One Perfect Summer Day: Camp Jabulani, South Africa

This week, our bloggers remember one perfect summer day. Today, it’s the Grannies on Safari – meet them here. 

Rise early at 5am and have hot tea, Four Roses is my favorite, and a Rusk, which is typical Afrikaan dry biscuit (similar to a biscotti).

Get into your safari Range Rover van by 530a and head out into the Bushveld (grassy plains dotted with dense clusters of trees and shrubs) to search for what we Americans think of as exotic animals, like a Kudu which is a large Elk (very tasty too!). Stop, see the sun “whoosh” up into the sky – it seems as if it flies up like a big golden disc.

See the lions resting after a night of feeding (if they made a kill) as they are really relaxed, enjoy the smell of the early dew – see spider webs as big as five feet around, hear the birds waking up and trilling, see the cape buffalo and elephants relaxing because the dangerous night for hunting by the big carnivores is over.  You may see a leopard in a tree but are guaranteed to see lots of birds, giraffes, antelope and warthogs all alert and awake with the warmth of this big Southern Hemisphere sun!

Return to your camp and have a sumptuous full-board English breakfast of eggs, sausage, fresh fruit and fresh baked goods.  At Camp Jabulani you eat on a deck that straddles a river bed – who knows what animals you will see while eating, but get your camera ready!

Return to your private cottage at Camp Jabulani, soak in your own little pool surrounded by trees and beauty.  At Kapama Lodge return to your huge cottage (two are adjoined to each other) and take a nice bath in a really nice tub.

Bring along your favorite book and read leisurely on your patio or take a nap or treat yourself to the top-line services at the fabulous Camp Jabulani spa!

At 4pm return to the game reserve’s main deck for high tea and some yummy tarts, cakes and other baked goods.

Then…get ready for the escorted night game drive, meet your ranger and animal tracker (the person who tracks the animals while you’re out on your drive) and all together board your safari van for a nocturnal trek through the Busheveld once more! (the night drives are more intense and adventurous as the safari van has no tops and sides…and there are no lights out there!)

Right before the sun goes down we stop for “sun downers” – the safari van is parked in a clearing that allows you to get out of the van to watch the sun go down.  Your ranger breaks out a tray and bar set up with what you want to drink along with Biltong – a South African beef jerky type of snack or other snacks.  The idea is to leisurely have a drink and watch the sun go down (usually around 5p).

After sun-down, board the safari van again and continue driving for about three hours, looking for animals and getting up-close and personal to them – often you’ll find yourself following the lions as they head out to hunt, or observe the buffalo forming circles for protection as the night progresses, and the fearless elephants calling out to each other but otherwise absolutely silent as they move through bush and forest.  Be alert because while on safari, you are driving off the dirt roads and into the bush where the animals live and you have to dodge tree limbs, thorny Acacia bushes and sticky spider webs!

Before returning to the lodge, the ranger turns off the van motor and lights and look up into the sky to the stars.  Absolutely breathtaking….enjoy the sight and sounds of the Southern Hemisphere of Africa (low-lying stars, lions roaring, frogs calling out)

Return to your lodge for a complete gourmet dinner, which includes some exotic dishes made from ostrich, warthog, impala or buffalo – maybe even a dance or two from the locals to entertain you – and then enjoy drinks and stories about what animals you saw while on safari while a roaring fire dwindles down and its 10pm!

Go to sleep to do it all over again the next day.