July found us back in the African bush with a small group of friends. Some were joining us for the third time while others were on their first safari.

Once on board our South African Airways flight out of JFK you get the feeling you’re already there and it’s fun traveling with friends. A short connecting flight upon arrival in Johannesburg and we were on our way to Honeyguide Mantobeni Tented Camp in the Timbavati region.

At camp, a huge ellie strolled by the pool as we were checking in and that set the tone for the next 3 days. Every afternoon the ellies came up to the lap pool beside the main deck and then meandered down to the water hole where we had a super vantage point from a nearby hide. At a tented camp, the sounds of the bush at night were even more extraordinary, with hyenas calling to each other as they strolled between the tents.

 

From the Timbavati we made our way down to Inyati in the Sabi Sand region. My husband Rick and I had stayed there the year before and couldn’t wait to show it off to our group. Inyati is just one of those special camps with excellent guides and trackers and offers a very personal and family atmosphere. It was here that we witnessed two lionesses climb a tree for the first time! We were on our evening game drive sitting under a tree surrounded by noisy hyenas watching one of our favorite leopards, Dayone, enjoy what was left of dinner. Our guide Keith knew the lioness sisters were in the area and was sure they would hear the hyenas and come to investigate. And they did – running past our vehicle and climbing up the tree. Dayone the leopard moved as high as he could to stay out of their way, and eventually the girls gave up and leapt to ground. We were happy to forego our sundowners for such a great sighting and knew drinks would be waiting for us back in camp.

For our last camp, it was on to MalaMala, also in the Sabi Sand. Over the years we have experienced many thrilling safaris at this iconic camp and it is here that our clients return each time they go to southern Africa. With one of the best bars ever, superb guides, and an enormous tract of land, this is game viewing at its best – not only for the big “5” but so many other species large and small.

How about getting a few friends together and following in my footsteps? We will plan a spectacular African adventure that you won’t forget!

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