Africa plans

As many of you know, my husband and I are going with his mom and brother to Africa for a family vacation for 10 days at the end of June. I really cannot express how psyched I am about this! We have several trips on our bucket list, and this was #1 on mine. I am so lucky to have married into a family that loves travel as much as I do, and is willing to take the time and resources to really experience the world.

Several people have asked me exactly what our plans are, and I thought a fun way to communicate that to folks would be to write a pre-trip blog post about our plans! My husband planned the entire trip, so kudos go to him on all of these awesome plans. He focused specifically on lodges that emphasized ecological conservation, for those of you that would be concerned about that type of thing - as we are.

First, Seth will travel to Indiana ahead of our scheduled departure date to drop off our dog with my mom, debrief her on her (extensive) needs, and drive up to Chicago for our flight out of the U.S. with his mom and brother. Then the fun begins!

Friday, June 26

I will fly out of DC in the evening and land in Chicago for my layover, where I will meet Seth, his mom and his brother.

We will all fly out that night from Chicago to Africa.

Saturday, June 27

We land in Munich, Germany at 1:00pm Munich time for an eight-hour layover. Seth insists that he is going to get on the subway and go to a beer garden and get drunk as a skunk, so I guess that's what him and his brother will be doing. I think my mother-in-law and I will probably do something else, like visit the site of the Night of Broken Glass. (My husband's family is Jewish.)

We fly out that evening to South Africa.

Sunday, June 28 - Monday, June 29

We land in South Africa in the morning, where we have a brief four-hour layover before flying out to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe. We will land in Zimbabwe only a couple of hours later, where we will finally get to relax and get settled in at the lodge! The places Seth has chosen for us to stay look seriously incredible, and I can't wait to see it in person! This is literally the stuff my travel dreams are made of.

It is located in Zambezi National Park and has been voted the best safari lodge in Zimbabwe for 17 years. It has hourly shuttles to and from Victoria Falls and the nearby town center, as well as providing walking and ground safaris to guests (which is what we will probably be spending our two days doing). There is a watering hole on site, and several of the guest comments discuss spending time on their balcony watching elephants, lions and other animals.

Here are some photos from the Safari Lodge's website:

Monday, June 29 - Thursday, July 2

We will be shuttled to another lodge, the Victoria Falls River Lodge, in the morning. This is a smaller lodge, with only 13 rooms, and is located along the Zambezi River in the same park. The rooms are located on raised decks, and the lodge offers several really awesome activities that we hope to take part in. Specifically, I am hoping to do either the zip line over Victoria Falls, a canopy tour, river rafting or an elephant-back safari. These activities are also located across the border in Zambia, so we'd tick off another country in the process!

Here are some photos from the River Lodge's site:

Thursday, July 2 - Sunday, July 5

We leave the River Lodge on the 2nd and take a short flight to the Little Makalolo Camp in Hwange National Park. This lodge is the most intimate of the three, and only has six rooms, each sleeping two people. It is super-secluded, and does not have electricity (it has lights, all solar-powered battery-operated). It has some pretty awesome outdoor showers, and some of the reviews make it sound like a seriously incredible experience:

"I didn't know it was still possible to experience Africa like this! The camp itself is lovely, and the tents and accommodation are very comfortable and well equipped considering how remote this camp is. Eddie and his staff made us feel like family, and nothing was too much trouble. The food was superb - all prepared by chef Innocent and his team. The tents have no electricity in them, so the lighting is minimal and all battery operated but perfectly adequate. We had plenty of hot water from the solar heated water too. The camp has no fences around it, and the animals are free to come into the camp if they wish. We had elephant just metres from our tent on two occasions, and a spotted hyena right outside one night. Another guest had a leopard drinking water from the shower outside his tent at 4am. But if you are looking for the real african experience, this is hard to beat! the game drives were the best part. Our guide Godfrey was very knowledgeable and and experienced, and took us all over to see more than just the obvious animals. The bird life in Hwange is sensational - we identified 120 species over a 4 day period without even trying very hard. Our highlight was 9 lions on a fresh kudu kill, and we sat and watched them eating from just a few metres away. If you want to enjoy the real African bush this is a great place to go. There is no wifi and no cellular signal. They have a sat-phone for emergencies but other than that you are completely cut off from the modern world which is one of the best features in my view! If you are easily scared or don't want to get too close to the animals, then perhaps choose another camp."

Um....yes, please. They also have morning and evening safari walks and game drives, and "star beds" where you can sleep outside under the stars. I really can hardly contain my excitement. Eeeeeek!

Here are some photos from the Little Makalolo site:

July 5

Fly back to the States through the same route, and on to DC.

I'll definitely be making an individual blog post about each of these places, and uploading any photos we take to share with you guys! So psyched!


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