Lake Kariba Sunset

November 2017 Newsletter, Woodbridge Safaris

Matusadona Rhino

A shocking confession: Iíve not been to Africa this year! I think thatís my first safari-less year in quarter of a century, and indeed most years Iíve been two or three times, so I hope youíll forgive me?

The good news is that my colleagues at Safari Consultants remain hardworking, and Iím in the office most weeks to hear feedback from one of them about their recent ďEducationalĒ. This ensures that Iím up-to-date with all the latest developments: camp refurbishments, changes of management, seasonal variations in wildlife, transfer practicalities and all the details that are key to a successful tailor-made safari.

Matusadona Tent View

I must start by noting the encouraging news of change in Zimbabwe: my first-ever guided safari was 25 years ago in Matusadona on the Southern shore of Lake Kariba. My recollection of that trip is that I saw very little game, but had the most amazing time with great campfire hospitality and a guide who opened my eyes to all the little things. As I left, he casually mentioned that weíd seen over 100 different birds in the previous three days: at that stage in my birding career the Fish Eagle and Lilac Breasted Roller were about my limit! Safe to say it was life-changing, and since then Iíve been back to Zim a dozen or more times. Iíve sat amongst a pride of lion, dodged black rhino, shared my fruit bowl with an elephant, swum with crocodiles (who were the other side of a rock wall!) climbed to a black eagle nest, and tracked down the elusive finfoot. I even saw in the New Millennium watching the fireworks in Kariba across the lake.

Lake Kariba Sunset

About a decade later we were in a remote bushcamp on the banks of the Zambezi, celebrating reports of the demise of President Mugabe! Unfortunately those reports proved premature, but more than another decade on letís hope for a peaceful transition at last with both economic and social improvements for the population. The Parks and camps have continued to operate through troubled times. Increased visitor numbers should offer more flexible and cost-effective internal travel, and it combines well with other Southern Africa destinations.

Elephant and Fruit Bowl, Matusadona Campsite

In other exciting news Iíve just arranged a fortnight in Kenya in early February, to end my personal safari drought. Thatís an excellent time to travel: the perfect escape from our dreary Winter darkness, low season prices and fewer visitors. Iíll be visiting camps in Laikipia and the Masai Mara, and the highlight will be a horse ride across the Mara Ė a bucket-list safari for many riders, although I should confess to having done it before. That was a decade ago, but I have vivid memories, admittedly aided by a promotional video that was shot on our safari.

Notwithstanding the click-bait title of my newsletter, safari holidays are pricey Ė there is no getting away from that. But with low season offers such as seven nights for the price of four (Iíve just booked that for clients returning to Zambia in May), or children travelling for free, it is worth getting in touch to see if I can help you plan an escape to warm sunshine, great hospitality and an abundance of wildlife. I work hard to get the best price for every client regardless of what flavour of Friday it is Ė black, the 13th or otherwise!