I swapped with Jomi who’d been backing up at the Pafuri Trails camp for Wilderness Adventures over the last four days. I was pretty excited although a little anxious too. Jomi was looking quite shattered when he arrived back at the EcoTraining camp. By all accounts he’d had an excellent trail with lots of encounters including leopard.
I met Steve at the Wilderness Staff village before making our way to the bridge to pick up the guests. This meant that my first impression of the camp was the same as the guests and it couldn’t have been any better, it was absolutely stunning with the staff waiting for us with wet cloths and a drink to welcome us. The camp is a temporary fixture set amongst large sycamores and Mahoganies. The tents are two man domes with an ensuite chemical toilet, the latter is so that guets don’t have to wander the unfenced campsite in the middle of the night.
After briefings and afternoon tea we drove to Mangala and took a short walk up the kopje for the view over the Luvuvu river. No encounters although we did see a pair of buffalo laying by the river. Despite being a short walk it was quite testing, this gave Steve the opportunity to assess what type of walks the group would be keen on.
After sundowners by the river we returned to camp, by now it was dark which made our arrival back even more spectacular. Again we were greeted by the ladies, Patricia and Ellen who had lit all the paraffin lamps and set up dinner under the big sycamore fig. Drinks were first taken in the big lounge chairs before we sat down to a three course meal. I’ve been lucky to have been entertained in some amazing places over the years from dinner on HMS Victory to a State Banquet at Edinburgh Castle and even a champagne reception at Buckingham Palace but this was something else, it was simply stunning.
Each of our guests were given a horn to blow should they need any assistance during the night due to the things hairy and scary that frequent the area. Not too sure what would need to be done after one of the horns were blown as I imagine it would scare anything and everything, however, my rifle was loaded and sat next to me as I slept.
I had a last minute hitch with my zip so the tent wouldn’t close. Just to be safe I stacked a couple of milk crates in front of my door to warn me if anything tried to venture inside. My bed was great, the duvet and pillows were so soft. Despite being very snug I didn’t sleep well, I was always waking and checking that I hadn’t missed my alarm.