Back in January, we bit the bullet and booked a trip to Africa. It’s been on our bucket list for some time and we realized that it was only going to get more difficult to take this kind of trip. We worked with a close friend’s mom from Adventure to Africa to put this once in a lifetime trip together.
Our adventure began with a quick three hour drive up to Baltimore on Friday morning to drop the pup off with her doting grandparents. Around 9pm that evening, we started the long 36 hour journey to Africa.
By Sunday afternoon, we finally arrived in the South African bush and made our way out to our lodge which was on the Timbavati Nature Reserve (connected without a fence to Kruger National Park). We decided to stay at Shindzela Tented Safari Camp for a few reasons. The “glamping” atmosphere seemed a little more doable to us (vs. straight camping) but we also didn’t want to go for the “full glam” experience of a 5-star resort in the middle of the bush. This was a happy medium and we loved it. It’s incredibly affordable which is another bonus. Some highlights include private cabins/tents that are cozy, clean, and warm. Additionally, the lodge is not fenced in and the animals can (and do!) roam right through the camp. We regularly spotted lion tracks just outside our door in the morning.
Each morning around 6am we would head out for the morning game drive which was so cozy and exciting. We’d make a quick stop in the bush for coffee or cocoa and then be on our way spotting animals again. In the evening, we’d head out around 3:30pm and do the same. The whole experience was literally WILD. It’s hard to put into words how magnificent it is to see these kinds of animals just basically LIVING in their natural habitat. We saw all of the Big Five with hours of being in Africa. A seriously unforgettable experience. A zillion more animal photos here.
After four nights in South Africa, we moved on to a nice, relaxing beach town in Mozambique. We stayed at Bahia Mar Club which we truly enjoyed (so cheap for Americans!). The scenery was stunning but the poverty is a shocking. There is definitely a “them vs. us” feel staying at a resort like this in a community that depends on tourism as it’s #1 industry. We were very conscious of that.
Overall it was an unforgettable trip and I’m so glad we were able to make it happen. If you can handle 2 days of travel on either end of your trip then put Africa at the top of your list!