Africa — Our Dream Vacation Come True

Pete and I have wanted to visit Africa for a long time. It’s something we have talked about over the years, often in the afternoon with a glass of wine in hand, in our back yard. Vacation day dreaming. But finally our plans turned from wistful thinking to planning – over a year of planning actually. There were lots of things to consider. Where exactly in Africa did we want to go? What did we most want to see? What kind of experience did we want?

Wildlife was our first consideration, naturally. It’s all about the animals and viewing them in their natural habitat. We recognized that meant going out in the middle of nowhere, actually that’s exactly where we wanted to be. That said, we also wanted a certain level of comfort, no dry camping. A warm bed, running water and inside toilets were high on our list.

Okavango Delta Elephants
Had we planned this trip ten years ago, viewing wildlife and scenery may have been our major considerations in planning a trip to Africa. That was before wine. In the past ten years our interest in wine has moved from casual to obsessed. Neither of us would consider making this trip to Africa without spending some time tasting wine in South Africa. We have tasted many wonderful South African wines, many of which we have written about, and we both were absolutely set on visiting the region. So, those were our priorities, the animals, the landscape and the wine.

It was a tall order, but we managed to pull it off! We were on African soil a total of 22 days. The days flew by. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing the details of our trip with you. For us it was the trip of a lifetime, filled with memories of the places we visited, the people we met, and the animals we saw – the wildlife viewing was spectacular. And then there was the wine, the wine was out of this world. There is so much we want to share with you.

At this point we are organizing photos, no small task, we took over 13,000 between the two of us. As we organize our photos and our thought we will begin posting. In the mean time, here is a brief outline of what’s in store.

Johannesburg, South Africa – we visited on July 4 and spent our Independence Day touring the Apartheid Museum and Mandela House, Nelson Mandela’s home in Soweto.

Baobab Lodge welcome
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and overland to our first tented camp, Baobab Lodge, along the Chobe River in Botswana. Here we visited Chobe National Park on morning and afternoon game drives.

We also managed to put our hands on 6 bottles of wine made by the only remaining winery in Zimbabwe (This was only made possible with the assistance of our Trip Leader, Sanction). You know we will write about that.

Our next camp in Botswana was in the Okavango Delta, near the Moremi Game Reserve. This camp was unique for its elevated walkways and tented cabins. Morning and afternoon game drives awaited us along with elephants and Cape buffalo in the neighborhood.

Zambia was our next stop at Lafupa Camp along the Kafue River. We awoke in the mornings to the boisterous grunts of hippos and the beautiful songs of countless species of Kingfishers. Fishing and river tours made this stop unique. One such river tour provided a unexpected discovery that caused even our guide to reach for his camera.

Lafupa Camp
Kashawe Tented Camp in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe was our final camp destination. This stop was one of contrast with beautiful golden landscapes, lions that sang to us during the night and the ugliness of open pit mining adjacent to the park.

Our return to civilization came when we transferred to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Here we stayed in a hotel with all of the amenities, toured Victoria Falls (which are spectacular), shopped the open markets and even zip-lined across the Zambezi River.

Protea cynaroides South Africa's national flower
Cape Town, South Africa was our final destination. Five days filled with the gardens, the Cape of Good Hope, shopping, eating and not least…wine tasting. We enjoyed three days of wonderful wines and beautiful wine country. Our final wine experience was the most unique of our “wine career”. You will have to wait to read about it, it exceed all expectation.

Vineyard in South Africa
As good as it is to travel outside the US, it is always good to return home. When the US Customs Officer, after questioning us in detail about our travels, said, “Welcome home,” I had to quickly turn away to prevent him from seeing the tears in my eyes. In my experience not every Customs Officer says those two simple words to returning US residents, but when they do it is very emotional for me. Only the familiar sound of crickets outside our bedroom window during the first night we returned made me feel more at home.

We will of course continue to write about what is going on in our wine world as we share our Africa experiences with you. It will be a busy, but I hope enjoyable few months!



  1. Sounds great! We all need to know which wines go best with hippo-watching, which with lion-taming, and on. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Been waiting to hear about this — looking forward to more posts and to hearing about your trip in person!

  3. Awesome! Congratulations on a dream come true! I look forward to reading more about your trip and seeing those 13,000 pictures! I have enjoyed many bottles of South African wines; can’t wait to see what you tried!

  4. Welcome home Nancy and Pete! We’ve so enjoyed your brief posts during your trip and will look forward to your next wonderful post on your great adventure.

  5. Welcome home and wonderful post! I look forward to reading about this adventure.