor to an afternoon snooze. Then all we need to do is to let the magic unfold. Tune in for more detail in next week’s article! We’re passionate about Africa; it’s in our blood and we’d love the chance to show you the real Africa — the Africa with a difference!