The Sabi Sands

I was packing knowing that in just a few hours I would be in the bush. Completely unaware of where I was going. I had no expectations, I was here in Africa.

On the way to the airport I became more ill. Nausea and headache plagued me all morning, but now it was becoming increasingly worse. At the airport I would have to take a private charter to the Sabi Sands. It was a “bags on the runway” and” hop on” kind of flight. My favorite kind! But I was getting concerned for my health. Was it my malaria medication or something else? This is not a place I would have chosen to get sick. I will be happy to get where ever it is that I am going.

I chose a window seat hoping to get a glimpse of Africa once again, before I knew it the small plane was in the clouds so I closed my eyes for the one hour flight. Only to open them as we were descending. The windows were fogged from the A/C… once again Africa had eluded me. The plane landed and stopped. I grabbed my bag happy to be able to exit the plane to finally see Africa and the bush pilot said, sorry you have one more stop. I thought, “One more stop to where"? I could breathe only one small breath of the African air as the breeze blew in and the doors closed. I was back in the seat and we were off again.

I was alone in the plane, sweating and trying not to get ill.  I was sure now that it was the altitude in Johannesburg that was causing this sickness; I needed to get out, out of this plane and into the air. As the plane descended I looked out the window and for the first time I could see Africa. It was brown and burnt with no leaves on the trees; nothing like I imagined it to be. It looked really barren and lifeless, still I was mesmerized. For miles there were dirt roads in every direction, scarring the land, and making me think that there are very few places untouched in this world, why would I think this would be one of them. The roads looked very invasive like they were bordering sections of land, but there were no buildings or cars. Just a barren exhausted landscape. The cabin door opened I could once again feel the hot air push in. As I stepped out of the plane I could feel the heat and the massive warm breeze. I stopped to breathe and just be out of the plane. I looked straight in front of me and saw…nothing. Before I knew it the plane was off again and I was standing on the runway alone. When I looked up I saw someone in a Land Rover. He looked like something out of a magazine dressed in khaki head to toe and a band of .375 shells sported on his waist. He introduced himself but I couldn't remember his name. He said it would take an hour to get to camp but to sit down and have a cool drink first.

There was a small outbuilding with elegant toilets and comfortable chairs and pillows. Pictures of wild Africa were strewn on the walls and fresh fruit, cheese, and cold drinks were offered. There was a butler who brought me a fresh cool towel for my face, and delivered me a cool glass of bottled water.

“Ready” he said. Hop in. I chose a seat in the Land Rover right behind him. I was higher and I could see the bush better. Once on the dirt road we blended right into the landscape, and started the long drive to camp. I started to feel better, the breeze in the open vehicle and the warm sun on my skin. It was mid-day almost noon. The sun was high, and hot. We drove for twenty minutes and then we ran into a Kudu, a lone male feeding on some grass. I reached for my camera and the chap said, "don’t worry enjoy the ride you will see plenty."

We arrived at Little Bush Camp in just over an hour. I was greeted at the car with cool towels for my face and bottled water. A butler retrieved my bag and retired it to my room. I was greeted by Dallas and his wife Michelle the managers for the camp. Lunch was being prepared and I was given a chance to relax for a moment. I could think of only of a nap. Dallas explained that Andre’ would be here tomorrow to retrieve me for our walk. And so it begins…..