S A F A R I

Cue the Lion King Theme Song

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Let me start by saying this was the best trip I have ever taken.

Safari was something I had always thought about but, never prioritized.DSC_0331

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So when I found direct flights (from JFK) my credit card points could cover, I booked it.  We did have to take another two puddle jumpers once we got to Johannesburg, but being as far out as possible is worth it!

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The most beautiful airport lounge pictured above…

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DSC_0724I choose Kruger Park since it was a nice launching pad into the Safari world where you can see the ‘Big 5’.  I was a little anxious since so many people had opinions on other areas they loved more, however I quickly realized- any type of safari would be incredible. With the help of Personal Africa we came up with a plan.

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What you need to know and no one tells you:

  • You don’t need any dinner outfits, you wear your safari outfits to dinner.
  • You can get all the fancy outfits you want, or you can wear joggers and sneakers like I did.
  • What you wear each day depends on where you are and the time of year- but dress in layers and neutrals.
  • The temperature drops significantly at night. Bring warm clothes unless you are going in the peak of their summer.
  • Suitecases, some of the small airlines to fly to the lodges do not allow hard shelled suitecases. Double check.
  • Talk to your doctor about medication for the location you are visiting.
  • Your life will be changed forever.

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Where we stayed: SINGITA We stayed at two lodges here, Lebombo and Sweni, each incredible and very different.

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DSC_0717To be honest, we hit the jackpot. It rained a TON the week before we arrived so the grass and vegetation grew much more than normal.  Making for a very green landscape. As seen in the photos.

Singita takes great pride in taking care of the land, people and animals.  The photo below is of the back tour I did of their property.

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 “Singita is a conservation company. We’ve been preserving African wilderness for the past two decades. Through an exceptional safari experience with 12 award-winning lodges and camps across South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, Singita is able to partially fund the protection and preservation of pristine land and existing wildlife populations, not to mention help create economic independence within local communities surrounding the reserves.”

I spent one of my days doing a back office tour of the property to see how this sustainable lodge runs. They have partnered with companies like Tesla to enable their lodge to be as sustainable as possible.  They also have a  process around waste management which gives back to the community. They cut back on large spreads of food and have changed to small portions in glass jars to reduce waste.  It’s these small, well-thought out considerations which have increased their sustainability and exhibits their care for the world and environment.  Want more info, check it out here. LINK

  • Lebombo Lodge is built high up like an eagles nest, with beautiful modern cool tones giving it a chic look. The upbeat lodge has a social scene with the most beautiful bar area where you can watch the sunrise and enjoy an afternoon cocktail. Specifically, a beautiful variety of mastered G&Ts made by their skillful and jovial bartender, Daniel.

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  • Sweni is meant to embody a birds feathers- with stunning pops of color. It is quite tranquil and private escape with a stunning pool overlooking the river where hippos and elephants roam. We were lucky enough to stay in the pool villa which was an incredible experience.

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Pictured above,  Mark and Quentin having a moment during our walking safari to watch the Hippos at sunset.

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IMG_5891At the end of every ride you enjoy a nice drink and appetizer while watching the sunset. IMG_6054A surprise dinner under the stars was prepared for us upon return… the food is outstanding! IMG_5680Facetune_03-04-2018-14-33-39.jpg

Sweni Lodge you can see the colors below and how different and beautiful this lodge is. IMG_5954Our private pool villa featured below. And yes a lion, elephant, giraffe etc could walk on by… IMG_5957IMG_5958IMG_5941The DETAILS. IMG_5952The bathroom is open, beautiful and colorfulIMG_5953The lobby entrance to the Sweni LodgeDSC_0770DSC_0772There are Hippos in that river! DSC_0788IMG_5940Living our best lives. IMG_5688Below is a picture of the pride of 15 lions we hung out with. If you look hard enough you will see there are 5 lions in this picture. IMG_5742The Range Rovers Singita use are heavy duty, you can drive through just about anything. IMG_5306Our balcony in our bedroom at the Lebombo lodge overlooking the river.IMG_5885DSC_0616DSC_0620Sunrise at Lebombo IMG_5207IMG_5248To sunset DSC_0546Do you see those Cheetahs! DSC_0579

Going to Singita, you get the opportunity to meet people who have a passion for travel and life. We luckily got teamed up with these two amazing South Africans who we spent time with on safari, wine tasting and dinner. These two have, dated, broken up, remained best friends and traveled the world together.  They are currently planning a 40th birthday to Palawan…gotta step up my birthday plans. DSC_0600The lobby at Lebombo IMG_5154This lobby sunrise will forever be my happy place. IMG_5531

Fun Fact: My Husband, Mark, didn’t want to go on Safari. Now he says it was the best experience of his life. DSC_0482Our beautiful room in Lebombo IMG_5124IMG_5150IMG_5113IMG_5910

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What do you do on Safari? 

5:00 AM Wake up call to do your morning drive. Meet your guide and spotter at the lobby bar to watch the sunrise over a delicious iced cappuccino. We lucked out with one of the top guides, Quentin, who was basically our own David Attenborough (the narrator from Planet Earth) I never realized the level or training, education, and experience is involved in becoming a certified guide until I had the opportunity to experience it first hand with Quentin –  Ladies he’s single!IMG_6152Below (this is clearly 5am )IMG_5542This was the first morning of our safari and I cried. IMG_7200

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10:30AM- 4:00PM is yours for the day where you can do simply anything your heart desires; eat, spa, gym, wine tasting, local community visits, etc.

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How basic am I in this photo?

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4:00PM Night drive, start your drive with a G&T and then head out for the night. The animals you see are outstanding.

I have had a hard time wrapping my mind around why I felt so touched leaving Singita (I cried a lot) and the more I think about it the more I realize it was the people. The people were down to earth, warm, welcoming and felt more like friends than staff. I hope one day I can top this trip. Until then, I will have the memories.

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Planning a safari can be complicated, let us help.

XO,

PS

 

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