Exactly a year ago I was privileged to spend a few days at the beautiful Chikwenya Camp, Mana Pools. I have visited a few amazing safari destinations in the past year – but for some strange reason my senses keep yearning for Chikwenya. When I find myself dreaming about the African bush (which it constantly does), my mind always races around, but ends at Chikwenya, where it transfers into a slow stroll, ending in a deep longing for some Mana Magic.
Over the last few weeks I started asking myself what it is about Chikwenya that stirs something so deep in me. Some of my other safari destinations definitely had better game viewing (although I did see lions, buffalo and elephant etc. at Chikwenya as well). So, it can’t just be a full “sightings checklist” that determines the joy of a safari…. don’t get me wrong, it is incredible to experience memorable sightings – but somewhere you need “... nature to heal and give strength to body and soul”.
"“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul”.
That is where I feel Chikwenya nails it. It is a slow safari, where you are able to walk among giants, not only elephants and eland, but also giants in the form of albida, sausage and baobab trees. This walking is almost in slow motion, and in dead silence, except for the calls of Lillian’s lovebirds, African fish-eagles and other bird- and animal sounds. The afternoon’s “blue and gold” light filtering through the forest, with the Zambezi River and Rift Valley Escarpment as a backdrop, is truly magical. This is a time for contemplating and soul-searching – nature’s way of strengthening your mind and spirit. The theme for the Wilderness Safaris Photo Competition this year was to “Capture the Soul of Africa”. For me the Soul of Africa is best reflected in the albida forest at Chikwenya...
My suggestion for any prospective safari-goer would be to consider ending your trip at the magical, mesmerising and soulful Chikwenya Camp. The first part of your safari can be saturated with loads of memorable sightings, but wind up your safari by slowing down at Chikwenya. Trust me, you will come back with renewed strength in body and soul!
Written by Anton Kruger
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