After an afternoon in Maputo – itineraries should include the train station, lunch at the fish market and a sundown G&T at the Hotel Polana (one of those timeless classics) – it was time to return to South Africa.
The three nights we spent at Kambaku Lodge in the Timbavati reserve were an absolute highlight. This was a three day safari trip that would be hard to beat.
First there is just something about being out in the desolate African wilderness. Desolate of human life at least. What starts of as a deep silence turns out to be cacophony of the bush. Life in the wild suddenly starts to play out in front of you as you look on.
Over three days we watched the animal kingdom at work. We sat less than ten metres from a lioness enjoying her new kill, and a leopard at dusk vying for one.
We accompanied a male rhino on his morning stroll and hyenas who were taking a final drink before bedding down for the day.
We sat with three lionesses lying in the grass and looked on as a herd of giraffe gathered at the waterhole.
We spotted two leopards getting ready to mate and tracked two female lionesses feasting on newly killed warthog.
Then there were the elephants. Animals which have captivated me for as long as I can remember. We came across them drinking, eating, alone, in their herd, an old bull male, a baby learning to use its trunk, females grouped together, crossing the road, uprooting trees.
Elephants from every angle. Each with their own personality. We spent time sitting with one herd in particular as they had breakfast. We were surrounded by elephants. The herd Included a four month old calf which we watched as it struggled to get to grips with its trunk and the branch it was attempting to eat.
Another young male bashfully trumpeted at us as we started the truck only to retreat quick smart to its mum’s shadow. Bearing witness to an elephant family breakfast was unforgettable.
Taking to foot
The feeling of being exposed was multiplied no end when the safari truck was taken away. We took a walking safari to get a ground level view of bush life. – the land of termites, insects and animal tracks. We did learn some invaluable lessons including how to recognise animals by their poop and most importantly to “stand still no matter what charges at you” . I’m taking that one home. Next was a slightly less planned adventure which struck on a night game drive when not one but both safari trucks got stuck in the river bed. This time it was not us but the young male leopard that looked on. At least he seemed to find his human sighting rather amusing.
I couldn’t recommend Kambaku highly enough. From Albert and Neville our skilled rangers to our treatment at camp. The service was impeccable. The camp had a very homely atmosphere as everyone sat together tucking into the superb home cooked cuisine to discuss the day’s sightings. The small personal touches such as the daily bedtime story added the finish. A truly memorable stay and a fantastic end to a superb trip.