Savuti Camp- Linyanti Reserve, Botswana
Next stop was Savuti Camp, again a Wilderness Camp, on the Linyanti Reserve ( northwest corner of Botswana). Savuti Camp is a wilderness area destination, far from the crowds and along the northern borders of this sandy, thorn-tree country. This is the northern most reach of the Linyanti river system, which in most years has been a barren, grassy gully. Four years ago, the water from the main river 17km’s away reached this and flowed down it creating a lifeline for the wildlife that has learnt to live in this harsh and forbidding zone. The result is a wildlife experience with a difference, and game drives are never sure what they will find. Tents were large and comfortable. Staff was outstanding; so friendly and happy to see us. They greeted us at the entrance with a song and dance, along with a wonderful bar and snacks. Love those gin and tonics out in the bush!!
Savuti is famous for it’s enormous elephant population. In dry season, one can see four to five hundred elephants at one time.
Vumbura Plains- Okavango Delta, Botswana
Vumbra Plains is one of Wilderness resorts’ premier properties. Each of the suites has been constructed with a totally private view of the delta floodplains, and are shaded by ancient, tall Jackalberry trees. The rooms are all open-plan in design and have a sunken lounge, spacious bedroom, over-large shower (in-door and outside too), dressing area and writing desk. The outside decks have a comfortable sala, with large comfy cushions to snooze on and of course a small plunge pool for those torridly hot days! There is 24 hour electricity and bed lights for those comfy evenings with a book just before going to sleep in spacious softness, with percale sheets and duvets. In the winter months, a hot-blanket or a hot water-bottle are available. These cabins are a luxury indeed. All of the suites are linked to the main lodge by a raised wooden walkway at the back of the suites that allows the hippo and other game unobstructed access to the river, and allows safe access for guests too. The main lodge with a large fronted service area is spacious, has a dining area, a lounge and a seating area that is slightly separate from the main lounge.
A birdwatcher’s dream, one can sit out on their private deck and be totally entertained.
We took small boats down the river late one afternoon and had sundowners on the boats all tied together. Sunsets in Africa are unforgettable.
Game drives were terrific-hippos, lions, giraffe , elephant, Kudu, Oryx, ending with an incredible leopard sighting. I really hated to leave Vumbra Plains after a very short two days.
Jack’s has no electricity after 5PM so when we returned to our tents for bed, we had lanterns. An interesting experience for me, I had never turned on a lantern, and when I move it it immediately went out- plummeting me in complete blackness. Fortunately I could put my hands on the trusty flashlight that Africa Inscribed had supplied us, ran out waving it, and got one of the staff to teach me the ins and outs of lighting and shutting down a lantern. Another new skill.
Next morning I was awakened by a lion’s roar- what a wakeup call!!
Game drive and bush breakfast were in store. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day. Then we hopped back on our lovely PC12 and flew off to Vumbra Plains
An afternoon with the Bushmen- Jack’s Camp, Botswana
We had the pleasure of taking a walk with the local bushmen. Some the new skills we learned were eating sour berries, catching small wildlife with a stick trap, and cleaning a scorpion’s eyes. As the sun was setting, the tribe went into a trance dance in a circle around a fire. A totaling memorizing experience, it depends on the tribal chief’s mood. He and 2 elders dance around a fire with the tribal ladies chanting. He works himself into a trance, contacting his ancestors. Watching the fire, under a canopy of endless stars, with the dancing and chanting is an experience I will never forget.
Traveling through Burma
We have landed in the Inle Lake area of Burma. It is like traveling back to a very simple time. We see farmers plowing their fields with cows, horse and buggies used for transport. Inle lake is in the center eastern part of the country. A very fertile area, Inle lake is a shallow lake that is the agricultural heart of Burma. Hundred of floating islands of tomatoes and other vegetables. We flew to Heho, and then took a bus and boat to our hotel, the Inle Princess. Beautiful and very peaceful. Right out of George Orwell’s “Burmese Days”.
Today we are taking the longboats to a tribal market.
Recipes from the Road: Singita Grumeti Sasakwa
Probably the finest resort in East Africa, Singita Sasakwa is unrivaled in elegance.
Patterned after an English Manor House, Sasakwa sits over the Grumeti Plain offering magnificent views of game below.
Top Hotels in Southern Chile
Glaciers, glaciers, glaciers!
I saw my first group of Glaciers today, what a thrill. The color of that ice is really gorgeous. The blue come from the minerals in the water. It is not photoshopped. We took speedboats to see Fiords in the region near Torres del Paine National Park. The color of the water changes from silver to turquoise to an amazing deep blue. The color depends on the amount of silt that washes down with the glacier runoff. This part of the world is simply breathtaking, photographs simply cannot do it justice.
The bottom of the world
The bottom of the world
Remote, majestic, untouched, wind blown pampas, big sky, spectacular, unspoiled, pictures can’t capture the majic – all these words came to mind as I traveled to Punta Natalas. We are staying at the brand new Singular hotel at the bottom of the world. Activities include trekking on glaciers, hiking to the Torres del Paine National park, fishing, speed boating through the fiords, biking, horseback riding, and or bird watching in some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever experienced!
Packing and planning for Chile: Patagonia and Santiago
I am starting to pack for my first trip to Chile. I am really looking forward to it! The itinerary calls for lots of hiking activities and I can’t wait. I am so interested in the Torres del Paine National Park and we will be able to view up close and personal the Paine Massif. We fly into Santiago and then immediately fly to Puntas Arenas in Southern Chile. We will be staying at the Singular Patagonia. http://thesingular.com/puertobories-en
It is an old cold storage plant remade into a first class hotel. They offer 19 activty experiences from hiking to biking, horseback riding, sailing, birdwatching. Levels are easy to expert. I am deciding between trekking to the base of Torres del Paine, glacier trekking the Mirador Glacier grey, sailing around the Patagonia Fjords: Serrano and Balmaceda Glaciers, Lago Azul or a visit to Shotel Aike wetlands. We only have two full days to get in activities and each one take a whole day, so I have to choose wisely! My paperwork says I will only need my passport, hiking boots, camera and a light backpack.
