What to expect on a safari with teenagers in African bush camps

by MMC
0 comment

Later that evening I challenged my boys to a game of pool in the games room, all decked out in regalia from the days of the lodge’s opening. The pool game lifted our spirits, but Mom was determined to come back in the morning to “check on her.” ‘Ahhhh, mom” protested the teenagers, “we just want to sleep‘. Mom was having none of it, and they were quickly told they would be up for an early morning safari.

Our next day did not bring any good news for our lioness. Our guide explained to us that it was still possible that the lioness would find the cubs, “even if they could have been captured by hyenas”. Our journey included a search for the rest of the pride (the two male brothers), but we could only find their tracks. The area is dominated by rolling hills and magnificent panoramic views of Lake Kariba. These views prompted our next idea. ‘Dad, can we go to the lake later?‘ Absolutely! I said, thinking a change of scenery was in order from the grieving lioness.

We returned to the lodge for another delicious breakfast – all ready and laid out for our return. Surprisingly, after breakfast, the teens didn’t need any encouragement to hit the gym, while the girls decided to head to the well-equipped spa. Complementing the mom and daughter pampering, our very own lioness also invited one of the boys for a joint spa session and massage. This proved to be a big hit with the kids!

Lunch was served on the lower deck while we were invited to make our own pizzas to cook in the purpose-built pizza oven. It was the best pizza I have ever tasted!

Our afternoon activity that day took place on one of the many boats Bumi has available. Getting out on the water gave us a very contrasting experience with game viewing. Seeing elephants and hippos from the luxury of a boat provided an incredible vantage point to see the animals up close. The children were all fascinated. They had never done anything like this before! To top it all off, our sundowners were on one of the lake’s many islands, this one being Starvation Island, so named because of a number of animals that were trapped there when the valley flooded in the early 1960s. Standing on the sandy beach overlooking the surrounding lake, we felt like we were somewhere in the Mediterranean and not Africa; such was the appearance of the lake and the hills in the distance. We pulled out as the sun was setting for probably “the moment” of our trip. Seeing the children taking full advantage of this new environment was enlightening for me. It’s a memory I will cherish forever.

Our stay in Bumi only lasted 3 days, and yet it seemed like a week. The kids no longer left to check their phones and were just enjoying the lodge and its surroundings. That’s when I had the idea to expand their minds a little more and asked our guide to take us to visit the local village.

Living in South Africa makes you acutely aware of the disparities in social welfare, and I thought the opportunity to see how most people in Zimbabwe live was one not to be missed. So we leave the next day for the local village of Mola, about an hour’s drive from Bumi, and where some of the lodge staff come from. The teenagers were not only curious but also enthusiastic! Mola is a village of around 3,000 inhabitants and benefits from numerous projects carried out by the Foundation of bush camps in Africaa non-profit organization registered to support local communities and conservation.

We went to see one of the local schools, Mangwara, located 12 km from Mola. Before the school was built, learners had to simply walk to and from the main village of Mola, so building the school was a necessary project. The Africa Bush Camps Foundation (ABCF) has installed two classrooms, a housing block for teachers and fresh water boreholes. There is still a lot to do; however, it was very rewarding to see the adolescents participate in some interactions with the learners.

Before returning to the lodge, we also had time to visit a boma recently built by a group of American tourists as part of the ‘Build a Boma’ initiative to support the human and wildlife mitigation project being carried out by the ABCF. We met Simon, one of the community members, who explained to us what the Boma meant to him: “from now on, I won’t have to hunt lions anymore,” he concluded with a smile. Before Boma was built, lions attacked the village of cattle and goats. Seeing the impact it had on him was a very moving experience.

The next day announced our next challenge: fishing! Not being a fisherman myself, I wasn’t really looking forward to this activity, but I knew the time spent with my kids would be worth it. I also thought they would be enthusiastic, but they weren’t! Surprisingly, I was greeted with “Dad, should we go?” » So I didn’t take that as a cue to stay and relax around the pool and said “try it, you’ll love it” (not totally convinced myself).

After catching around fifteen fish between us (I made a small contribution of 2), we returned triumphant with the sun behind the mountains and the wind in our hair. But what happened next was even more surprising…the teens immediately announced that they wanted to “do it again” and “dad, that was cool.” Still not convinced, I agreed to go out again.

People who know Lake Kariba say that something special happens when you go fishing. Well, it certainly did for us, and again, it created some special moments that I got to share with them. I should add that our fishing excursion did not include “the girls”; each time they decided to “go get the little ones”, which unfortunately turned out to be a failed quest. Meeting up later that day with the girls, we all recalled our adventures. It brought new energy to our family. And there was no phone in sight!

Our last morning was dedicated to our latest adventure: going on a walking safari. My oldest son had been mulling over the idea for a few days now, so when he told me during our fishing trip that he’d like to go for a walk, I couldn’t have been happier. For most people, safaris are treated with a lot of trepidation (as you are more exposed to wild animals), while still having the chance to get closer to nature. It turned out to be a real experience for both of us.

Following our trusted guide, Simeon, he expertly navigated the thickets like his own garden. We stopped to see elephants from afar as well as impala, kudu and monkeys! I had done many walks in the past, but seeing it through my children’s eyes made me appreciate the excitement and anticipation of what we might discover. During the walk, Siméon stopped in front of an enormous baobab tree; we were lucky to find seed pods (probably dropped by careless baboons as elephants cherish them), which when opened contain seeds covered in a soft skin which is a tasty sweet bush.

Now I know why elephants love them so much! Simeon also collected bark that had been scraped by elephants sharpening their tusks. He showed us how you can peel it and use it as rope or to make a bracelet! Amazing! We quickly received some. Siméon said he would make a bracelet for our 8 year old. Back at camp, we had a quick breakfast then set off with the rest of the family for our next adventure, looking for bats (this was the request of my youngest son, who didn’t want to to walk). Siméon knew the place precisely: an old abandoned pavilion not far away, called Katete. The request to see bats was not on the usual safari checklist, so this provided a real adventure; even Simeon was excited by the challenge.

It was our last safari in Bumi, and I couldn’t help but think about how our experiences had brought the family closer together. Gone are the distractions of the modern world. It was just us and nature. There was no more talk about WiFi or what their friends were doing…we were all totally absorbed in the adventure of the moment and the excitement that awaited us. This is what I had wanted us to be when we laid out my ideas for us as a family. Getting back to basics to enjoy life (nature), in a completely raw and unscripted way. Oh, and did I mention it? We went out the same afternoon (at the boys’ request) for another fishing excursion.

And to think that they had never wanted to fish before this trip….

PS I am very happy to report that the cubs have been found and are safely reunited with their mother.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The news website dedicated to showcasing Africa news is a valuable platform that offers a diverse and comprehensive look into the continent’s latest developments. Covering everything from politics and economics to culture and wildlife conservation

u00a92022 All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by PenciDesign