For my 50th Birthday – remember our flash sale – my mom treated my sister and I to a 12 day trip to Botswana and South Africa. It was the trip of a lifetime. We started our trip in Botswana where we stayed at the AndBeyond lodge Sandibe. I can’t describe what its like to stay in this luxurious hotel in the middle of the bush.
On our very first game drive, we were charged by a herd of elephants for no apparent reason. Our guide told us that elephants in Botswana can be hunted, so they are not as “friendly” as South African elephants as this is what they associate with humans in a truck. Needless to say, that was the scariest moment of the trip and we requested the rest of the trip be as elephant free as possible. In contrast, the highlight of our entire trip was at our first stop.
We took the most surreal helicopter ride over the river delta. The doors were off the helicopter as we flew only a few feet off the ground over the water. Hippos and elephants scattered as we fly by – it was like we were filming a National Geographic Documentary. I will never forget this unique experience.
After Botswana, we headed to Cape Town. We participated in the usual tourist attractions. The Cape of Good Hope was a sight to behold. We climbed to the top of the mountain where you can see the two currents meet from the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Hiking that steep ridge was the only exercise we got on our entire trip which was not so great for our waistlines. In Cape Town we stayed at The Ellerman House, which is a hotel that was formerly a residence. It is much more intimate setting and in a residential area. This was much more to our liking than staying at one of the big well known hotels down on the waterfront, which can be very busy with tourists.
Our last stop was AndBeyond’s Ngala Tented Suites at Ngala Private Reserve in Krueger National Park. This lodge was my favorite. The rooms were so well appointed which was such a cool contrast to the rustic location. A leopard was in the camp the night before we arrived. Ngala means lion and boy did we see a lot of them here. At one point, we say a pride of 9 lions all sleeping in tall grass. I could just imagine accidentally running into these guys on foot. We also came across the most beautiful and majestic two year old male lion that was with his mother and his aunt. This male has a sad fate. His territory had been taken over by two male lions from his father. As many of you know, when male lions take over a territory, they kill all of the cubs that are not their own. This two year old is too young to go off to a new territory, so he will not survive. His mother and aunt are trying their best to avoid the new alphas, but eventually they will be caught. It broke our heats to see such a beautiful animal and know that he has such a short time left on this earth.
After three nights in each location, we made the long (30 plus hour) trek home. It was such a great trip filled with amazing sights.