Less is more. Ha ha….
A good comment from Dylan Harriss of Africa Inscribed, about choosing a camp in the Maasai Mara
I think the most important thing when choosing a property in the Mara is it must be on a concession within the park….this will allow good game viewing with limited vehicles around as well as having the option of going into the actual reserve should the guests want. We really like Mara Plains and Cottars for this reason.
Olonana Masai Mara- one of my favorite camps in Kenya. View from Tent # 3 deck
Sirikoi living room
Fabulous stables at Singita Saskwa Tanzania. You should see the Tack room!
Site visit to Amangiri in Utah- Wow!!
I was invited to visit the new Amangiri while I attended the Virtuoso Conference in Las Vegas.
What a day! We started by being treated to a helicopter flight to the bottom of the Grand Canyon by Papillion Air. They are the ones that you want to contract for a helicopter excursion to see the Grand Canyon. Wow, wow, wow is all I can say!!! Upon landing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Aman Resorts hostesses brought out the Champagne!! Veuve Clicquot no less- I love that orange lable! Nothing short about those cute girls! We then flew on the the fabulous Amangiri Resort. We got to look at all the amazing rooms, suites and Spa. They are set up in the middle of the most gorgeous and emormous boulders in the desert. The most amazing views I have seen in a while. Most guests say that they did not stay long enough. There is so much to do. Boasting one of the most dramatic landscapes in the USA with deep canyons and towering plateaus, the region has been home for centuries to the native Navajo and Hopi tribes yet is sparsely populated and presents the raw landscape for which the American Southwest has become famous. Activities include
treks, guided hikes and biking
Amangiri guests may enjoy treks and guided hikes, customised rock climbing, via ferrata (fixed climbing routes) and canyoneering, as well as recreational and advanced biking. Our expert team of guides can teach guests the basics of GPS navigation, map reading, rope techniques and desert travel, as well as providing an introduction to the ecology, geology and human history of the area. For guests who are interested in a more in-depth study of this diverse environment, Amangiri will arrange for expert scientists, geologists and naturalists from the region to be available for tours and lectures.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, with the pristine waters of Lake Powell, slickrock domes and sandy bays, provides access to some of the most amazing scenery and geological formations on the Colorado Plateau, as well as numerous prehistoric cliff dwelling and rock art sites. Named in honour of Civil War veteran and explorer John Wesley Powell, the lake has almost 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) of shoreline. Boating day trips provide the ideal platform for enjoyment of the turquoise waters where guests may swim and kayak. For those who enjoy fishing, the lake is famous for its striped bass, walleye and largemouth bass.
Guests may also experience the history and culture of the region with Amangiri’s natural history, palaeontology and archaeological tours which provide insight into species diversity, prehistoric occupation, Navajo storytelling, culture and art.
From hot air ballooning and scenic helicopter or fixed wing flights to equestrian adventures departing directly from the resort, guests have a unique opportunity to experience the area’s sweeping landscape, canyons, peaks and mesas.
Amangiri is the ideal launching pad to enjoy customised National Park and Monument Tours to the Grand Canyon’s North and South Rims, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase – Escalante, Vermillion Cliffs National Monuments and Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation – the largest Native American Nation in the US covering over 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles).
I am quoting their website. http://www.amanresorts.com/amangiri/home.aspx
I am definately going back when I can really stay and explore the area.
Unbelievable Elephant Experience!
Exquisite Asian Flowers!
The flowers here are so exquisite that I am thinking of planning a Garden Tour! Let me know if you are interested.
More on the magnificent Balinese hotels …
In spite of the ever growing traffic, and development, Bali still has that indefinable magic. The Balinese are still so happy to see us, the hotels are still amazing, the temples are still thriving, great restaurants are growing in number. Craftsmanship is incredible. Bali is one of the best places in the world to shop. For five star hotels, Amandari, Amankila, Amanusa, Four Seasons Sayan, Jimbaran and Bulgari are going strong. The most pleasant surprise was the Bulgari Uluwatu. Very glamorous really beautiful hotel. The bathtub was bigger than most hotel’s plunge pools. In the more moderate range was the Chedi Club- delightful, Uma- with a more health oriented clientel in Ubud, and the Legian Club in Seminyak. In a differnet category, the Tugu- chock full of antiques and more traditional, in Canguu.
I hated to leave.
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Favorite Photos from India
I have downloaded some of my very favorite pictures from India to Picasa. You may access them through this web address:
The last day …
For the last afternoon game drive at Ranthambore only Martha Gaughan,
Suhail and I visited the park. The rest of the girls stayed at
Vanyavilas. Upon entering the second gate to the park, we had the privilege of meeting Salim’s father who was Fateh Singh Rathore’s driver( the 1st
director of Ranthambore National park). Salim’s father drove Fateh
Singh Rathore for 30 years, and they photographed tigers for 8 books.
As I wrote in the last blog, Salim’s father looked at us and said”the
tigress awaits”. Which of course threw us into a fit of excitement.
True to his word and because Salim is such an instinctive guide, we
saw a rare happening- a tiger charging a Shambar deer!
THEN we followed the tiger(who missed the deer) 2 more times and that
video is also amazing.
India … Highlights so far!
Mahua Kothi and Tiger video
We are at the third camp Mahua Kothi. Very very good camp.