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AFRICA,PART 4: THREE NIGHTS IN A PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

Tales of the recent trip to Africa continue with the next stop after our stay in Kruger National Park at Royal Malewane (see previous post). We were transported two hours southeast to Londolozi in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.  
Our camps: #17 Londolozi; #28 Royal Malewane
Londolozi is a private concern, comprising 32 accommodations divided among five different camps (based on families with children, adults only, price range). The chef oversees food for all of the various areas. Our digs in the Tree Camp were similar to Royal Malewane — living area, bedroom, deck with plunge pool and incredible bath including an outdoor shower.
No TV anywhere which was a very good thing.  Happy to take a break.
This reserve has been in the same family since 1926 and comprises roughly 40,000 acres.  The company also operates a tracking academy where both trackers in training and/or those already working spend up to 10 hours a day learning how to find all the various animals — perhaps by footprint but sometimes based on the sounds other animals are making.
Londolozi Tracker Academy
Guests are awoken at 5:30am with a knock and (thankfully) coffee delivered prior to leaving on the 6am morning drive.  After a luscious breakfast upon return, the day was free. The evening drive departure depends on the time of year; for us it was 3:30 p.m. Prior to heading out, we were invited to convene in the bar area where a selection of lovely food was offered to tide us over until dinner. This is beginning to sound like a cruise ship (any other similarities definitely end there).
Breakfast started like this …
One of the high points of Londolozi was the hour offered in the photo studio with expert guidance on how to best edit some of my shots.  Of course I “had” to select a few which were printed on canvas and delivered to the room, beautifully wrapped for transporting home.  They looked like paintings .. It is a fabulous benefit of staying at this establishment as nearly everyone wants to capture the experience.  They also have a variety of cameras and powerful lenses available to guests to rent on the drives.
Editing one of my photos with expert Roxy — I was given a flash drive afterwards with the work we (she) had done.
The hubby and I tried to stick to our guns of not comparing the two safari camps we were privileged to experience but rather savor them both.  If pressed, I would say it comes down to personal taste in decor or food; maybe making ongoing connections with other guests.  One would be hard pressed to find faults with either, given the attention to the smallest detail and level of luxury provided guests in the middle of vast African wilderness.  All I can say is this: If you have the opportunity, go. It is extraordinary.
We were in the middle of an enormous herd of Cape Buffalo — probably 500 in all.  They just kept coming and coming.  We had stopped for cocktails when the one below got a little too close so it back in the vehicle pdq.
The spectacular scenery and colors
The baby was no more than 6-8 weeks
Maribou Stork — hand’s down the ugliest bird. Ever. And nasty.
Cocktail hour was interrupted when this Cape Buffalo got a little too close; one of about 500 in a nearby herd.
Even in repose, the undisputed King of the Jungle night and day …
This beauty is full grown; about 7-8 years old.  Below, doing her stretches. Fortunately for the guests, the animals have grown up around the safari vehicles and thus are unfazed.  Still, great caution is taken for the safety of all.
And this was how we left Sabi Sand for a larger airport in Nelspruit en route to the next stop: Zimbabwe.  This “airplane” was piloted by two very young men (they looked about 12).  The first landing attempt was aborted due to antelope on the runway … something one doesn’t see everyday.  More to follow as we continue our journey.