A Journal, with Pictures

Thanksgiving 2019

by on Dec.03, 2019, under Family

Joyce and I flew to Fort Lauderdale Florida for Thanksgiving. A beautiful day and a perfect flight. By the time we had unloaded and put the cover on the airplane, Jennifer was there to pick us up and take us to Casa Montgomery a luxury resort in South West Ranches. We stopped for lunch and got settled and it was time for cocktails and a barbeque in Jennifer and Mikes’s newly redone outdoor kitchen.

Wednesday was a day of relaxing, some shopping, and early preparation for tomorrow’s feast. Weather was great so we enjoyed the day which finished with dinner outside on a perfect Florida evening. Thanksgiving day saw the serious meal preparation get started, some football viewing, more relaxing and a mid-day snack. Alexandra showed off her Christmas decorated room and we hung out until it was time. Jennifer cooked the turkey in their outdoor kitchen, and Mike did the carving. It was a great way to give thanks and enjoy our family over a great dinner. We enjoyed pumpkin pie, then Alexandra entertained on the piano. Really, a great family day.

Black Friday saw a little bit of shopping and Alexandra did some riding, but the main activity was enjoying family and relaxing. The cooks got the night off and we did Asian at a nearby restaurant.

Saturday after breakfast we left Fort Lauderdale Executive airport on another perfect day for the two and a half hour flight back to Hilton Head. Another great flight and by twelve-thirty we were having lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant on the Island. Another great Thanksgiving with minimum stress and maximum family fun.

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Patty, Suzy and Tina’s visit to the Low Country

by on Nov.11, 2019, under Family

My three sisters from Oregon came to South Carolina at the end of October for a short visit. We did a lot of touring including Hilton Head Island, Savannah, the cottage at Chechessee Creek, Spring Island, Beaufort and Bluffton. The Prado family joined us while we were at the Chechessee Creek cottage and treated our visitors to a boat tour of the river and marshland surrounding Spring Island. We did a trolly tour of Savannah including a tour of the Mercer House famous from the book and movie, Midnight in the land of good and evil. They also toured Beaufort by carriage as well as dipping their toes in the Atlantic ocean ” I can’t believe the water is so warm”.  We also did a lot of eating of local dishes and even saw a Manatee at the dock where we had lunch on Hilton Head Island. What follows are some pictures from the visit:

Hilton Head Island Touring

Touring Savannah

Touring Beaufort

Chechessee Creek, Spring Island

Bluffton and Hilton Head Island

The weather was perfect and we caught up on family happenings and were re-introduced to the Low Country of South Carolina. We thoroughly enjoyed the company and vowed to get together soon and hopefully include more of the family.

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Family trip to Africa 2019

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

We departed our home airports on Sunday, July 14, met in Atlanta where we boarded our fifteen and half hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. We were met after clearing customs by the Abercrombie & Kent representative and escorted across the street to the Intercontinental Hotel where we would spend the night. The next morning after breakfast, we were escorted to our chartered flight to Botswana, with a stop to clear customs in Maun, then on to our destination, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp.

We arrived at the camp and were met by the staff singing a native welcome song. We dropped our bags in our room, had lunch on the deck, and we are off on our first game drive.

Everyone was excited about our first drive and we saw lots of interesting animals, but there was anticipation to see some of the big cats and other big animals.

That evening we settled in and then were treated to a show put on by the local tribe members on the staff. Cocktails and dinner are excellent and we were off to a great start on our adventure.

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Sanctury Chief’s Camp

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Sanctuary Chief’s Camp is situated on the private Mombo Concession within the Moremi Game Reserve, at the core of the Okavango Delta. The area is a mix of mature woodlands, the biggest island being Cheif’s island on which the camp is built and verdant flood plains that become inundated from as early as April every year. The camp gets its name from the deceased Chief Moremi III’s wife under whose leadership in 1963 established the Moremi game reserve. It is the only officially protected area of the Okavango Delta and has resulted in an amazing concentration of diverse Africa species. The Sanctuary Retreats organization owns and manages a number of high-end camps and lodges in five African countries.

The camp itself is made up of the main lodge with luxury Pavillion Rooms on either side of the lodge facing a dried lake bed with a watering hole in front of a deck. During the rainy season, the lake is full, during the dry season it hosts a parade of all kinds of animals coming to drink or wallow.

We had five Pavillion Rooms that included a bedroom, sitting room, fully stocked bar, deck, pool, dressing room and bathroom with an indoor as well as an outdoor shower. Recently refurbished everything was modern, except the roof was thatched (wood ceilings in rooms). When the early morning wake-up calls (knock on the door) start the baboons would jump from roof to roof making a huge racket.

