Is Africa on YOUR Bucket List?

I really have to share this! I was recently honored by an invitation to represent my favorite African safari company, Ntaba Tours Africa as an NTABA AGENT. It seems fitting to share a blog I posted last year about South Africa…with some of my favorite photographs. I hope you enjoy! And know that, with the help of the good folks at NTABA, the details of your adventure will be planned with the utmost care and expertise! I LOVE my job!

Lucky me!  I have had the pleasure of visiting this amazing land not once, but twice. The first was with a travel agent friend and his group of 21 in May 2010. On that trip, we split time in Cape Town and the private reserve outside of Kruger National Park  called Thorny Bush. The second was in May of 2011 with South African Tourism, as an invited travel  professional. Johannesburg, Cape Town and Kruger proper was the itinerary.

Words cannot describe this beautiful land like photographs do. As a young girl, I was always fascinated by the wildlife photos in National Geographic from South Africa.  I took thousands while exploring, and the experiences I had were countless. Some of my most memorable moments include the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and the visit to Soweto to see the house whereNelson Mandela‘s family lived while he was incarcerated. The views of the landscape from the plane en route to Cape Town.  The amazing gondola ride up to heavenly views from Table Mountain. The bus tour of the Cape Peninsulaand the baboon mother with baby sitting in the parking lot posing for movies and photos. Views from the lighthouse at Cape of Good Hope. The boat trip out to the island where Mandela was imprisoned. The wonderful wines in the wine country near Cape Town. And no South Africa list of must-sees would be complete without mentioning safari!

Kruger National Park is located in the northeast corner of the country…and accessible by air in several locations. The park is massive at 2 million hectares (1hectare+about 2.5 acres). Lodging here is plentiful, but with a wide variety of “cushiness”, from basic camps and tents to luxury resorts. The private reserves allow off-road tracking so we could follow an elusive leopard for a bit, complete with the extended belly of a recent kill.  The “BIG FIVE” are here, lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros, so named due to their difficulty in being hunted on foot.

Bird-watching is not a very active sport. You might not expect hyperactive me to have a soft spot for these creatures, but one of my most spiritual moments in Thorny Bush was when we spotted (and I grabbed a good photo of) the incredibly colorful Lilac-breasted Roller. I think you will agree, it is a stunning species. If only I could have gotten “Chatty Cathy” to stop talking for a moment so I could have heard it’s call. I wanted to stuff a sock in it! Ha.

South Africa: More Affordable Than You Think!

So you have been waiting for the bottom line economics, right? I know that for most Americans, leaving the country for more than 7 nights is tough, though I recommend you do for this trip if you can. I did both of these trips in 7…6 nights hotels and one night spent in the jet. Yup, the flight is rough for the restless, but I made the best of it by sitting on an aisle and watching four movies and taking three long naps. You can get the air, depending on time of year, for about$2,000 (and there really isn’t a BAD time, though I prefer the cooler months, in our spring, summer, or fall). Save those frequent flyer miles! A deluxe guided tour runs about $2-3,000 or so, but can be done for less. And remember that while in camp and on safari, all meals and game drives are included in your price. Now you know that those luxury Caribbean all-inclusive resorts cost an easy $$5-6,000 for two.

As I mentioned above, my favorite South Africa supplier hands down is NTABA TOURS, owned and operated from Frankfort, KY. Rob and Stella Mountain offer several guided trips each year. As former South African residents, they know and love their country and are experienced guides and lovely folks. Ask me about their special personally guided departures. I already have one couple meeting them for the safari in October. Want to join them? 

Experience it for yourself…it might become YOUR most memorable adventure! www.activetravelpro.com 

Peace! Bobbie Rae Murphy

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