Kichaka i'll admit bloggers, there have been moments in my life where i thought i have experienced paradise – i was wrong.  never in my wildest imagination would i have ever thought such a place could exist – a place of tranquil abundance, a place of undisturbed calm, a place one with nature, a place i will cherish in my dreams…kichaka.  one of the highlights of this trip for me was the chance to escape on a 3 day safari at a game reserve.  i didn't really know what to expect, i didn't really know what it would be like, i did however have the experience of a lifetime – i hope to share just a glimpse with all of you…

4/27 (kichaka): we left cape town early morning to fly into port elizabeth.  i have to say there was something very "pirates of the Caribbean" for me about flying into port elizabeth – don't know why it made me think of the movie but it did.  once we arrived we were whisked away by van off to our game lodge known as kichaka.  i was told about this place by other teachers who had the opportunity to visit it.  they said it was amazing and possibly life changing – how right they were.  we arrived at a large iron gate surrounded by electrical fencing where we were escorted on to the reserve.  we were greeted by a member of the kichaka staff and had to complete the "paperwork" before we were able to head to the lodge.  the paperwork, however, was a release for any harm or possible death that could occur during our stay for the next 2 days – you don't see that everyday!  we were all joking about how Jurassic park this whole thing seemed, but were all very anxious as to what the next few days would be like.


with all the formalities taken care of we drove along this winding rode until we reached our lodge tucked into the hills.  there we were greeted by the kichaka staff who escorted us into the lodge, and gave us a quick overview of what we could expect during our stay with them.  we were then guided to our private bungalow style lodge down a winding path through the bush where our luggage was already delivered, and told the highlights of our accommodations while we were there.  this place was unlike anything i have ever stayed in my life, and trust me when i say my travels have taken me to some pretty incredible places – nothing could possibly compare to this.  our lodge was a thatched roof with vaulted ceilings, three tiered levels with a middle bedroom area, top bathroom area with a large bathtub, tiled shower with rain-style head to shower you from the top center of the ceiling like a rainstorm, and a lower seating area surrounded by sliding glass walls that opened up to our private veranda with personal heated pool and incredible view of the watering hole just a few feet away.  simply incredible. 





our first game drive was scheduled for the late afternoon so we had some time to settle in and have a wonderful lunch before setting out for our first game drive.  the adventure began at 3:00 for a 3 hour game drive with our "ranger" francois.  his knowledge and tracking talents were unlike anything i've ever encountered and we were in for the thrill of our lives.  our transports were these multi-leveled ranger rovers were rows of sets provided unobstructed views of the bush and wildlife in this open air vehicle.  our journey was bumpy over a variety of terrain as we became at the mercy of the elements of the african landscape.  we spotted our first wildlife sighting within moments of our drive and several more throughout our first drive.  to be honest, never having gone on a game drive i wasn't really clear on what it was?  to clarify, the drive occurs throughout over 25,000 acres of land that is home to a variety of wild animals.  there are no fences containing the animals from each other or to our vehicle – they only surround the reserve to protect the animals from poachers.  i learned that all of the animals throughout africa are part of one game reserve or another.  knowing there were no boundaries between us and the animals provided a thrill of adrenaline (and a clear understanding of the previous paperwork we signed away on…).




we returned to the lodge to be greeted once again by the attentive staff waiting with hot herbal infused towels to refresh ourselves from the journey and an evening cocktail.  we then sat down for an incredible dinner, the most delicious south african wines, and great conversation sharing the highlights of our days experience.  we then settled in for a good night's sleep to prepare for our morning drive the next day…


4/28 (kichaka): we woke to a 6:00am wake up call from francois to meet at the lodge in just 30 minutes for our morning drive.  he was waiting in the lodge for us with fresh coffee, pastries, and warm fleece ponchos before setting out for our next adventure in the brisk morning air and gorgeous south african sunrise.  this was just one of the 2 drives we would experience today, and words cannot even describe the beauty of our surroundings in the bush, and the majestic animals we encountered.   we returned to the lodge for a full breakfast, a bit of rest, more food with a delicious lunch, and then our afternoon drive.  during our outings we stop for a few cocktails out in the bush complete with snacks, as we all get to exit our vehicle and step out onto the reserve.  of course this is in a very open area and our driver francois kept a vigil eye on us as well as our surroundings.  we got to experience the most incredible african sunset and returned to the lodge to be greeted once again to a amazing dinner and south african wines.  what a day…




4/29 (kichaka):  we woke once again at 6:00am for our final game drive.  what a way to end our 3 days of paradise!  to be that close, just a few feet from the most powerful and beautiful
animals in the world was simply breathtaking.  from rhinos, giraffes,
buffalo, lions, cheetahs, a variety of african wildlife, and even in the middle of a
heard of elephants, we saw it all and experienced it all…







thank you to glenda and gary for being such gracious hosts, thank you francois for the most educational and visually inspiring journey of my life, and thank
you the people of kichaka for an incredible experience – memories i
will treasure forever.  just wait until you see this video – it will be one all it's own, trust me!  we made our drive back to the airport in port elizabeth to fly to johannesburg to check in to our hotel there and get ready for our next event in the next couple of days.  more to come – until then i'm off to sleep….t!m

Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 101