As the years go by I notice many changes in the safari business…and it has been many years! Some of the changes are good and some…not so much.
Wifi is an interesting one. A lot of the safari camps and lodges now have Wifi and it has amazed me how quickly we ALL come to expect it. It has amazed me how some of our remote camps manage to get Wifi at all. And it has amazed me how quickly I become grumpy when it doesn’t work!
Seriously, it’s a miracle we get any kind of connection. So, note to self – when it goes off, be patient. And to be honest, I think I get more irate than my guests!
But really what I was thinking about today while driving around was the bigger change that’s happened over the years. I feel that it used to be that we went on safari for the sake of doing a safari. A safari meant tents, camps, a bit of sweat, not too much ice, no airconditioning, no communication with the outside world and yes, that’s right, a bit of sweat…Africa gets hot at times. But that made that shower at the end of the day all the more appreciated.
The camps were really just that – camps. Now we have lodges that are essentially boutique hotels and boy, do I enjoy them! But I also really love our traditional camps and we still have some to mix in with the boutique lodges.
Our proper safari camps have all the comforts you would need…big good comfortable tents, big good comfortable beds, good lighting, fantastic showers any time of the day, delicious food, and best of all…they are PRIVATE. Just your party. Nobody else but your family and our wonderful staff.
In my view, there is no better experience in the world. And to make it even better, we have these private camps on private concessions!
Right now I am sitting in the lounge tent at Mbono Camp, we have the whole camp to ourselves and we have the entire concession to ourselves. It is that amazing time of year where the water is rapidly drying up the rain has not quite started yet. I have never seen so many Buffalo on a safari. This morning we saw a herd of what had to be 400 Buffalo running across a huge plain.
We also saw a Lioness chase a family of Warthogs across the road in front of us. Yesterday we found a Crocodile in the remains of a waterhole…just mud; where he had all but buried himself. Being a private area, we were able to get out of the car and walk down and have a closer look.
In this world of globalization where everything is becoming generic, where the hotels in London, Paris and Milan are differentiated only by the outside decor, there is something magical about being in a safari camp. There is a rich and long history to safaris, they are not tours, they are safaris which are different to any other form of travel…and if you would just allow them to, your safaris will change your life!
It is a unique and special experience when you can actually hear the elephant at the waterhole. Where you can really hear the Lion’s roar. Where you need to use your flashlight when you walk from the dining area to bed at night. So, on your next safari, be sure to mix those boutique lodges in with a couple of good honest safari camps.
We need to enjoy both!