And honestly, who wouldn’t be? The bush is teeming with life, and we saw the Big Five in just two game drives: three leopard, five cheetah, four lionesses and a male lion (whose name happens to be Marvin – no one knows why!) and herds of buffalo and elephant. Not that this happens every time, you understand; but the experienced trackers and rangers are so attuned to what’s happening in the bush that their best guesses usually take you straight to some unforgettable sight.
We spent two nights at the wonderfully private tented camp Nkelenga, which is unique in that it’s self-catering and you can book the entire camp for your family or guests. The camp is a home-from-home for up to nine people and has a fridge, freezer and open-fire area overlooking a large waterhole, so you can eat outdoors or in the comfortable dining room, or even on the terrace.
I pity game-watchers who think the bush is all about the Big Five, and having twitcher Rosemary Renton along with us on our trip was really enriching, as she identified many bird calls for us. She brought her books along with her and we soon found ourselves poring over them, trying to identify some lesser-known winged creatures.
At night, as we sat around the campfire, we heard the coughing grunt of a lion somewhere close by; surrounded by just a fence, the small camp is in the heart of the wild, which makes it really special.
As a massive thunderstorm broke on our last night there, and as we watched sheet lightning flicker over the waterhole, we again heard the lion as if just outside our luxury tent. It was one of those primal moments for which everyone heads to the bush, and we were thrilled and terrified at the same time.