Zarafa in the Selinda Reserve

The camps are all full of eating and (mainly) drinking traditions. Around 3:30pm, most camps seem to gather for afternoon tea. This consists of tea, of course, but also pastries and sometimes fruit, and other soft drinks such as lemonade. At 4:00 you head out on the afternoon drive. Around 6:00pm, you might stop for a “sundowner”, which is drinks in the bush to watch the sun go down. We often had G&Ts (gin & tonics), and there would again be snacks – chips, some dried beef, maybe something else. All very civilized, all very British.

Sundowner Collage (Singita)

Sundowners – there’s always an excuse for drink and food, August 2017

Zarafa is located in the Selinda Reserve, a 500 square mile private area.  All of our camps were on private reserves.  The big advantage of that over the National Parks (like Kruger in South Africa) is that they are much less crowded.  The second big advantage is that the guides can drive off-road in search of animals.  The disadvantage is the cost – an order of magnitude higher than you would pay if you stayed in one of the parks.  But the wildlife is the same: they can’t read the signs at the boundaries.

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Sally with the big gun, August 2017

On our first drive with our guide Isaac at Zarafa, Sally was fully equipped with binoculars and a big Canon camera with a telephoto zoom. As the camp only had two couples staying there, we had a private car and guide. He asked what we wanted to see, and Sally asked for leopards and giraffes. Isaac drove off and eventually took us to a leopard den, where a mother had her cub stashed. The mother was lying in the grass besides a log, and we waited patiently.

Leopard & Cub Collage (lit)

Golden light, August 2017 (Photos by Sally)

We learned a lot of things on this trip. One was that the wild animals are completely unpredictable, yet also follow patterns of behavior. So once you’re in a situation where the pattern is likely, patience becomes a huge asset. You simply wait for the expected behavior, which will probably but not necessarily occur. In this case, we were waiting for the cub to emerge from the den to see its mother. After a while it did, and Sally got some fabulous pictures in the late afternoon golden light.

Leopard & Cub Collage (Shadow)

Mother and cub leopards, August 2017 (Photos by Sally)

I know I’ve shown pictures of some of the birds we saw in earlier posts, but here are some more.  If you weren’t a birder before you came here, the variety and beauty might turn you into one.

Zarafa Bird Collage

Selinda Reserve birds, August 2017

When Isaac first took us out in the morning, he asked what animals we hadn’t seen yet.  We really had seen pretty much all the animals we knew about, but our giraffe sightings were not very clear (one was in near darkness).  He almost immediately found us some giraffes.

Giraffe Collage (Zarafa)

Adult and young giraffe, August 2017

After the excitement of our first two game drives at Zarafa, Isaac suggested a pontoon boat ride for the late afternoon and sunset.  We did our sundowners on the water.  You get a different view of life there.  For one thing, it’s quiet and smooth, not at all like the noise and bouncing of the Land Rovers we drove around in all day.

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Elephant by the water, August 2017

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Hard to beat this, August 2017

The next and final morning of our safari adventures Sally decided to sleep in (1), while I got up in the dark to go out one more time with Isaac.  We (2) tracked a pride of lions and I got a shot of three of them warming in the morning sun.

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Sunning, August 2017

Then back to camp to finish packing and to say goodby to the safari life.

(1) 7:00 am

(2) Isaac tracked; I sat on my throne and held on tight as he sped through the bush


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