Fireside tales – (mostly) without the animals!

Sitting round the campfire and swapping tales is one of the highlights of any safari. While wildlife is inevitably the major focus of such a trip, a safari will usually also include other memorable events, such as encounters with local people, wonderful walks, amazing landscapes etc. So here we recount some of the special experiences Tribes’ customers have enjoyed during their African adventures that (largely) didn’t involve wildlife…

“The clear Kenyan night sky at the Porini Mara Camp was beautiful but the sky came alive with the stargazer talk around the campfire by the camp manager. A wonderful experience especially as we had cloudy skies up till that night.” Alison C – (trip to Kenya)

“From the moment we boarded the little airplane from Maun the excitement began. I loved the flight over the Okavango Delta, we could see the beauty from above and pick out the animals, so special. After our first game drive we arrived back at the Lodge to be greeted by the staff and some wonderful African singing and dancing, what a fabulous way to enjoy our first evening. My son and I particularly enjoyed the walking safari; amazing to be in the wilderness on our own with just our guide and driver. Finally, our last experience was going out into the waters of the Delta, Wow! We were watched by a family of hippos just a few feet away! It was so peaceful and so stunning there and the birds and water plants were just beautiful, I’ve run out of superlatives…”

Diane Soames – (trip to Botswana)

“The local people we met and saw on our travels welcomed us with open arms and huge smiles. It was incredibly touching. We learnt so much about the wildlife and felt privileged to be guided by such well-informed guides who understood these animals and enabled us to feel at one with their environment. At Elephant Top Camp we walked with the warriors to the hill top with the sun setting on one side and the full moon rising on the other. We were met by our guide and welcomed with drinks and a fire. The warriors danced and sang their tribal chants as we watched and then joined in. It was a true honour to be in their presence. We loved this and will hold this memory close to our hearts.”

Susan Mathew – (family trip to Kenya)

“To wake up with a full view of the ocean, with canoes and dhows drifting past, was truly glorious. Just wandering along the path accompanied by butterflies, strolling on the beach and lazing on the day bed or hammock was about as much activity as we felt was necessary. We were treated to a star-lit dinner on the beach to celebrate our anniversary, surrounded by candles in hearts drawn in the sand.”

Liz & Dave Milway – (trip to Tanzania)

“Posing for photos with Maasai in my Maasai blanket, which I wore when I washed my one and only set of clothes after my suitcase did not arrive with me on safari… coffee with the owner of Livingstone’s cafe (where Livingstone and other explorers stayed) in Stonetown, near the sea in beautiful, balmy weather… New Year’s Eve in the roof top restaurant of Swahili House with church bells ringing, and ships’ sirens sounding… lunch under an acacia in the middle of the Serengeti with NO ONE around… the quiet, the warm breeze, the peace.”

Bronwen Gill – (trip to Tanzania)

“The colours were amazing – from the balloon trip sunrise, through the superb starlings and many other birds, the Maasai costumes, right to the sunset at the end of the day.”

Imogen Stewart – (trip to Kenya)

“Throughout there was the backdrop of unforgettable scenery seen from those little planes – including having giraffe on the runaway necessitating a second approach – and from the cars, from underwater, when stopping in the bush for meals, by the campfires, from the safari rooms.” Georgina Geernaert – (trip to Tanzania)

“One of the best ‘non-animal’ experiences came when we were driven to the airstrip near Porini Amboseli camp to catch a plane to Nairobi. The airstrip was just a bit of bush that had been cleared, the plane was a small 6-seater, and one of us got to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. The children loved it. ” Anna Economides – (trip to Kenya)

“I was hoping and expecting that the holiday would be interesting and even exciting (which it was) but I wasn’t expecting it to be so relaxing. There were loads of moments when I felt completely calm and relaxed in the spectacular natural environment. The fact that every Zambian and Malawian we met was ready with a smile and a joke greatly helped. Lovely people.” Timothy Connolly – (trip to Zambia and Malawi)

“Delicious local food served in a wonderful setting high on a balcony overlooking the lake or down by the campfire in candlelight. Or lunch on the boat in the lake surrounded by hippos and crocodiles. A walking safari ending up with the most amazing breakfast or drinks watching the sunset.” A McCreery – (trip to Tanzania)

 

“I saw some amazing sights, getting to see all that I expected and more besides, but the thing that I will never forget is the warm, friendly hospitality of the staff. I loved the Zambian sense of humour and the people were always trying to fulfil your wishes.”

