Meeting the "big five" in Africa

14 Jun 2011

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Rachael Storer from Storer & Turner Travel Associates recently enjoyed an adventurous twelve days in Africa.

My trip, organised with the amazing team at Bench International, began with an unforgettable four days at Victoria Falls. We stayed at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge which was truly an experience on its own. After a day of adventure there’s nothing better than sitting with a cold drink at the lodge’s Buffalo Bar watching the wildlife at the nearby waterhole as the sun sets. One night we returned from dinner to the sight of an elephant chewing on a tree right outside our room!

Staying at the Safari Lodge also includes several other perks such as a sunset Zambezi river cruise and a guided tour of the Victoria Falls. The falls themselves really do live up to all the hype. I’d recommend taking an umbrella and jacket though as you can get quite drenched standing in the spray of the falls. After seeing this spectacle from the ground, it is an absolute must to take a helicopter ride over the falls to see it from the air.

Another memorable experience in Victoria Falls was the ‘Lion Walk’. We were first shown a DVD about the lion rehabilitation program before being taken out to walk with the cubs. Being with lions in their natural environment was amazing and I strongly recommend giving it a go. From Victoria Falls we also did a day trip to Chobe National Park, where we encountered all sorts of wildlife including the ‘big five’.

The next fantastic destination in my African adventure was Hwange National Park where we stayed at ‘The Hide’. The service and facilities here were among the best I have ever come across. Seeing elephants walk past your luxury tent and hearing lions roar at night are experiences you just don’t forget. The team here are so attentive to the point where you hardly have to lift a finger. The early morning safari tours provide a unique perspective on the environment and allow for some new and different experiences. Here you can also spend a night in the camp’s tree house, “the dove’s nest”, for a wild yet luxurious night out.

If you really want to get up close and personal with the animals, I can recommend the Ant’s Nest in the malaria-free Waterberg region of South Africa. The accommodation is set on the edge of a cliff and offers absolutely breathtaking views. The Ant’s Nest distinguishing feature is the horse riding through the property which allows you to get unbelievably close to the wildlife, including the endangered white rhino!

My trip to Africa was one of unforgettable adventures, one after the other, and I would relish the opportunity to go back and see more of what this unique continent has to offer.

Our experiences are only half the story.  Share yours in the comments section below.

Sue Johnson

Sue started her career in travel as a Travel Consultant and is now part of the Travel Associates marketing team. You can email her at sue_johnson@travel-associates.com.au