Africa at last

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November 13th 2008
Published: November 21st 2008
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We’ve traveled 26 hours and half way around the world to experience Africa. After a night of catching up on sleep in the Sun Intercontinental Hotel at Johannesburg Airport, Alan and I catch the charter flight to Ivory Lodge at Lion Sands, a property in the Sabi Sands game preserve adjacent to Krueger National Park.

When we arrive at Skukuza Airport, which is little more than a paved landing strip, Ivory Lodge guides, Lucas and Joseph, gather our luggage, then Alan and I climb into the Land Rover for our first ride down the dirt roads of the African bush. By the time we reach Ivory Lodge, we’ve seen velvet monkeys, impala, kudu and waterbuck.

We’re greeted in the reception area with a cold towel plus a glass of iced tea sweetened with grenadine. Then, Robyn shows us to Peregrine, the villa that will be home for the next three nights. A deck with plunge pool separates the bedroom and living areas, decorated in contemporary black and white. Inside the bedroom, herbs scattered on the bed, spell out “Welcome, Alan and Donna.” The river view outside the large glass walls confirms that yes, indeed, we are in Africa.

Lunch is served under the branches of a large tree, on the deck at Ivory Lodge. A hippo waddles into the water as we sample butterfish washed down by a Forester sauvignon blanc, finishing off with crème caramel for desert.

Later, Alan and I take a dip into the plunge pool before preparing for our first game drive. At 4 pm, we walk back to the lodge for tea. Enoch, our ranger, explains the rules before we walk to the Land Rover to start the 3-hour afternoon game drive .

Just before dark, Enoch and Sam, the tracker, stop to prepare sundowners in the bush. By the time Alan and I clink champagne glasses, we’ve seen impala, water buffalo, elephants, a white-tailed mongoose and a puff adder. But, the highlight was stopping to observe two leopards mating on the rocks of a dry riverbed.

As clouds thicken, raindrops begin to fall. Arriving back at the lodge, the staff greets us with African songs and a tomato and orange juice cocktail. A guide takes us back to our villa so that we can freshen up; guests are not allowed to walk outside alone at night. He returns to accompany us to the lodge where we enjoy cocktails in the bar area. The Boma dinner, an African barbecue, scheduled for tonight has been moved inside because of the rain.

Later, Alan and I climb through the mosquito netting that surrounds our bed. We go to sleep to the sounds of crickets buzzing, Africa’s lullaby.

Additional photos below
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21st November 2008

Hubba Hubba!!!
We want to go there! It looks incredible. Keep em coming!

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