Geoffrey Gamble – (trip to Zambia)

“The highlights for us were the boat safaris at Mvuu. A peaceful way to see so much wildlife, especially the birds, and enjoy the wonderful views of the rivers and mountains in the distance and the big African skies.”

Joy Longmuir – (trip to Malawi)

 “We loved ziplining and a sunset cruise and canoe trip on the Zambezi river. A last-minute addition was hiking up to the first base camp at Mt Kilimanjaro. The people we met in Tanzania, were some of the most friendly and enjoyable people you could ever meet!”

Kimberly Robinette – (trip to Tanzania and Zimbabwe)

 

“Tracking lion prints through the bush with the reassurance of an excellent guide from the camp and an armed ranger from the National Parks service – and someone bringing up the rear with our morning tea and biscuits!”

Lucy McKenzie – (trip to Zambia)

 

“We would walk to the other side of the island after breakfast to a tiny beach where we would be all alone to swim in the warm sea, listening to the fish eagles and watching the kingfishers. We had a lovely massage in the best situation ever on the banks of the Luangwa River listening to the hippos chatting to each other.” Dr Caroline Russell – (trip to Zambia)

“It was very humbling having Phillip, the head keeper at Umani Springs Stockade thanking us for coming and supporting the Sheldrick organisation as, without all the supporters from around the world, he and the other keepers would not be able to do their jobs. Emanuel at Ithumba also thanked us profusely for our support. Not only do the supporters/foster parents of the ellies keep the orphanages going, but they also help the native wildlife due to the water holes that the Sheldrick organisation keep full with water.  Being able to chat to the keepers and be with them while they work and watch the elephants at the water holes and mud wallows was just AMAZING and so special.” Susan Bailey – (trip to Kenya)

“Our guide, Nkosi, was superb. He must have grown out of the very earth of Africa such was the depth and variety of his knowledge. His love for his country, the wildlife and flora in it, and his joy at imparting his wisdom shone through. It was a real privilege to share his insights and to watch him interact with wildlife to give us the best possible experiences. A talented photographer himself, he was able to place us in the best possible locations for photographs, whilst at all times respecting the needs of the wildlife. He drove us around with skill, responsibility and concern for our comfort and welfare through some very challenging situations.” Jane Simpson – (trip to Botswana)

“The companionship of my fellow ‘van’ travellers plus campfire drinks and other colourful characters. Breakfasts round a revived campfire with a kettle steaming on its embers and a cauldron of porridge keeping warm. Waking up to a full silver moon beaming in, shimmering across the Kafue River. One evening I was particularly awe struck at being able to see the sun set and the moon rise, one to my right the other to my left, both at the same time. Showering outside beneath a still star-studded sky in the moonlight before leaving for home.” Ruth Samways – (trip to Zambia)

“Seeing Kilimanjaro from the plane. People carrying massive bunches of bananas on their heads with perfect balance. Three people – barefoot, with no helmets – riding pillion on a motorbike ‘taxi’. The drive from Tarangire to Manyara through villages where all the children called and waved (and were very grateful for biscuits – hope they have good dentists) and realising this was effectively the Garden of Eden – didn’t see Adam, Eve or any snakes though.” Dr Robert Climie – (trip to Tanzania)

If we’ve whetted your appetite to take an African adventure and discover your own fireside tales, we’d be delighted to help you plan your trip!

We can tailor-make it specifically for you – but here are some trip ideas to get you thinking…

And here are some experiences that could make a holiday extra-special…

Karen Coe

When she's not writing about things Tribes Travel-related Karen is writing about her other great love - historic motorsport. She's also exceptionally fond of dogs, including Tribes' resident canine Finn, though she doesn't usually write about them.