Oh, Camille, I am still in a state of AWE!

My trip was all that I had hoped it could be, and then some! I did enjoy every minute of it. I saw and learned so much, and met some lovely people, who briefly made such an impact on me. Sadly, I won’t be able to see them again… I saw such beauty, enjoyed wonderful weather, missed meeting mosquitos, tasted delicious food, bought fun Christmas gifts, learned about Apartheid, saw rainbows on waterfalls, and looked into the eyes of a lion 4 feet away from me!

The transfers were on time! One was actually 45 minutes early. Unfortunately, I missed the best breakfast in Cape Town at the Parker Cottage! I was the first pick up of the tour group, and that took us over an hour to do. We were on an all-day tour, and the tour did not stop for lunch or even a water break! There was so much to see and do in the District 6, Museum, and Robben Island, and penguins, the guide didn’t want to interrupt the sequence, or leave anything out. He should have had water bottles on the van, or informed people, however. Sometimes there might be people who need to eat, take meds, or drink! He was so enthusiastic, though, and that was important.

All the connections were great. The wheel chair at the Victoria Falls Hotel was very nice. I was truly pampered, as I had a guide, and a “pusher”, and we had a good time, taking pictures together. They were generously tipped. Thank you for making that arrangement. My feet were giving me some issues, and the guides along the way were very kind and considerate.

Mala Mala was indeed what I had hoped for. I actually saw the Big 5 in one morning’s game drive! One evening it rained, and we were not able to stay out past about 5 minutes, but saw the monkeys! Coming back to camp, there were the baboons! Even the small dwarf mongoose, and the dung beetle are so fascinating. What surprised me most was to be so close to the large animals. Having the root canal wiped out my funds to buy a high powered camera. I’m glad I didn’t. It wasn’t needed, being so near! Murray was the Ranger I was assigned, and who was excellent. Having a college degree, and working in other camps to gain experience, and qualify to work in Mala Mala, it seems that Mala Mala is the great goal to attain. A 40 y.o. woman from Switzerland who rode in our Range Rover has been to Mala Mala 5 times! The last 3 times, requesting Murray. She has also been on safari in other places, having mentioned Botswana Wild Safari, tent camping. I feel fortunate to have had Murray. We plowed down through bush to get to sites. He was good at tracking. A Rhino had just been poached before I arrived. we visited the site, and observed the aftermath of lions, then hyenas. To see lions walking along the side of the jeep! To observe a lion see a prey, and then realize it was a leopard who just barely made it up the tree! To see the tall beautiful giraffe nibbling leaves, while looking at you with big eyes and long lashes! To see cape dogs take down a prey, and as they begin to eat, see two hyenas come and grab it away from them. It was explained that it is rare to see cape dogs! To see a herd of 200+ cape buffalo! To see baby elephants and their moms in large groups. The graceful Impala’s, many pregnant, due very soon. Beautiful birds. The river bed is very dry from draught, and they need rain.

I could go on and on. I am so glad I got brave enough to do this trip by myself. It was so rewarding, and all the details that you put together to make it comfortable and safe for me to travel solo were so well done.

Thank you, Camille. I wish that it had been possible to have met you while I was there. I still believe it was not by accident that you were the one assigned to be “mine”, to help plan this trip. I am filled with gratitude.

Thursday was our American Thanksgiving, which was at my home with my family members who live nearby. I tell you this, as I have so much to be thankful for. To go and see the world, God’s creatures, and be able to come home to family where there is love, I am so blessed. May you have a very Merry Christmas, full of love, with your family, and know that I am grateful for you and what you did for me.

Blessings to you,

Pat Knudson