A glorious and unique trip

| vschneps@queenscourier.com |


My small plane into Kruger National Park

It was the first time I planned a trip on my own to travel by myself to a distant land. But Stu and I had talked about going on a safari in South Africa and visiting Victoria Falls in Zambia. How he would have loved it!

Choosing Micato Safaris as my tour guide was the best decision I could have made. From the moment I stepped onto African soil to my return to JFK, they “held my hand” at every juncture and selected world-class hotels during my visit. It turned out to be a “wow” vacation.

I’m safely back and will be writing about the trip and sharing my many photos in print and online.

Last week I shared my time in Cape Town, an ocean-side city between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. From there I flew to Johannesburg, then transferred to the Federal Air Charter terminal to take a small plane into Kruger State Park. I landed at a small airstrip to spend two days at the super-luxurious, gloriously-beautiful Singita Lebombo Lodge. It was a 40-minute ride to reach it. As the Land Rover pulled into the circular driveway leading to the entrance, there were three staff members there to greet me.

The safari group was just me and an ad executive from Chicago, Brian Walker, who gave himself the trip as his 40th birthday present. He turned out to be a great traveling companion who was as enthusiastic about every minute of the trip as I was.

As the Singita staff welcomed me, I was struck by the “craggy,” cliff-like design of the lodge, built into the cliffs.

My unique room was reached by going down 22 steps and a long walkway. The room was built to take advantage of the dramatic, panoramic position and seamless savannah views with floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The room was built respectful of nature, down to planning the space to be sensitive to the animals and birds, particularly the Black Eagles.

My breakfast, ordered the night before, was delivered to the room at 5 a.m. so I could be ready for the safari. While I ate I took in the beautiful African Sabi River and treed landscape.

I was pampered and nourished by the attentive staff with superb meals and the best breads I’ve ever eaten, prepared by their pastry chef. Wines from their 200,000 bottle wine cellars accompanied the dinners.

At night I had an escort from dinner because the animals walk through the property. There is an electrified fence to keep the elephants out because previously the enormous beasts created havoc with whatever was in their way, but I did see zebras and antelope outside my windows.

The beauty of the surroundings was added to by an iPod they put in my well-appointed room, with a mini bar at my disposal. While there, I listened to beautiful African music, jazz and traditional tunes. It all reminded me that I was in Africa — almost at the other end of the world!

The barbecue featured broiled ostrich, among other delicacies

The Singita Lodge was designed respectful of the nature that surrounds it. I didn’t know if I was inside or out!

Lions lay right before my very eyes!

My Micato Safari guide saw a salamander in the dark and stopped the Land Rover we were riding in

Zebras abound in the bush