Mpala – Our paradise in the middle of the bush
We know now, that paradise do exist….
Once again we feel the warm breeze once the door to the small airplane opens, and we exit out to a clear blue sky, and reunite with Theo, whom has become a close friend of ours. The joy is great and with a smile from ear to ear he gives us a huge hug – We’re finally back.
We make a turn from the main road and head down the small gravel road towards the Mpala Lodge. It feels like every pothole and stone is welcoming us back. It is a good idea to remember your seatbelt, if you do not involuntarily want swap places with someone else in the car. Along the road are the animals as the first to bid you a curiously welcome.
Arriving at the lodge are the staff in line and offers us officially welcome, with big smiles and a handshake with both hands. It is a nice feeling of authenticity that comes straight from the heart.
There is taken account of every single detail. You don’t even have to carry your own luggage. It is taken to our chalet, where there has been served welcome drinks. This is the starting point of a vacation filled with pampering and exciting adventures.
The chefs magical cooking is a chapter on it’s own. An explosion of taste. Those who had ever had dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant, will know the quality of the food, and those who hasn’t, is certainly looking into a treat. The clothes might be somewhat tighter once you go back home.
The bushwalk is a very special and intense experience, of which we have been addicted to. With Theos immense experience, we succeed at sneaking up on the animals of the bush. Especially the Giraffe is unbelievable tall, once you’re standing between it’s legs. The Giraffe greets us, and is probably wondering about the small people down on the ground. God knows what it’s thinking about us.
The gamedrive on Mpala’s own private land gives you the opportunity to experience som real off-roading close to the animals. It is rather funny, when the road is blocked by toppled trees, which the elephants lightly and elegantly throws. You really feel that you are in the wild. This is on the natures premises. The good part is that we’re never in doubt of our safety. We are in the best possible hands.
The Quadbike is a crazy and dusty experience. When you finally take off your goggles, you look like someone with a facial mask. Even the monkeys are nodding appreciatively. They might be in doubt whether we’re one of them – In a bit larger version.
After the Quadbike tour, it is getting dark and there’s a very special evening waiting for us in Mpalas bush camp, where the chef is preparing our dinner. We wash our faces in the outdoor bath. How special is that.. It is impossible to not look around for glowing eyes in the dark – You never know. The cats of Africa might not be as affectionate as your house cat.
The night sky is settling and because of the missing light pollution, we see the Milky way as a blanket of glowing night sky. With shooting stars, good food, amazing wine and good company, which is followed up by the howling jackals, the atmosphere cannot be more romantic. Africa has surely taken our souls and breath away.
On the nightdrive back to the lodge we’re lucky to see some of the night active animals, when Theo finds them with the search light. I asked him several times where he bought his glasses – It is definitely not easy to spot the animals, and definitely not in the dark.
The two-day trip to Kruger National Park is in all ways a huge experience. The great part is that you never know what might be around the next corner. We were lucky enough to see a pack of lions hunting down buffalos. The five young male lions didn’t have the necessary hunting experience and had to give up.
At one point, one of the lions snuck up along the cars, scarily close. I heard Theo whisper: “Frank – Don’t even breathe”. The Lion was looking directly into my camera, probably thinking whether canned food was on tonight’s menu.
Back home at the lodge, the experiences line up, and as a nature photograpger, the lodge is a true Eldorado of colorful birds and other animals, which we could spend all day taking pictures of. The best part is, that you can just sit there and wait, and the animals will come to you. This is really a live newspaper.
The adventure unfortunately doesn’t last forever, and with soaking wet eyes and a lump in the throat, we have to go back home.
It is hard to say goodbye – So we don’t – cause we have to go again. We simply can’t get enough of Africa and our beautiful Mpala family.
So how to one sum up Mpala Safari Lodge? You simply don’t. You open up your eyes and take it all in.
Gitte & Frank Yhman