In 35 days from Cape Town to the wilds of Zambia, Anne and I explored the wines and wildlands of Southern Africa. Together with our friends and wine experts, Ruth and David Arista of Arista Wine Cellars
in our hometown of Edmonds, WA, we co-led our Wine and Wildlife Safari
, April 12-29.
Along with 10 fun-loving Wildland travelers, 8 of them previous alumni guests, we laughed, tasted and gasped our way through Africa, astonished at the wildlife, the incredible food and wine, stunning safari camps
, and amazing Africans we met throughout.
We return full of gratitude and appreciation for all the heroic and stunningly talented and dedicated South Africans, Zimbabweans, and Zambians we met during our travels from pro-guides, chefs and winemakers, to all the smiling and hardworking drivers, pilots, and service staff who gave us their all (including song and dance not just as a show).
We met locals from townships to remote villages in the bush, and everywhere we traveled on the road strangers waved to us gleefully as passing tourists, so happy to have us visit their country after the Ebola scare, which by the way, never arrived anywhere in Southern Africa. Thanks to them for showing us the true spirit of Africa!
The first week the four of us explored Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, then discovered a beautiful route over the mountains to the coast where we stayed in the coast town of Hermanus, one of the best whale watching sites in the world during the season (Aug-Nov). We made our way back to Cape Town on the spectacular route 44 coastal road along Betty's Bay and Stony Point Penguin Rookery.
After the group arrived we tasted, dined and biked through wine country, saw the white lions and more on safari in the private Timbavati wildlife concession bordering Kruger National Park, spent two nights on the Zambezi River in Zambezi National Park above Victoria Falls, and concluded the group trip in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe where we came up close (within 20') to over 200 elephants in a few hours.
After the group departed, Anne and I headed up to South Luangwa Valley, the heart of walking safaris in Africa
, where we were the first guests of the season at several small bush camps. We concluded our 35 days of travel in Africa
at two of the most beautiful bush camps in Africa in Lower Zambezi National Park: Chiawa and Ol Mondoro.
I'll be sharing pics, stories and more information about our adventures in the coming weeks.
Keeping it wild,