A Lifetime of Lessons in Eight Days

Burk Family ‘selfie’ with Sisonke Boys Club

Seventeen-year-old Nqobile Mabhena said I inspired him. I assure you, young man, you – and your friends – have inspired me so, so much more.

A true story.

A staredown with a six-ton elephant. A grandmother who lives in a thatched-roof hut. Hyenas in the mist, and lion cubs in golden light. And a group of teenagers on the leading edge of a culture changing for the better. Our eight days in Africa had all of this and more.

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Ron and Colleen and their new elephant friend

What is it about Africa? Why do millions of people, including my wife, place it squarely on the “bucket list?” Maybe it’s sewn into our DNA, a salmon-like drive to see the headwaters before we die. The urge to plant our feet in the dusty footprints of our hominid ancestors. Or, in my case, maybe it was when my wife Colleen said, “You’re coming with me. End of discussion.”

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Now that your safari plans have been set, the details begin to emerge and as you re-read your itinerary and your eyes do a double take as they land on the phrase “Note: luggage restrictions … “ and so it begins! THE most popular topic of conversation.

Yes, there is a high probability that if you are going on safari that you will be on a light aircraft flight, which means there will be luggage restrictions! Trust us when we say, we are not implementing these restrictions to torment you. Rather, these are set for safety reasons and due to limited storage space on board the plane.  The restrictions vary between the different light aircraft companies as the size of the plane does affect how small the luggage hold is.

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At Global Sojourns, we often use the term “old world safari”. This describes a camp where your creature comforts are met but the focus is more on nature and the wildlife viewing experience than on accommodation luxuries. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of luxury travelers coming on safari. Many camps have responded by adding an array of amenities including expansive rooms, spas, plunge pools, wifi throughout, butlers and more. This has brought some benefits all around as everyone has “upped their game” comfort wise but for us, an excess of amenities can get in the way of providing one with what we find so special about the safari experience…. the awe of nature.

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Featured Camps – Botswana

We’ve visited 19 camps in Botswana in the past few months- checking out new ones and seeing refurbishments at some favorites. Here are some of our findings:
Sandibe: Modern Luxury + Fantastic Concession + Outstanding Guiding = Wow!
Sandibe offers all the modern comforts (spa, fitness room, wifi, espresso) while retaining a high quality bush experience with their game rich concession and quality guides and tracker system. Outstanding food, service and great wines top off the experience!

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Kidepo National Park

uganda_mapIf you seek wildlife viewing in remote and untrodden locales, add Kidepo to your list! Why we love it:
  • Expansive vistas
  • Gorgeous landscape
  • Untrodden- one feels like you’re in a private park
  • Large herds (elephant, Cape buffalo, hartebeest, waterbuck, giraffe and more…)
  • Apoka- wonderful lodge- wildlife at your doorstep, peaceful, great service