- – I want to live over there! Achille, 9 years old, radiant with excitement.
- – Over there where? I asked him.
- – In South Africa, Mum. With lions, and elephants and hippos… I...
After our exploration of the iSimangaliso National Park and the spectacular Blyde River Canyon Reserve in the first episode, our South African adventure, organised by The Voyageurs Collection, continues.A few hours drive and the smell of animals is omnipresent. We are in their home here.Nature, and nature alone, reigns supreme. You begin to distinguish their sounds, their movements in the distance. We are totally immersed as we arrive in the immensity of the Kruger National Park – it’s a territory the size of Belgium! More precisely, in the Manyeleti reserve, where we are preparing to settle down in a well-equipped tent. We will be staying here for several days, sheltered by its khaki colours, where a concrete floor is a luxury in its simplicity. Indeed, here, we don’t need anything more. No one is allowed out without the guards’ permission. We’re not joking! Here, on the savannah the roles are reversed. Here, the animals are the kings! They are the ones who make the rules. The safari is organised around their lives. So the days are arranged to follow the sun. We wake at dawn, take a nap in the heat of the day, and, finally, venture out as night falls. To give us the chance to see one of Their Majesties – lions, giraffes, elephants – a treasure hunt is organised. Following the prey, their footprints or their droppings: each of our guides have their own technique. And it’s just as well; otherwise, we could go for hours without seeing anything! After several days of searching (in vain) for one of the “Big Five”, we take a moment to rest and relax. Then, while we are swimming in our camp, attracted by the sound of the water, a first elephant arrives… followed by a second, and then a third! A complete family comes to mingle with ours, and we’re astonished to share a moment suspended in time with these large mammals, so endearing, that the rangers are trying to protect from human stupidity. After this impromptu visit, they will become one of our landmarks on the plains until we, in turn, leave their land.
The Voyageurs Collection is a member of ATR – an organisation that is Acting for Responsible Tourism – and is currently in the process of being certified by ECOCERT.
Photography: Constance Gennari @thesocialitefamily