Africa - Day 10 - Wednesday October 2
There was a bit of confusion this morning but we ended up missing breakfast and jumping in the Land Cruiser for our 45-minute trip to the airport around 6:30 AM. We thought we had a 7:55 AM flight but it ended up being a 9 AM flight. Considering we were the only ones on the Cessna Caravan taking us to the Serengeti, I don’t know why it mattered exactly what time we showed up. Regardless, we got there and waited over an hour for the plane to take off on the scheduled time.
The flight was quick and easy, just about an hour. We landed on the private airstrip of the Singita Reserve. Upon arrival, our guide Joe was waiting for us in his Land Cruiser safari truck. As we were loading our bags, a herd of elephants decided to cross the runway just about a hundred yards from us. It was quite a site.
Joe mentioned that the drive to the campsite would be anywhere from 40 minutes to 3 hours depending on traffic. We didn’t really understand what that meant so we just smiled and nodded --- off we went. Within 5 minutes Joe shut the car off as we approached a herd of Impala (deer like animals). He turned around and said, “You see what I mean, traffic.” The ride from the airport to the campsite was our first safari. We saw Impala, Zebra, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Hogs, Topi, Elephants, Baboons, Buffalo, Monkeys, Gazelle, Ostriches and more. Currently it’s migration season so there are animals everywhere. We saw no less than 40,000 animals on the ride back to the campsite. That’s a conservative guess.
We pulled up to our “campsite” and proceeded to get out of the truck. For legal reasons they can’t build permanent structures on the reserve so they have constructed these various tents. Picture hardwood floors, elevated off the ground with every amenity needed. We have two rooms that are about 1,000 square feet each, 12 foot ceilings and they each have a raised walkway to a shared living room tent between the two rooms. Inside the tent we have our living area along with a bathroom divided by a cloth wall. The bathroom has a normal, plumbed toilet, a bathtub, dual sinks, a closet and an outdoor shower.
We settled in quickly and then headed up to the main tent. Someone greeted us with a pitcher of warm water and some soap to wash our hands. We went to the bar (an old hot-air balloon basket converted to a bar) and they had welcome drinks waiting for us. After enjoying the welcome drink and saying our hellos, we sat down at a table set for three out on the deck. At this point we were literally sitting in the middle of Africa with 360-degree views of animals. It was amazing.
We ate an amazing lunch and then had about 3 hours to kill before our 4:30 safari. Evan took a nap on one of the outside daybeds and Jamie took a nap in the tent. I sat at the lunch table (writing this) while Zebras grazed no more than 15 feet behind me.
The afternoon flew by and before I knew it, it was time for our safari. We hopped in with Joe and proceeded to drive around looking for anything interesting to see. The three-hour safari seemed like 10 minutes. The weather was perfect and the animals were amazing. The most interesting thing on this particular outing was a mother Cheetah and her three babies. The mother was just lying around while the three cubs romped around with each other in the brush. I was shocked to see how close we could get (less than 10 feet) without them caring or even acknowledging our presence.
After the safari we got back to our tents, cleaned up and headed to the main tent for dinner. There was another group of 10 people here that we chatted with for a while. Normally they have a campfire setup but tonight it rained so the campfire was cancelled. We ate dinner inside the main tent because of the weather. This resort is all-inclusive so we got to order as much of anything as we wanted. Normally I’m not a fan of all-inclusive resorts because the food & drinks are sub-standard. Not here. The food was 5-star all the way. The wine list was very impressive and the liquor was top-shelf. We thoroughly enjoyed dinner and then it was off to bed.