We have to come back
This was our 4th time in Africa, but our first at Mpala – Our expectations were great.
We have traveled all over the world, but were missing the South of Africa.
Ever since 2013, we have been back again and again. Africa takes you by storm.
Nature takes up a lot of space in our lives – it applies to both flora and fauna, large and small.
At the same time, we have reached a point in our lives where we appreciate comfort, good food and wine, and, not least, exciting, exotic experiences.
All these expectations were abundantly fulfilled in Mpala Safari Lodge in January 2016.
When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by the entire staff, was lodged in a magnificent room, where the terrace opened to the views of the Oliphant River.
It doesn’t get much better than that – Does it?
Yes it does. When we got unpacked, we were relaxing on the terrace. We clearly heard a Kingfisher very close, and saw it sitting in a tree top near the river. Great to see the bird. On the other side of the river a bushbuck walks by.
With the river roaring in the background, we feel that now is the holiday has really started.
The drums sounds – it’s the call for lunch. The food is certainly not a thing to complain about. Delicious, delicious.
After a nap we go to the pool. It is warm, and suddenly the waiter arrives with a cold drink and asks if there is anything else we need.
We already have a good feeling that everything here works and is well organized.
Curiosity takes the upper hand. We must explore the surroundings. A trip around the field provides experiences that are different than out in the bush. Here we can leisurely study the small things.
Beautiful trees and shrubs that are in full bloom, insects and birds.
A Kudu finds, the leaves on the trees delicious. Marula fruit is scattered everywhere to the great pleasure of warthogs, squirrels and other animals. Small warthog youngsters get a sip of milk from their mother.
The camera is working overtime!
The daily game drive, gives us a unique feeling to be in the midst of the bush. The rangers fantastic knowledge provides so much knowledge about the flora and fauna that we’re completely ”stuffed” when we arrive back home at the lodge.
We have learned how we can survive in the bush (without food and wine). It has impressed us how good Theo and Ryno is to spot animals and birds at long distance, at the same time that they have to maneuver on the bumpy roads.
We try the bumpy roads ourselves, when we go out on the ATV’s. It’s a harsh and in a dusty environment – but it is fun.
After this cross-border drive we drive to Mpalas Bush Camp. Fortunately, there is a bowl of water and some rags, so we can remove the worst of the dust from face and hands.
A dry martini cocktail is more than welcome, which we enjoy, while we are waiting for the big steaks on the grill.
Ok – there are others who think the site is great. A big male elephant in heat is very interested in us.
Fortunately, we have an “elephant whisperer” with us. Theo gets Jumbo out of the way by talking quietly in a language, we do not know.
The atmosphere is great. Live torches, good food and wine and good company. Under the african night sky, we feel ourselves as the center of “his” consciousness, at the same time we find ourselves out in the middle of the african bush in the Limpopo district.
The Safari takes place on the premises, so each morning we get early out of bed and away. Every morning we’re excited about what we will see on the day.
It is particularly early for the rangers, whom havs to be up extra early to pack the cars, the day we go on a 2-day trip to the Kruger.
We have seen The Big Five before, so we would also like to see all of the other animals, large and small. The small Five aswell.
The greatest experiences for us that day, is that we see The sable antelope, this elegant fighter, not giving up, even in the face of a lion. We just can’t get our arms down until we see a little 4 days old kudu calf, which jumps around in the grass as a spring lamb. Occasionally it runs to mom and get a sip to drink.
But it is not over yet. A whole colony of mongoose sits not far from the road and observes us. Who is looking at whom?
A small squirrel sitting by the roadside halfway done eating a marula fruit, and further down sits a male baboon whom absolutely believes, the road is his. He demonstrates this clearly.
Yet another eventful day, as we can sit and meditate over in the Sabi Sand, where we shall spend the night.
Outside our chalet grazing elephants, hippos and buffaloes. What a sight.
The rangers once again demonstrate their skills in the field of gastronomy. Missing nothing!
Wonderful evening in the Sabi Sand.
On the way home the next day we can check off the last of The Big Five, when Theo saw a leopard, much to the delight of the participants. At a time are we totally surrounded by elephants.
The pulse is up, until they finally believe that the cars are nonetheless interesting.
Further ahead is a lion couple on the roadside. They have mated for several days and is gasping from fatigue and heat.
The male lion is impressive with a large very dark mane.
In the evening, in the boma, we’re talking about, what were the tour highlights. Majority seems, it was The Big Five. For us this was the greatest experiences, however, the kudu calf, mongoose, sable antelope and the little squirrel with the marula.
The other guests are out on a trip, so we just need to relax. Theo offers to take us to the View Point, where we have a view to the river, the lodge and the bush. Theo has this day off – So this is good treatment!
Back on the terrace, we saw a Goliath heron, standing and lurking on crocodiles youngs.
But the crocodile looks out for them and repeatedly chased the heron away.
The other guests have to move on, so we are left alone. An extremely romantic dinner is served for us on the terrace with candle lights and fragrant flowers.
The evenings are something special, the sounds, the mood, the talk of the day’s experiences, and on the last evening of the boma we tag along with Estelle, Theo and Ryno.
We think we’ve got a personal relationship with these wonderful people – and there is an unspoken promise to return.
It is impossible to mention all the details – the sounds, the smells, the temperature cannot be written on paper – it must be experienced.
We haven’t mentioned all the animals we have seen, cause then this story would be long. We may mention those, we have not seen: wild dog, cheetahs and snakes, so we’re just going to have to come again
A thousand, thousand thanks to Mpala for a unique experience
We hope you can use the images
Vita and Olav Nielsen