Quotient’s co-founders Javiny and Hui-Juan travel to South Africa and Zambia, and discover there is so much to understand about the natural world we live in.
Staying at a lodge by the Zambezi River, just 25 minutes’ drive from Victoria Falls, you can hear hippos grunting through the night. Fresh tracks found outside my cottage meant that there had been a hippo hanging around last night! Knowing that these creatures may look adorable but can pose a danger to guests at night, our personal valet will always accompany us back to our cottage every night.
That’s Victor, our guide with a crocodile hunter past. You can see the evidence on his body… those scars told us a lot about his encounters. Victor knows his way around the river and we witnessed herds of “yawning” hippos, a solo lonesome male hippo, a family of elephants bathing and a gorgeous sunset (with a glass of champagne in hand).
Taking a microlight flight over the Victoria Falls in Zambia… the best way to see the grandeur of the falls! The 15-minute flight takes you over the Zambezi River where you can spot hippos (more hippos, yay!), and takes you past the falls twice.
From the ground, here’s what the world’s largest sheet of falling water looks like from the Zambian side.
And if you had to do one insane thing this year, this might be it. Swimming by the edge of the Victoria Falls.
Next up on our real discovery channel: horseback safari in the malaria-free Waterberg Game Park. Seeking wildlife on horseback is ideal as it takes one closer to the animals than from a vehicle. Zebras, impalas, giraffes and warthogs didn’t scamper away when we approached. Fear not, because the game in this area are docile (i.e. no lion or rhino), beginner riders are not at risk of being attacked. (We are riding on predators’ food after all – and in case you’re wondering, no they were not quite interested in us.)
Getting up-close to these creatures, especially with their young, is uncommon. We were so lucky!
A rather fruitful “night safari” with the help of a sharp-eyed fellow traveller who helped our guide spot wildlife in the dark. The Blesbok on the left is the butt (no pun intended) of a local joke for having a print of a toilet seat at its rear.
We just had to share this gorgeous sunset view from our cottage.
Me and my horse named Tomahawk. The horses are so well trained that beginners like myself didn’t suffer any thigh aches or felt at risk of falling off it. But he did occasionally try to walk me into tree branches.
Adding to the never ending list of unforgettable experiences, swimming with horses was a secret activity not found in the menu. Horses love to take a dip in the pond, especially during the warmer seasons. You can hear them go “ooooh and ahhhh” as they immerse themselves into the water. I could really sense their pleasure as we rode our horses into the water.
Going on a safari in Africa does not mean you have to endure poor dining experiences. Au contraire, several lodges can provide guests with fabulous gourmet experiences with dishes made from the freshest natural produce. Even during our daily game drives, the quality of our refreshments served outdoors were never once compromised.
Now in the Madikwe Game Reserve, we went looking for (from top, left to right) giraffe, lion, zebra, chameleon, rare black rhino, family of elephants, buffalo, wild dog, jackals, elephant skulls, dung beetle, black mamba snake (ok, we weren’t looking for the deadliest snake in Africa, it just appeared!). I must say I’ve have been very fortunate to check off almost all the animals I set out to see!
The importance of tracks. It takes the phrase “cover your tracks” to a whole new level here in the wild. Our Game Spotter, who sits next to the bonnet of the Land Rover, relies on animal tracks to guide us to the animals. Without finding these tracks, we wouldn’t know where to look. I remember how we followed these closely to look for buffalo and the hippos – the two species which are more elusive in this area. From the tracks, he could tell how old the marks are, how many in the pack, and where it/they were heading to.
That’s it for Africa for now. If you’re game on visiting Africa for your next trip, speak to any of our Travel Consultants to design a fully bespoke trip for you!
Click on any thumbnail below to start browsing the whole gallery of my safari photos >