David and I visited the Kalagadi National Park in January where we were treated to steamy weather which necessitated showering at least three times a day to cool down. At one of the splendid bush camps David whispered that I was showering with a lion who with his brother sauntered past our reed walls taking no notice of anything but the waterhole and the animals surrounding it.
The Kalahari lions are enormous and easily walk back-high to our windows. If I had been a foolish foreigner with no bush sense I might have been tempted to pat their backs as they strolled past. We saw leopard and cheetah as well as a badger playing with a tortoise and rolling in the dust.
We enjoy the Kalagadi for the unsual sightings and have already booked for another return trip in January 2016.
But let us talk about Kenya and the Masai Mara. Every time we go (and this was our 10th visit) we experience something remarkable. Not always many crossings, but we have observed leopard digging jackal pups out of the den, Martial eagles swooping down to catch a jackal pup and of course where there are crossings, there are predators. Of course the preditors are on the plains all the time - but they come into their own at the migration.
This was our best year ever. It seems as if the animals were celebrating our 10th annual visit in grand style.
Our special friend and driver Benson, welcomed us together with the staff of Kichwa Tembo and took us for a drive on the first afternoon we arrived. We saw the big 5 in 3 hours.
We viewed the migration in it's magnificence and I confess after sitting at a magnificent spot for three hours watching the animals crossing the Mara River we were heard to say 'ENOUGH'. We found a spot under a tree for lunch, stretched our legs and of course, returned to the river again to watch crocs doing what crocs do (and really not very well - only 5 mortalities in hundreds and thousands of animals) and wonder at the sheer number of animals who canter through the grass on their annual migration.
We continue to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of this natural wonder and will return year after year. A friend of mine wished me a G&T with Robert Redford. I had coffee with the wildebeest and that was wonderment enough for me.
The animals only arrived a day before we did and while we waited for the right moment we were treated to cheetah and lions, giraffe and jackal pups and then there were the birds.... Nature was kind to us and our guests.
Thank you Masai Mara and Kichwa Tembo. We look forward to another visit in 2016.
Africa really can't get better than this.