What a month!!
I can only apologise for my lack of blog posts in the last month…. those who keep up to date via my website will realise that there have been two big events in the last month that have kept me away from the PC: Gardeners’ World Live, where I had a big stand this year, then a few days to get my head together before I flew off to Zambia on a trip of a lifetime! Yes, I went to Zambia for a ten day AMAZING trip, after WINNING a competition earlier in the year! For those who have not seen the details on my website, you can find out more about my amazing win on my website HERE.
I flew back into the UK late on Thursday night and have spent the last few days trying to sort myself out, upload the huge amounts of images and videos I captured and just spent time to digest all the phenomenal experiences I have had in my first trip to Africa! With weather reminiscent of Africa back here in the UK, I have enjoyed spending a few days gradually winding back up after ten days quite literally in the African bush, miles from anything, with no electricity, let alone a phone or Internet signal! It takes a while to adjust and part of me want to remain in that ‘holiday mode’ before embarking on catching up with hundreds of emails, jobs to do and ‘real life’ realities!!
With Monday morning looming and a just about full time stint in school for two weeks to make up the time I have missed, many of my tales of Africa may have to wait until the end of July…. I want to do this story justice! I know it sounds somewhat of a cliché to say you have won a ‘holiday of a lifetime’, but this really and truly was, and just thinking about all the truly amazing experiences I have had makes me well up! In fact, on arriving at Mfuwe Lodge in the South Luangwa National Park and being taken to a table on a stunning decking overlooking a dried river bed, small lagoon & elephant drinking, I actually burst into tears! It was a surreal experience to actually be in Africa, embarking on a trip that has been a dream for so long. I cannot thank The BushCamp Company and Will Burrard-Lucus enough for giving me this opportunity…. believe me… I was a most gracious of recipients!
The Bushcamp Company operates 6 remote camps in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and we spent two nights in three separate, contrasting camps in the most idyllic locations, as well as one night in the stunning main lodge at Mfuwe. The accommodation, food, staff and attention to detail was simply amazing and I could not fault the way we were treated… I truly felt like royalty! We then added an extra two days onto the competition win, to visit Victoria Falls.
Each day followed a similar routine. We rose at 5.45am to watch the sunrise as we had breakfast. We then went out on a 4 hour walk or drive. This National Park is famous for its walking safaris and there is nothing like walking through the bush (accompanied by experienced guides and scouts) and seeing the wildlife from the ground, being taught about the tracks and signs and experiencing the land away from the landrovers. We would then return at about 11am for a brunch, before a siesta in the hottest part of the day. This usually was my time to sit on a terrace or veranda and to watch the wildlife and attempt to photograph it! At about 4pm, we would meet for a snack, before heading out on a drive. We would be taken to a stunning location for a ‘sundowner’. This would involve parking the landrover up, watching the sunset over a breathtaking landscape, whilst sipping iced drinks and eating freshly baked snacks! (I know… it sounds too amazing for words, eh?!) Then, back in the landrover for a night safari. Armed with a large spotlight, we would then spend a couple of hours driving around, with amazing spotters and guides who were able to see and recognise the eyes of animals in the spotlight. Once again, this was an exhilarating experience… the smells, sounds and sights in the African bush at night will stay with me for ever!
As you have probably gathered, the experience has made a lasting impression on me, as will become apparent, as I write in more detail over the coming month, of my experiences. So… the lesson to be learnt from this????? ENTER COMPETITIONS… I just can’t believe that I experienced all of that because I took the time to enter….
Until I upload some more images, here are a few just to give you a flavour of the experience!