Countdown to Africa - three sleeps until takeoff!

Today is FRI-YAY! Not only is it Friday, and the kick-off to the weekend (which is exciting in itself), but it was also the last WORK day before I head to Africa on Monday! It is starting to feel real, y'all!

We left off leaving Johannesburg (check the prior blog post) and heading to Maun, Botswana to the first of our two tented safari camps. Once in Maun, we'll take a quick bush flight to an airstrip closer to our camp. It is not uncommon to see animals from the air, and have to hold off on landing due to elephants (or other animals) on the landing strip.

Photo: Machaba Camp

Photo: Machaba Camp

We dropped our new friends off at the air strip for their bush flight, from our 2015 trip.

We dropped our new friends off at the air strip for their bush flight, from our 2015 trip.

We had the pleasure of staying at Machaba Safari Camp during our 2015 Africa trip and are excited to get back there this trip. Machaba is situated in the Okavango Delta. The scale and magnificence of the Okavango Delta helped it secure a position as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in 2013.

Where's the Okavango Delta in Africa?

Where's the Okavango Delta in Africa?

Now, we head to camp...and by "camp" I do not mean that we're pitching a tent and finding a bush when we have to "go". Machaba Camp is a 2016 World Luxury Hotel Award winner, and has several other awards under their belt. The camp boasts 10 luxury tents and holds up to 24 people. Our group, at 17 people, will "take over" the camp in its entirety. This camp has all the bells and whistles. Electricity is run on a hybrid system - solar and generator. So, although we're out in the middle of the delta, we'll feel all the comforts of home. Machaba also has a swimming pool, library, main tented area with fire pit, and spa therapist! This is my kind of camping!

Photo: Machaba Camp Main tented area on the river.

Photo: Machaba Camp

Main tented area on the river.

Photo: Machaba Camp Luxury tented room.

Photo: Machaba Camp

Luxury tented room.

Tent front porch with elephants in view.

Now that we're here, what is there to do? Plenty! Here's what a day at Machaba is like:

05h30    Wake up call at the room
06h00    Light breakfast in the main area
06h30    Depart for your morning activity: game drive, nature walk, mokoro (type of canoe) 
10h30     Return from morning activity
11h00      Brunch

Afternoon at leisure – possible activities: Swimming pool, curio shop, spa

15h30     Afternoon tea
16h00     Depart on afternoon game drive
19h30     Return from game drive
20h00    Dinner under the stars (weather permitting)

After dinner: optional night drive

During the game drives, it is aways your hope to see one of Africa's "Big Five" - African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. We saw all but the rhinoceros on our 2015 trip, so I am looking forward to making sure we see the rhino this trip. My parents are in South Africa now and have reported they had a rhino sighting! I was super excited for them, but jealous at the same time. ha! 

Game drives are so amazing. It is a hard experience to describe, really. There is nothing like it and until you experience it for yourself, you just won't know. Cheers to all my safari club members who know what I'm talking about!

Safari Land Rover

Safari Land Rover

Enjoying a "sundowner" and snacks with elephants in the background on our first game drive in 2015.

Enjoying a "sundowner" and snacks with elephants in the background on our first game drive in 2015.

During the game drives, you will see some of the most amazing scenery and most beautiful animals in their natural habitat. You'll see the sun rise in the morning over the river at the camp, and quite possibly start the day with elephants right outside your front door (like my front porch picture above), and you'll watch the sun set in the evening with Zebra or Impala dancing through the most beautiful sunset colors you've ever experienced! If you're lucky, in between you will see a plethora of animals including lion, elephant, warthog, kudu, and much more!

Our first lion sighting was Tomohawk and one of his ladies.

Our first lion sighting was Tomohawk and one of his ladies.

In addition to the game drives, I am looking forward to another mokoro ride down the river. Mokoro are like canoe and use to be made by hollowing out the inside of a tree trunk.

Mokoro ride! Beautiful scenery and so calming to be on the water.

Mokoro ride! Beautiful scenery and so calming to be on the water.

After our time at Machaba camp, we'll be heading to Meno a Kwena another tented safari camp. It will be the first time any of us have visited this particular camp, however looking at their website and Facebook page, I know we won't be disappointed. I am looking forward to sharing my experience at Meno with you all when I return!

I plan on logging on one more time before we depart on Monday to give you a peek into what we'll be doing while we're in Zambia / Zimbabwe, the second half of our trip. Our itinerary is jammed full of amazing activities!

Until then, you can follow me on Instagram @Clt_queencity!