AFRICA is a continent that holds a special feeling to those who visit, calling many back again to experience more.
This was the case for Kerryn and Michael Buckley of Tatura who had been to Kenya and Tanzania on safari before but wanted to see even more of Africa.
So they joined a hosted tour over 20 days that took them to the gorillas of Rwanda, Botswana and South Africa.
In Rwanda they stayed at the Gorilla Mountain View Lodge from where they started their trek into the Volcano National Park. They climbed and walked on what was described as a short trek. These can sometimes take up to eight hours, but today they were lucky because it was only an hour and a half later that they arrived at their destination.
They saw 12 gorillas, the first being a female out on her own. She started to walk towards them, Kerryn reeling off photos as the gorilla came closer. She brushed past Kerryn, which was a wonderful experience. Next was a mother with a baby. A chance for more photos, while other gorillas were up in the canopy looking on.
They moved on further with the rangers using machetes to cut their way through the brush and then a Silver Back appeared. He was big estimated to be about 25 years old. They were close to him … just a couple of metres away. The rangers have guns but Kerryn felt completely at ease and never felt there was a threat. In all they spent an hour with the gorillas, which was just an amazing experience.
Next they flew to Victoria Falls. They stayed at a lodge with a big waterhole and a view of the animals coming up to drink. It was incredible. There were elephants, crocodiles, impala and birds and was a wonderful experience.
The next day, they took a helicopter flight over the falls and what an amazing sight. When walking close to the falls, the mist is so thick from the cascading water that you have only partial vision, but up high the view is perfect.
Later they visited a lion rehabilitation centre where they walked with the lions. They were four months old and being so close to them was an incredible experience. The lions are looked after until they reach three years old before being released into the wild.
They then flew to Kasane where they camped on the banks of the Chobe River for three nights. They went on game drives each morning and evening and saw lots of game and on a cruise on the Chobe River they saw hippopotamus, elephants, crocodiles and more.
Then it was on to Botswana and Okavango Delta for three nights. They camped in tents with all the ‘mod cons’ right on the banks of the river. Kerryn says once in your tent for the night you had to stay there as hippopotamus wandered through the camp at night and many don’t realise that hippopotamus are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.
The following day on a game drive they came across a leopard in a tree with its kill … an antelope. Kerryn says the game drives were incredible as they saw lots of animals.
They then they flew back to South Africa to stay for four nights in the Kruger National Park. They saw rhinoceros, cheetahs, leopards, hippopotamus, giraffes, elephants, and more. In all they saw the big five; lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo during their game drives in Africa and Kerryn got some great photos.
Finally it was a visit to an elephant sanctuary, which is home to six elephants being looked after for the rest of their lives. Visitors were told the story of the elephants and how they were mistreated but now are cared for. You could touch and pat them and even go for an elephant ride.
All good things must come to an end, it was time to fly home, Kerryn would like to thank Lyn McNaught from Lyn McNaught Helloworld Travel in Mooroopna who hosted the tour. It really gave the whole experience that personal touch, just having Lyn there.
Until next time,