The routine at Chief’s camp was a six A.M. wake up call, breakfast buffet with served entres to order, morning game drive leaving at seven A.M. with a coffee break in the bush mid-morning then return to the camp for a sit down served lunch from the menu. The afternoon game drive left at three P.M. with cocktails served in the bush around sundown and the return to the lodge for more cocktails and dinner served from the menu. The food, wine, cocktails, services were first class and the staff was extremely friendly and well trained including the two drivers, tracker, guides assigned to our group.

 

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Sanctuary Chiefs Camp, July 17th.

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Our first full day at Chiefs Camp starts off with an African sunrise then an incredible leopard photo op. A male and female, thought to be brother and sister were finishing off their impala kill. The male was eating but the female was posing and what a job she did.

We then get treated to an Elephant show, first at the watering hole while having lunch in camp, then later out in the bush.

We enjoy viewing a number of additional species in addition to the elephants in the afternoon. including a Baboon perched on top of a termite mound to scan for predators.

 

 

 

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Chiefs Camp, Thursday July 18th.

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Thursday was our last full day at Chief’s camp and it turned out to be a full one which includes, a Hyena family and Rhino photo op in the morning along with some other interesting species.

When it was time to return to camp for lunch we had a surprise. The chef and staff had set up a stir fry to order lunch, of course with a bar, in the bush.

Tomorrow we will fly on to Singita.

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Last Day at Chiefs Camp then on to Singita

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Joyce and I decide to have a leisurely morning as everyone else decides to take one last game drive on the way to the airstrip for our flight in the same King Air that brought us. It’s cool and we have breakfast with our family then see them off. We say our goodbyes to the wonderful Chiefs Camp staff, then are driven to the airstrip for our flight. It’s a short flight to Maun to clear customs out of Botswana, but this time they decide to do it the hard way and it takes us an hour and a half because they inspect every bag. We continue the hour and forty-five-minute flight landing at Sangita lodge where we are met by our guides and trackers. Our Hostess welcomes us to our compound, our chef has prepared lunch and we still leave for the afternoon game drive at three-thirty. We come upon a small heard of Rhinos wallowing in a water hole with both Black and White species, which is an impressive start. We then view some elephants and start to get the lay of the Singita land.

The first evening we join the other lodge guests at the main lodge for a barbeque. We are introduced to the excellent Singita wine collection, and a wonderful meal cooked over the fire. We are then entertained by the local tribe who perform a traditional dance, that includes participation by some of our family. It was a very auspicious start to our stay at Singita.

 

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Singita Ebony Lodge a magic place

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Singita Ebony Lodge is the original location in the 19 lodge Sangita collection of top-end luxury “camps.” The private property is set within the 160,500-acre Sabi Sands Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa. Sangita Ebony Lodge sits on a bluff overlooking the Sands River, where we had a two-family suite (four bedrooms) plus common area and a separate suite for Joyce and me. Our separate compound had its own Hostess, Chef, serving staff and we had two trackers and two guides assigned to look after us. The main lodge was a five-minute walk away.  Our routine was to rise at six A.M. have a light breakfast and leave on the game drive at seven. We would stop around nine A.M. for coffee, cocoa or tea, and a biscuit, then continue our morning game drive. We then would have a large breakfast/brunch around eleven and then relax or participate in activities until three P.M. We then would leave for the afternoon game drive, stop for a glass of wine or cocktail before returning to our lodge, where we would have a gourmet dinner prepared by our chef after cocktails. Singita is one of the biggest buyers of premium wines in South African and they served outstanding wines at every opportunity. Our Trackers and Guides were superb and became part of the family quickly.

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Singita Saturday July 20th

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

The word was that a lion pride had killed a Cape Buffalo next to Kruger Game Reserve, so we headed there first thing in the morning. We were not disappointed. The pride was still feeding on the second day with the dominate male doing the eating with two cubs and the mother and other females still there.

We crossed the river each day on our game drive and saw the more aquatic species at the crossing.

The afternoon drive serves up a big variety of species.

A great day of game viewing and enjoying Sangita incredible amenities and hospitality.

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Singita Sunday July 21st.

by on Jul.31, 2019, under Family

Sunday turned out to be a leopard highlight day. In the morning our amazing tracker Vusi spotted a lone leopard in a dense bush, it then decided to pose for us. In the afternoon we followed a male as he walked along the riverbank near our camp. In the evening, again our tracker spotted a female near our camp who had killed an antelope and had hyenas steal the kill. When we came upon the scene the hyenas were fighting over the kill, and we provided enough distraction for the leopard to steal back part of the kill. With a few more interesting animals to photograph it was quite a day.

Tomorrow will be our last day and as usual, Our Singita Host, Chef and Staff prepare a great dinner, with great wine to celebrate a great trip.

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