An early start for a car-hire team who didn't arrive. Breakfast in the original 1940s wing of the guesthouse - period flagstone floors and fittings. Collected at 11am for the transfer to Shamwari. Crossed forests and rivers into bushland to arrive in pure and unadulterated luxury at lunchtime. Welcome drink of homemade iced tea on arrival in glorious sunshine. Tour of the small and perfectly formed Bayethe (pronounced Bay-Yet-Tee) Lodge. Lunch of a three-course menu of salad, fishcakes and gateau overlooking a waterhole to watch warthogs and various bushbucks drinking in the heat.
Chatted with two couples at lunchtime - one on their 25th wedding anniversary from the same area of Southern Ireland that my father hails from (coincidences!) and one a lovely pair on honeymoon from Dublin who would be sharing our safari truck later.
Our sitting room in our tent, complete with complimentary wine and welcome message...
An hour of shower, plunge pool and reading then tea and cake to line our tummies for safari.
One happy honeymooner - I could no longer feel my teeth from grinning at 30mph along dirt tracks in an open sided jeep!
Closest of close encounters with a 'unit' of elephants: six actually sniffing the Land Cruiser. Incredible. Then on to see Black Backed Jackals, zebras, various bucks and birds.
Sundowners of wine and nibbles (or any cocktail that took your fancy!) overlooking a staggering vista of valleys and hills.
Posed for dinner at 8pm now. Talk of a day-long drive tomorrow and picnic away on our travels to be prepared by the kitchen. Would be wonderful... We returned to our room after the safari to find a personal message on the bed, flower, leaves, chocolates and our bed turned down. I could get used to five star living.
Our guide Jamie is incredibly knowledgeable and has a great sense of humour. He is just perfect and so much fun to be around as well as satisfying my innate 'teacher's pet' gene that has me answering questions in excited tones!
Now... what will dinner hold for us??
SCRUMPTIOUS! Dinner of Impala for the Boy and fish for me, with springbok spring rolls to start. Chocolate brownie for pudding and stayed up til gone 1am chatting to lovely Dubliners. So looking forward to our day in the bush tomorrow.
Now, about that turned down bed...