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  • Writer's pictureJolene Botha

Find a home where the wildebeest roam: An African Safari

It’s dawn in Africa, and light is creeping across the enormous sky. This magical hour, when predators head home and birdsong erupts from every tree, marks the start of the safari day. We’d like to invite you to come along, so you can build memories in Africa and treasure your unique Bushtracks safari experience.

Traveler enjoys the view of Masai Mara National Park in Kenya from Bateleur Camp

Light, cameras, action – and a glorious sunrise

The crisp morning air smells incredible, like nothing you’ve smelled before. Grasses and dust and thorn trees, maybe, but also, somehow, freedom. The game vehicle purrs along a sandy track. Moments before, the guide had made a sudden stop: He’d seen tracks in the sand; paws, definitely. And then a raspy sawing sound snaked through the trees. We swept along a route that the guide knew this cat preferred – and stopped suddenly, near a pair of mopane trees. Gasps swept through the vehicle as a gorgeous young leopard watched us with cool, golden eyes, then dropped her head back on a branch and closed her eyes.

Wild leopard in Lower Zambezi - Courtesy of Amanzi Camp in Zambia

This is the thing about small-group, custom safaris, especially of the caliber Bushtracks Expeditions designs. You are in the hands of experts, from the moment you touch down on this beautiful continent to the moment you must, reluctantly, leave again. Our staff meets you at the airport, whisks you into the wilds, ensures you’re accommodated at a camp or lodge that radiates professionalism and comfort, and takes you straight to the action.

Into the wilds – with the experts

It’s not unusual for a guide to be able to tell you stories about a particular pride of lions, or a family of elephants or gorillas. Walking encyclopedias, they certainly know their ecology, but they’ll recognize some individuals too – like that young leopard in the mopane tree, which the guide had seen grow from a tiny cub. What’s more, there’s no jostling for sightings in a pack of noisy diesel vehicles – the antithesis of what a safari should be. Bushtracks takes you to exclusive, private reserves and concessions where wild means just that. You’ll hear emerald-spotted doves cooing over sleeping lions, not jabbering crowds.

Travelers see elephants during a Chobe Chilwero game drive in Chobe National Park

Professional guides and trackers ensure your safety, every step of the way. They’ll know when to maneuver out of the way of an irritable elephant bull, or skirt a pod of hippos on a sunset cruise. On guided walks in the bush, if offered, a good guide can take you close enough to a rhino for you to hear it graze. If hiking in search of forest-dwelling gorillas, they’ll be able to assess your fitness and when it’s time to stop and rest. Never mind being able to mix the perfect gin and tonic at sundowner time!

Smooth journeys

A flight in a small light aircraft, cruising over the immense folds of an African mountain range, or desert dunes, may be a highlight of your trip. As charter air experts, Bushtracks maximizes time away by organizing smooth transfers to far-flung camps. Road transfers too, are in air-conditioned comfort and great company: Bushtracks ground staff can share insider views on the scenery as you travel.

Travelers fly over Okavango Delta in Botswana with Mombo Camp – photo by Mike Myers

A room of one’s own, in Africa

Regular safari-goers might confess that they’ve loved their accommodations as much as watching wildebeest surge over the Mara River. Superior safari camps and lodges are oases of luxury. Most are carefully located to make the most of a prime vista or elephant-frequented waterhole. Some are havens of excellent design; many are deeply aware of the need for an eco-conscious, light touch upon the earth. Suites range from pared-down nonchalant comfort to sumptuous; high-performing suites have extra perks such as private plunge pools and outdoor showers. Some lodges have fitness rooms with views of the wild, and spas with essential African oils.

Traveler receives a massage at Little Machaba

Your camp is your temporary home, and thanks to Bushtracks’ long-forged relationships with the better establishments, it should feel more relaxed than the real thing. The average day includes at least two activities in the company of other guests: Game drives, perhaps, or seeking smaller wonders on foot, or a visit to a local school – whatever appeals most. It will also be punctuated by fine meals with your guide, the lodge staff, or other like-minded travelers to chat to about the latest sightings. Despite the natural peace, you need never be alone – unless you want to be!

Until next time…

To exchange the exhilarating beauty of moonlight game drives for city lights is always a little wrenching. But the sounds and sights of safari stay with you, as do memories of people passionate about wildlife. To be on safari is to learn what peace truly means. Most return, to seek it once more.

If this article inspired you, take the first step towards building your future customized safari and schedule a call with one of our trip planners, here.

Travelers enjoy the sunset and Okavango Delta wild lands near Duba Explorers Camp in Botswana – photo by Great Plains

The first version of this article was posted on 19 Feb 2020 at 5:24 PM.

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