Some of my most memorable trips whilst flying on long haul was to the wondrous continent of African. Many years ago, when the flights were infrequent to certain destinations we would be left in a country to rest, waiting for the next inbound flight to take passengers back to the UK. In some remote not so popular destinations, like Lusaka in Africa, this service only operated once a week. This leant itself to time on our hands to go explore! The safari’s were just amazing, to mingle amongst some of the most beautiful wild creatures on this planet in their own natural habitat. We would be taken to a typical African style lodge with spiders the size of your hand dangling precariously from the rafters, the constant buzz from mosquitos in abundance and the sound of the African jungle on your door step. One of the most incredulous remote Safari’s whilst in Lusaka was only accessible by sea plane, which dropped us off on a lake where a small boat greeted us to take us into the dense African bush. I remember none of us could sleep due to the sound of the lion’s deep, guttural growls and the hippos grunts and anything else that managed to walk past our flimsy tent! Each tent was manned by a guard with a gun and we were cautioned throughout the night, never to vacate our lodgings (as if we would)!.
I distinctively remember the intense darkness of the bush with only our small candles to guide us…and the stillness and quiet like no where else I had ever experienced. The absence of pollution which in turn provided us with some of the most stunning southern hemisphere skies at night. We would sit around the camp fire listening to the incessant sounds all around us, the laughter of the hyena and the chatter of the chimps! By day we would rise early (after very little sleep) due to the disturbance of the spiders, frogs and other unrecognisable insects in our tent, to be greeted and awarded by some of Africa’s most amazing shimmering sun rises followed by an incredible safari tour that will stay in my memory for ever.