We realise that many of our clients may not have been on luxury safari holiday before so this is a brief guide to what to expect.
While each lodge is a little different, with its own special routine, there is a broadly similar rhythm to each day you spend in the bush. Depending on where you chose to stay you may fly in to a private airstrip or to a local hub. Either way, you will be collected by 4WD and driven to the lodge. The game viewing will begin as soon as you enter the reserve and your first sighting could be a giraffe, poking its head out from behind an acacia tree or a family of cheetah crossing the dirt track in front of you. You just never know and that’s half the fun.
Once at the lodge you’ll be greeted no doubt with a refreshing drink and a cold towel while your hosts check you in and give you a safety briefing before showing you to your room. You’ll probably arrive in time for lunch or afternoon tea, after which (at around 4pm) afternoon game drives are likely to begin. You’ll meet your ranger, who may be accompanied by a ‘spotter’, who’ll sit on the front of your vehicle looking out for animals, and set off into the bush.
Game drives typically last around three hours though may be longer at your request if you have spotted something particularly interesting and want to spend longer sitting quietly and watching – perhaps a pride of lion snoozing or playing in the afternoon sun or a family of elephant stopping to drink at a watering hole. If you’re really lucky it may even be a leopard, stretched out in a tree with today’s kill.
As the sun sets, your ranger will find a good spot for ‘sundowners’ where he’ll stop the vehicle and break open the bar. Enjoy the view over your chosen tipple before driving back to camp in the dark. This opens up new opportunities for spotting nocturnal animals.
Back at your lodge you’ll find dinner is almost ready. Have another drink and meet other guests to share stories of the day’s sightings. After dinner there may well be a camp fire set up so everyone can sit and watch the ‘bush tv’ while reflecting on another great day in the bush.
Before you retire, your hosts will discuss wake-up times with you (usually between 5am and 6am) and whether you’d like tea or coffee brought to your room to ease you gently into the day before your morning game drive. Fall asleep under a cosy duvet to the sounds of wilderness, perhaps a rustle in the branches or the sound of a hippo munching the grass outside. A perfect end to a perfect day.