Elephants at Mashatu Camp

“Instantly Struck” – Melanie’s First Safari

My first trip to Africa exceeded all of my wildest dreams. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect when Kayla Torgerson and I landed on the large continent for the first time, but I was instantly struck by its organic charm and tranquility. It is not hard to fall in love with this vast land, not only for its beauty but for the humble animals and gracious sense of community in the bush.

Mokoro at Pelo Camp

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Our first stop, Botswana! My first safari was in the Okavango Delta in the Jao Concession at Jao Camp. I was overwhelmed with excitement and couldn’t wait to get in the bush. I was patiently waiting to see absolutely everything Botswana had to offer, but one thing I was itching to see was a lion. Believe it or not, we saw lion on our very first game drive, and they were even mating! It was truly an unforgettable experience and something not all guests get to see. Our time in the Okavango Delta was a short three days at Jao Camp, Tubu Tree and Mombo Camp, but they were some of the best three days of my life. There is something about the land and atmosphere Botswana offers that makes this destination truly unique.

Toka Leya

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia

After Botswana we packed our bags and made our way to Victoria Falls. We spent one night in Zimbabwe at Elephant Camp and one night in Zambia at Toka Leya Camp. Toka Leya is a beautiful property nestled up to the Upper Zambezi River. The camp offers many activities, including rhino tracking! If you are interested in rhino, this is a great activity to learn and get close to these magnificent creatures on foot.

MalaMala

Sabi Sand Game Reserve & Kruger National Park, South Africa

From Zambia, we made our way to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. We spent 4 nights in the bountiful reserve at a few different camps including MalaMala Rattrays, Singita Boulders and Lion Sands River Lodge. Sabi Sand is very well known for its animal sightings. Located adjacent to the Kruger National Park, there are two rivers that run through the private reserve, making it a dynamic area for animals to reside. We also spent one night in Kruger National Park at Lion Sands Narina Lodge. As one of the largest game reserves in South Africa, Kruger features many different unique sightings.

Lion at Mashatu

Tuli Game Reserve, Botswana

To end our amazing trip, Kayla and I went back to Botswana for an additional 2 nights at the well-known Mashatu Tented Camp in Tuli Game Reserve. Our time at Mashatu was the perfect way to conclude my first safari experience; the land and camp are unforgettable. We were able to sit back and relax and soak up all that Africa had taught us throughout our 3-week journey. On our last night, we sat around the Boma enjoying the fabulous freshly-prepared traditional meal and great company with guests from around the world. I already cannot wait to go back!

Kayla and Melanie at Pelo Camp