Lessons in Toughness
Close Encounters with the Big 5

Under Our Skin

 

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People often ask me, when they find out we're vacationing in Africa:  "Why Africa?!"

I've given a lot of thought to that question, and the only real answer is that once a person goes to Africa it just gets under their skin and they feel compelled to go again.  I've honestly never met a person who went to Africa that didn't long to go back. 

There's just something about Africa that is special, way beyond the amazing animals we get to see.  Perhaps it's some sort of subconscious primal reaction, a feeling of being back near the area where God first created mankind, a kind of yearning to go back to our roots.  It's probably the largest area on earth that is still wild and untamed, unspoiled by humans.  Africa touches a part of my soul that I can't explain, but I only know that even though we just returned I'm already longing to go back.

But it's expensive.  And a very long, arduous, exhausting trip.  So for now, I invite you (for the next couple of weeks) to relive the 2018 edition of our Africa adventures with me through my photos and stories. 

 

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Indy to Atlanta (1 hour) then a 16-hour flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa.

I don't mind flying, but any way you slice it that's a LONG time in an airplane!

 

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We arrived in Joburg about dinner time, so we stayed overnight in one of the airport hotels...very nice!

 


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Airport decor...we are not in Kansas Indiana anymore....

 


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The next morning, we caught a flight to our first camp destination:  Sabi Sands private reserve, adjoining South Africa's famous Kruger National Park.

 


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For the next several flights, we traded in the metropolitan Joburg airport for charming little airports that (like the planes we were in!) got progressively smaller and smaller.

 

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That's my father-in-law Kenny, who (at 82 years old) joined us on his first safari...at the Skukuza airport.

 

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We were met at the airport by our guide Josh (with his girlfriend Tanya who works at the camp) who would be with us for the next several days.

 

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Josh grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and with his reddish hair, impish smile, and adorable British accent he reminded me of Prince Harry.

Just a cute young fella still wet behind the ears and I mothered him a bit, like telling him he needs to rub in his sunscreen.  But very knowledgeable and a fantastic guide!



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First of three camps on our itinerary:  Kirkman's Camp.

 

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Lest you think we are "roughing it" in Africa, let me set you straight.

 


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Welcome to Kirkman's Camp!

 


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This is the common area, open air for any guests to enjoy.

 


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The camp was originally built by the Kirkman family for their home back in the 1920s.  Mr. Kirkman raised cattle, as well as hosted big game hunts.

 


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I swear this cape buffalo glared at me wherever I sat....

 


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Old gameboards for wildlife sightings in the camp....



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The back porch area...

 

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Outdoor dining area...



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And these were the bedrooms.

 

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Yep.  Roughing it, for sure.

 

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And plenty of wildlife right on the camp grounds.  

A couple of days we were all warned that a leopard had been prowling around the pool area and had walked across the lawn while we were out on our afternoon game drive.

 


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Very nice place to hang out between game drives...

Yes, it was hot (probably mid-90s) during the daytime, but very, very dry.  Our rooms were air-conditioned, but it was lovely sitting in the porch shade with a cold glass of water.

And they even had ICE (an American obsession that most of the world does not share)!  

A great beginning to a fabulous trip...

Africa called us and we went.

It's under our skin.

 

Comments

Anique

A glorious beginning!

Gerri Shewmaker

Bring on Chapter 2!!!! It's a nice camp for sure, Terry!

Sue Myers

Terry, Loved this report! I did not have any idea what conditions you were in but looks like you were in good hands. Looking forward to more.

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