A new heart-pounding adventure on the horizon in Africa..

Due to yesterday’s power outage, we couldn’t upload yesterday’s post dated April 20, 2018, until this morning.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  Also, none of today’s photos are ours except for “Sighting of the Day in the Bush.”

Giraffes were joining diners at Giraffe Manor.  Oh, my, this looks fun!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Ms. Kudu was munching on a tree near the veranda.

Last week when Louise sent me this safari/tour event in Messenger on Facebook, I gave it a severe look, noticing that several aspects of it make my heart skip a beat about the prospect of returning to Kenya.

The thought of returning to the Masai Mara, the most highly regarded and wildlife-rich game reserve in the world, stirred my memories from our visit in 2013, one of the most incredible experiences of our world travels.

Giraffes were looking for treats at Giraffe Manor.

Next, the prospect of visiting Giraffe Manor, which I’d heard a lot about, sent me into a tailspin of excitement. Also, adding the concept of touring the world-renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which has been of dream of mine since we first visited Africa, made my heart skip a beat.  (Daphne Sheldrick, David’s wife, was the world’s most renowned elephant rescuer, passed away last Thursday at age 83. Click here for details).

Then, the idea of a stay at Little Governor’s Camp after I’d watched this video many times, dreaming of having such a once-in-a-lifetime experience, sent me to the moon with sheer delight.

Can you imagine having this photo op? (Photo was taken at Giraffe Manor in Kenya)

How could such a package be presented by any other than well-known Canadian wildlife photographer and “tour designer extraordinaire,” Greg Harvey of Harvey Wildlife Photography?  His exceptional passion for wildlife coupled with the finest of skills and experience made this event particularly appealing.

This was not going to be a standard safari, but as Greg calls it, “a bucket list” experience few seldom add to their repertoire of wildlife adventures. Instead, the February 22 to March 7, 2019, the event can round out our African experiences beyond our “wildest” dreams before we leave the continent (after 13 months) on March 7, 2019, the day of our wedding anniversary.

A scene at Little Governor’s Camp.

We’d intended to stay in South Africa until around March 21, 2019, but since we’re embarking on this tour, we’ll be leaving one month earlier than planned. Luckily, our schedule has some flexibility to make changes at this point.

No doubt, this is a pricey expedition, mainly when it includes only 14 guests. It certainly isn’t as expensive as Antarctica was but higher than our preferred price range for tours and cruises at ZAR 87,149 per person for a total of ZAR 174298 (US $7200 per person for a total of US $14,400). Not only does this expedition offer such exciting venues, but it will also give us both the opportunity to hone our photographic skills.

Elephants were wandering through Little Governors Camp, a common occurrence.

For these very types of opportunities, we remain frugal in our daily lives of world travel; low rents when possible, inexpensive rental cars; less dining out than most travelers; and minimal purchases besides groceries and essentials. Even with this extra expenditure, we’ll be able to stay within our budget.

After many email communications with Greg Harvey, we firmed up our reservation, paid the deposit (the balance paid in two installments between now and then), and we’re set to go. We have yet to arrange the long flight to Nairobi, Kenya from South Africa, which previously the reverse had been one of the longest travel days in the past 5½ years, and the flight when we leave Kenya.

Sign at the entrance to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphans Project.

Here’s the itinerary for this upcoming adventure we’ve booked, leaving in a mere ten months from now as taken from Greg’s website:

“Masai Mara, Kenya Safari – February 22-March 7, 2019.

The “Bucket List” African Safari Adventure…Who’s In?

In February 2019, Greg from HW Photo & Safaris took another group of safari guests to Kenya. We call it the “Bucket List African Safari Adventure.” Whether it be having breakfast with Rothschild giraffes at Giraffe Manor, watching elephants walk by your tent, or floating 60 feet above the Mara River in a hot air balloon (hot air balloon rides are optional and an extra cost), all of these activities are indeed “bucket list” events.

Kenyan Itinerary:

February 22 & 23- Ololo Safari Lodge. Ololo Safari Lodge is located on 20 acres on the south edge of Nairobi National Park. Only half an hour after we leave the airport, we will already be in Nairobi National Park on the way to the lodge. There we will recover from the international travel. For the early risers, the next morning, we will have the opportunity to go on our first official game drive in the park. This will give us the chance to scrape the rust off our photography skills.

Daphne Sheldrick’s love, passion, and dedication to elephants were like none other in the world.  Sadly she passed away last week.

February 24-28- Zebra Plains

Zebra Plains is located in great leopard and cheetah territory. As the name suggests, the area is very densely populated with massive herds of zebras.

March 1-5

Little Governors’ Camp- Little Governors’ Camp is located in the Northern area of the Masai Mara National Reserve. The site is home to the famous Marsh Pride of lions. This area also has vast numbers of elephants. It is common to see between 100-500 elephants in the Marsh area just a few minutes away from camp.

March 6- Giraffe Manor & Private Tour of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (Elephant Sanctuary)

Rhinos are also rescued at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The wildlife in all of these adventures is not trained to perform “tricks’ for humans.  Those rescued at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust are done so with the intent of returning them to the wild, except those who could not survive on their own.  More on this later.

After our private tour of the elephant sanctuary, we will return to the Giraffe Manor for high tea, where we will have the chance to interact with the giraffes. Dinner is at 8 p.m.

After we check out from Giraffe Manor, we’ll go to Mat Bronze to visit their gallery and have lunch. After lunch, we will see a wood sculpturing gallery and store, Kazuri Beads, and an open-air market for some beautiful souvenirs. From there, we will go to the Four Points Sheraton, where we will check in to a day room to freshen up, re-pack if necessary, and have a farewell dinner. Then it is a five-minute drive to the Nairobi International Airport for our flights out at 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on the next day (March 7, 2019).”

How does Tom feel about all of this? Honestly, he’s not as excited as I am. But, like most experiences over which he hesitates, he too will have an exceptional experience once we’re there. 

Now, we have two exciting trips planned in the next ten months, and with immigration requirements in South Africa, we still must leave two more times. We’ll keep you posted on those two adventures as well! 

Enjoy your weekend doing something extraordinary!

Photo from one year ago today, April 21, 2017:

Tom’s shot of a stunning sunset in Fairlight, Australia, as we wound down our last few days. For more photos, please click here.