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.Looking like aged-school kids in their 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 responded to the repeated calls to return to that amazing continent, are familiar with the rules of the bush (like no standing in open 4 x 4 WD vehicles; no loud noises) the “Africa novices” dusted everyone with the magic of their enthusiasm though it was all they could do not to shout out in surprise at the wildlife they saw (eg lions, leopards, elephants etc) just how close they were and how uninterested they were in us, the bush paparazzi, it was almost as if we were not there!Invariably “those in the know” explain that with all participants seated, the animals regard game drive vehicles as a single entity providing no threat, but break the contours or make a loud noise and individuals begin to attract attention. People often discount an African safari on the basis that it is not safe! What is not safe is a failure to observe instructions – like 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 stupid actions the fact is that it happened because she failed to follow instructions – obviously the lions in that park were not accustomed to open vehicles or even open car windows! As stated above, the animals in game reserveshave been acclimatised to the form of vehicles used for game viewing since they were born. In addition safari guides are trained to read animal body language and behaviour instead of worrying about it just avoid stupidity, observe instructions and you will have a wonderful and perfectly safe safari!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 and which is 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 good 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!