Africa & Art Ladies Trip Report

Time is a peculiar thing. We all have the same amount of seconds in a minute, hours in a day, and weeks in a month. When we first started planning the Africa & Art safari, it felt so distant in the future and the countdown clock seemed to move at a snail’s pace.

However, as the ladies arrived one by one and we reached 00:00:00 on the clock, time started to increase in pace. Our first afternoon on the river was breathtaking. A herd of bull elephants walked in single file straight towards us before turning into a shallow bay to walk in a semi-circle and pass us again. It was an emotional moment, and some shed a few tears because of the indescribable beauty of the moment. Just us and the elephants, time stood still. We were in awe of the magnificent sunset and enjoyed a sundowner next to the river, marvelling at the shades of the setting sun until the sky was ablaze in a bright red.

Early the next morning, the reflections on the mirror-like river astounded us. The ripples, patterns, and colours that our wake painted, created impressionistic pictures for us to capture. Finding a fish eagle on the first morning, with its catch of the day, was a bonus that had everyone excited. It was a joy to be among the yellow, white, and blue water lilies, and we were surprised at the length of the stems. Our guide made a lily necklace, and we all posed for fun pictures with flowers.

I always say that every time I visit the Chobe, I experience something new, even after going there for almost 30 years. This time it was a single young white flamingo. Nature always provides us with incredible stories and surprises. Speaking of surprises; the ladies were over the moon with their ‘Sweet Dreams’ Chobe travel blankets they received as a gift.

Cruising back to the lodge on the last evening frantic alarm calls and jumping around from branch to branch in the Natal Mahogany trees on the water’s edge! A leopard was sleeping on a branch just there. The dynamics between the baboons and the leopard were fascinating. One could see the irritation in the leopard and how petrified the baboons were. The days rolled into one another, and we lost track of time, not knowing what day it was. On the solstice, the sun really did ‘stand still’ in another beautiful sunset. We sat at Elephant Valley, toasted to new friendships, the abundance, the tranquillity, and being immersed in nature. All of this inspired Carol, the poet among us, and she recited her latest creation to us there on the riverbank in the last rays of the sun.

And just like that, it was time to board our flight back to the city. We spoiled ourselves with dinner at a fire-themed restaurant and had so much fun; we laughed until we cried. The next chapter of this adventure started very early the next day. Some of our group flew to Hoedspruit, while others drove the beautiful scenic route through Magoebaskloof to Gravelotte and on to Selati. We were reunited at a private lodge in an incredibly well-managed and pristine reserve. The expansive gardens are surrounded by natural indigenous vegetation and the rocky outcrops that are typical of this region, which is so close to my heart. The Klipspringer Lodge gets its name from the family of antelopes that reside in the rocky surroundings of the garden. Here in these tranquil surroundings, we got creative working on the ladies’ artworks to take home as a memory of this unique safari.

Photographing from the hide using the same Gimbal system as on the boat was the only similarity to the first part of our safari. We wanted to experience the opposites of the river and being in the African bush. Apart from the day and night hide photography, we went out twice with experienced field guides who taught us so much about the tracks we saw in the sand, the different spoor, and animal behaviour. Visiting the circa 3800-old baobab tree was a humbling experience. One could sense the impressive presence of this majestic tree, and touching it left everyone emotional.


I’m so proud of the artwork the talented Veronica Coetzer made from MY photos! I’ve always loved spending time with animals, learning their personalities and patterns, and sharing their space. Now I’m learning how to capture on photo what I’ve always known- the complex and beautiful uniqueness of each creature, and their willingness to let us see their world.

This was my third trip to Africa. Each time I’ve gone, something shifts in the way I look at the world. This time I felt so deeply the splendours of creation, of the improbable beauty and bewildering complexity of life on earth. And I felt the great urgency of the turning point of this moment, where we balance so precariously between abundance and the loss of it all. – Carol Flake

I highly recommend CNP Safaris if you want knowledgeable, safe guides who allow you to take the time to see the whole story, not just stare at the critter and then move on to the next and show you how to use the camera to protect and preserve those memories. It is a precious experience. – Debbie Biewer

The TRANQUILITY of the river in the mornings was a highlight every single day at Chobe which gave me peace. In Selati it was the absolute silence and the calling of the birds, monkeys and wind rustling through the leaves. 

Veronica’s calm and warm demeanour as a tour guide gave me the calmness and the recipe from CNP Mentorship gave me the edge I needed! I felt proud! I was delighted if I got the shot I hoped for, but sometimes also just sat back and took in nature at its best! What an amazing experience and a phenomenal end to the tight friendships mend… I will carry this in my heart FOREVER! – Ronel Myburgh

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