Waterways to Railways

From the waterways of Botswana to the railways of South Africa …

Flying in a five seater light aircraft over the Okavango Delta to Zarafa Camp in the Selinda Reserve was a real adventure and it’s no wonder luggage restrictions apply, the plane was tiny and with the five of us including the pilot, not a lot of space. It was such a treat to see the Delta from above and to experience its vastness and beauty, as well as spotting animals below. As long as you can cope with the small plane! On landing at the strip we were met warmly by Isaac our guide with some refreshing cool drinks. Immediately we were given a choice – to head straight for camp or take a game drive and check in later on? With no hesitation we were eager to head off in the safari jeep for our first game drive in the area to see what we could find, never dreaming of what lay ahead so soon after our arrival. We came across a pride of lions with cubs, wild dogs and lastly a female leopard resting under a tree with her cub playing nearby while the remains of an impala kill was safely tucked on some branches above. Wow, what a start to our time here …

We arrived at camp to a beautiful welcome and a lovely afternoon tea spread before us before being escorted to our tent – we had never experienced such a wonderful exotic kaleidoscope of style and comfort in a setting in the middle of the bush. The air-conditioned canvas rooms were lavish, filled with features including a copper bath, internal shower, open fire, double vanity, lounge area with couch, writing desk and private bar with complimentary drinks, as well as a completely private external shower positioned across the wooden deck under a huge tree – exhilarating!

On top of this we had the complimentary use of a pair of Swarovski binoculars and a Canon digital camera to take out on drives during our stay, and the hundreds of photos we then took were downloaded before leaving on to a DVD to take home. What a great service!

The food and service here were first class as one would expect, but it was the genuine warmth and friendliness from all the staff that we found exceptional. The game drives were amazing and Isaac’s knowledge and personality exceptional. The Zarafa experience was second to none!

To finish off a wonderful experience in the bush and bring an end to our holiday in southern Africa we were to join the luxurious and award-winning Blue Train on an overnight journey from Pretoria. We stayed in Pretoria the night before the train left on a complimentary B&B basis in a lovely small hotel (a great bonus for Blue Train guests). Next morning they dropped us off at the station in great anticipation. Well this certainly had the ‘WoW factor’ from start to finish, and was a trip back in time when this mode of travel was really only enjoyed by the well to do! From the moment we were greeted and checked in at the Blue Train Lounge, meeting our charming butler who attended to every need, to the fine wines and delicious meals, impeccably appointed and comfortable compartments with private facilities and a superb, warm and friendly service throughout the journey, this was a trip that should certainly not to be missed while travelling in South Africa.



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