by Brooke Allison, November 2017
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to travel to my #1 bucket list destination, Southern Africa, with Scenic.
No words can describe the sheer beauty, joy & experience that Southern Africa offers. From the mountainous coast line of South Africa, to the rugged private reserve in Thornybush National Park, to the vast open plains in Chobe National Park, it’s an experience like no other!
The people are the friendliest, most caring, welcoming people I’ve ever met in all my travels. Their big, gorgeous, welcoming smiles are infectious and warm your heart. They are genuinely interested in you and truly care and appreciate you being in their country. They are so grateful and thankful for tourism.
Safety, cleanliness & service; I have never seen so many well organised & clean airports & public spaces. The staff at airports, border crossings, visa processing are extremely friendly & so relaxed you walk out speechless about how easy the process was. Due to their years of experience & expertise, Scenic tour guides will do group check ins, passport control, visa processing & boarding crossings making the process so easy & stress free for everyone. For example, upon arrival into Victoria falls being a small airport & visas required, it can be quite a hectic and slow process, but Scenic have exclusive access to the visa forms prior to arrival, making this priceless in terms of ease & efficiency, such a great point of difference for Scenic.
My itinerary involved staying in Cape Town, including a day trip down the coast to Cape of Good Hope & Simons Bay to visit the local penguins.
We then ventured to Thornybush National Park Private Reserve, which borders Kruger, allowing the animals to roam freely between the parks. The benefits of Thornybush is that it’s a private reserve, so guests get exclusive access to morning and evening game drives; your own professional, friendly & highly experienced ranger & tracker; and last by not least, an abundance of wildlife at your door step (including the Big 5)! We were lucky enough to see about 28 animals including elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, buffalo, a mother cheetah with her cubs, zebra, honey badgers & hippos!
On our journey to Johannesburg we stopped to explore the Blyde River Canyon & Bourke’s Port Holes, before staying overnight in Johannesburg.
The last leg of our African journey was to explore the picturesque Victoria Falls & amazing Chobe National Park. As I visited at the end of the season, there weren’t as many guests as you would expect in the high season (May – October), but the benefit of visiting at this time is the beautiful view of the Falls, with not much spray obstructing your view.
From here we ventured across the border from Botswana into Zimbabwe to explore Chobe National Park for the day. We had an amazing morning game drive with our ranger, seeing elephants, monkeys, rhinos & crocodiles. It is so different to Thornybush National Park, so it’s a must to see both parks as it’s different scenery and wildlife.
After lunch we boarded a small boat to cruise along the Chobe river and wow, what a beautiful sight it was to see the national park from the river. We saw elephants splashing around & bathing in mud, rhinos in and out of the water, everywhere we looked, we were surrounded by an abundance of animals all in their nature habitat, a true highlight of the trip!
I can honestly say, hand on my heart, the ‘negative or unsafe’ perception of Southern Africa that people have is so far from the truth it’s almost laughable – I have never felt so safe, travelling Africa with Scenic. If you have ever had the slightest thought or inkling to visit Africa, I strongly suggest you make it happen sooner rather than later as I can honestly say you won’t regret it. Africa warms your heart in so many ways, you will come back a changed person.