Welcome to the Turquoise Travel Diaries, a collection of interviews, stories, and excerpts from our fabulous team, as they travel around the world. Here at Turquoise, we pride ourselves on unrivalled knowledge of the destinations in which we specialise, so that we can provide honest, expert advice to all our guests and fellow travellers. This week, we’re featuring a guest blog from Anna Mitchell, who has just returned from a safari in South Africa, followed by some downtime in Mozambique.
Situated in the private Makalali Conservancy, Garonga Safari Camp is the perfect place for a safari. Speaking as a prior safari novice, it was a truly amazing and unique experience and one that I’ll never forget. Seeing the wildlife up close was unbelievable and nothing like what I had imagined. Seeing lions, my favourite animals, was the most impressive sight for me. The thrill of being in the presence of animals of such power and danger makes for such an exhilarating experience. These wonderful adventures meant rising in the early hours of the morning wasn’t difficult at all!
We were joined by the same ranger on game drives every morning and evening, which meant there became a strong bond between us. Louis, our guide, was bursting with knowledge, not only about the game and vegetation but he even taught us how to use the stars to find our way back to the lodge! Seeing baby zebras and black rhinos, as well as several cheetahs within metres of our jeep can be described as nothing other than simply surreal. On one of our final days, a meal among the bush topped off our game drive, which I can say, hands down, is the most unusual setting I’ve ever had for lunch – something I will probably never get the pleasure of doing again.
The safari camp is also a great place to sit back and relax among the vast vegetation and game in the surrounding bush. Each evening, the few guests staying at the camp gather round the fire pit, sharing their experiences with one another, which made for a positively intimate experience. Within minutes of arriving, we were surrounded by vervet monkeys and springbok and that meant walking to and from our villa each day all the more exciting!
This retreat is perfect for those of us who rely too much on our mobile phones, which seems to be most people in the 21st century! It forces you to remove yourself from all things technology related, allowing children to experience everything first-hand and be at one with nature. Additionally, Garonga is very eco-friendly, presenting each guest with a reusable water bottle upon arrival and relying heavily on solar power. One unexpected highlight of the trip was seeing Mount Kilimanjaro through one of the several plane journeys – something I never expected to see in such close proximity.
In vast contrast to our time on safari, our following stay in Mozambique was also mesmerising but for different reasons. The tropical bird sounds, among the other wildlife, made for a blissful and calming atmosphere while basking on the white sands of Bazaruto Island. After one night, you’ll struggle to come to terms with have to leave this magnificent paradise!
For any wildlife enthusiasts, I would highly recommend the extraordinary humpback whale excursion. Luckily, my family and I witnessed humpback whales soaring among the waves on several occasions.
This was followed by a picnic on a remote island with no one else in sight. It was isolated, but beautifully so! We finished the day trip with some snorkelling not even a five-minute boat ride from the island, where I saw clownfish and lots of other marine life. It was the perfect family trip!
Ending our adventure with a relaxing beach hotel meant we ended the holiday feeling refreshed, so I would definitely recommend the combination of a safari with a beach resort.