Comparative review of Kapama Camp and Klaserie Sands River Camp

Dear Liesl,

Here I am, as promised. 

What an amazing holiday it was! Thank you very much for organising it for us. It was even better than our first one, and I thought that was not possible: little did I now about safari holidays!

The first camp, at Kapama Buffalo Camp was ‘the discovery’ of the safari life: getting up early, little breakfast when it was still dark, drive, coffee break, back to camp for a proper breakfast, rest (in the swimming pool area), lunch, nap in the company of small nyalas, and back to to drive to discover new animals. We saw many of them, four of the big five, five of the ugly five and many of the smallest five. Dinner under the stars, surrounded by open fires with entertainment by the personnel of the Kapama Camp. We were all happy and it took us no time to get used to the rhythm of the day, immensely enjoying the abundant good food and rewarded by the privilege of seeing both the species of animals that we already knew and those unknown to us like the honey badgers.

 We went to meet Jabulani (the Elephant Experience) and we learned a lot; we enjoyed feeding them and taking pictures in their company. Back at camp I also enjoyed a vigorous but relaxing massage at the new, stylish centre. 

When we left the Kapama Camp we were all a bit sad, everything there was so great. The girls even threatened to go back if the food in the new camp was not equally good. 

And then the Klaserie Sands River Camp: a beautiful complex all for us. What a treat! Roxanne, Lee-Ann and Brian were all there to greet us. They did their best to make us feel welcome at all times, to accommodate us and satisfy all our requests. Already on the first afternoon we were taken on a ‘safari-ferrari’ drive to see the rare and secretive pangolin followed by a visit to the carcass of an unfortunate elephant who died near the camp after he broke its pelvis and could not be saved. We went there regularly, mornings and nights, observing vultures and hyenas going in-and-out of the carcass, crushing bones and picking internal organs until they exploded, filling the air with the horrible smell of decaying flesh. Since the killing, the elephant herd who were regular visitors at the camp to drink at the pond had not shown up. It was a sad story.

Safari at the Klaserie was a different matter from safari at Kapama.

 At this Camp game drives were conducted by Brian, morning and evenings. The tracker job was given in turn to our girls, at their request. Differently from Kapama we drove searching for animals, often off piste, sometimes at full speed to be there when action was about to take place or to enjoy a particular view at sun-down. When we spotted animals we stopped only a few steps away from them and couple of times we found ourselves alone surrounded by elephants or in the middle of a buffalo herd. We saw fewer animals than at Kapama but it was more exciting and perhaps more authentic because we (or better, Brian) had to study the terrain to understand the directions before following the tracks. Sometimes we saw nothing but it was exciting anyhow. On the third day we all went for a two-hour walk, no guns, no extra protection, just us. Brian was never tired to explain that ‘man’ is the predator and animals tend to run away from him or leave us alone. Giraffes and zebras clearly kept their distances from our group, while rhinos kept eating undisturbed. 

And then, on the morning before our departure the elephants came back to the camp. Three herds, one after the other, stopped at the pond, played, drunk, washed themselves and left from the opposite side. Each of us was in awe before the procession, surprised and happy that the mourning was over and life could be resumed: their presence was the cherry on the cake! Brian’s surprises however, were not over yet. As the last discovery he took us to see a proud male sable left only with one horn: who said that the unicorn does not exist?

This is it Liesl, thank you very much again. Our flight was not easy, it took us 36 hours to reach home but believe me, if somebody asks me if I would be ready to go back tomorrow, I will with no hesitation.

Before leaving you I just would like to thank you again for the beautiful book you sent us. We are treasuring it, the photos are really magnificent. I know now, for sure, what I will do in my next life!!

All the best

Anna

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