Travel Tips

Reverse bucket list experiences from the Ker & Downey® Africa team

Written by Lindsay Krause

At Ker & Downey® Africa we are always dreaming of our future travel plans and bucket list items we’ll tick off next. Now, as we all stay indoors, we’ve had time to reflect and appreciate the memorable experiences we’ve had on our journeys through Africa. From quad biking on salt pans to interactive encounters with a family of meerkats, we bring you our team’s reverse bucket list travel experiences in Africa.

Emma Perrin, LuxVenture® Designer

Coming face to face with the meerkats of Makgadikgadi Game Reserve

‘Spending time with meerkats was always high on my bucket list! I was a passionate fan of the animal planet program ‘Meerkat Manor’ and would never have thought that I would be fortunate enough to be sitting in the Central Kalahari in Makgadikgadi Game Reserve 12 years later watching the meerkats first hand.’

Meerkat overlooking the Kalahari at sunset, photo credit | Emma Perrin, LuxVenture® Designer
Our guide asked me to sit down, relax and wait. I could hardly contain my excitement when the ‘watchman’ picked me as the highest viewing point and made his way across my legs to see if there were any predators in the area.

‘Each family member was fulfilling their designated role, from being on predator watch to babysitting duties, the family explored the park in unison as they searched for grubs while keeping their eyes peeled for eagles in the sky.  Our guide asked me to sit down, relax and wait. I could hardly contain my excitement when the ‘watchman’ picked me as the highest viewing point and made his way across my legs to see if there were any predators in the area. We followed the family as they made their way home and watched as they took their last look at the Kalahari plains before denning for the night. It was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.’

Brand Manager, Marike Cronjé, on the top of the Big Daddy Dune

Marike Cronjé, Brand Manager

Hiking the sand dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia

In December 2018, I traveled to Namibia on a 7 Day Tour through Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Etosha National Park. To this day, my favourite memory of our trip was heading to Sesriem in the early hours of the morning to reach Sossusvlei at day-break. The striking orange colour of the sand dunes and the dramatic shadows cast on the road we were driving on is forever etched into my memory. The relief and satisfaction of reaching the top of the Big Daddy (the tallest dune in Sossusvlei) after our 3-hour hike with views of the Deadvlei below, was also a bucket list moment for me.’

To this day, my favourite memory of our trip was heading to Sesriem in the early hours of the morning to reach Sossusvlei at day-break.
Brand Manager, Marike Cronjé, exploring Sossusvlei

Luana Do Coutto enjoying a hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti

Luana Do Coutto, Market Manager for Latin America

A hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti

‘One of my top travel experiences was a hot air balloon safari over the Serengeti – it is something I will never forget. Floating above the vast plains and spotting wildlife from the air is truly worthy of any traveler’s bucket list. Make this experience even more list-worthy and time your vacation with the annual Great Migration to see millions of wildebeest migrating through the Serengeti from above.’

LuxVenture® Designer, Sarah Morris, at Cheetah Plains Safari Lodge

Sarah Morris, LuxVenture® Designer

Visiting Cheetah Plains Safari Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve

It’s not every day that you get to journey into the wilderness to stay in a luxury villa that overlooks a pond of hippos, where you are interrupted only by the sound of the birds or the passing of elephants just a stone’s throw away from your breakfast table. During my 2 night stay at Cheetah Plains, I witnessed a pride of lions take down a giraffe, tracked a leopard through the bush for over three hours, and woke up to the grunts of the hippo from the water below. Not only was the game viewing incredible, but the lodge itself was unrivaled as far as luxury goes. It has all the bells and whistles from world-class cuisine and attentive staff, to the high-tech gadgets and facilities.’

Lion kill captured by LuxVenture® Designer, Sarah Morris
During my 2 night stay at Cheetah Plains, I witnessed a pride of lions take down a giraffe, tracked a leopard through the bush for over three hours, and woke up to the grunts of the hippo from the water below.

Mokoro safari in the Okavango Delta captured by LuxVenture® Designer, Julie Graham

Julie Graham, LuxVenture® Designer

A Mobile Safari on Xaxaba Island, Okavango Delta

‘Xaxaba is a completely isolated island in the heart of the Okavango Delta. After traveling by boat along the Thamalakane River, we spent 3 nights in a mobile safari camp  – definitely something for the more adventurous! The experience is rustic, intimate and extraordinary. Think bucket showers, canvas tents, and extremely close encounters with elephants and hippos who make regular appearances at the camp. My memories of the Delta involve bonfires, shooting stars, blood-red sunsets on the delta, and one particular hippo who rubbed her itchy rear on my tent late one night in the pitch dark…’

My memories of the Delta involve bonfires, shooting stars, blood-red sunsets on the delta, and one particular hippo who rubbed her itchy rear on my tent late one night in the pitch dark.
Hippo spotted in the Okavango Delta by Julie Graham

Quad bike experience at Jack’s Camp

Jenieen van den Heever, Head of Sales and Operations

Quad Biking on the salt pans of Botswana

‘Quad Biking on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is an absolutely thrilling experience. This desolate destination is otherworldly and discovering it by quad bike is truly bucket list worthy. Our dedicated guide took our group on a 2-hour drive on the pans, before stopping for dinner under the stars. If you’re lucky and the weather holds up, you can experience an exclusive sleepout experience in this African wilderness.’

From close encounters with Africa’s wildlife to hot air balloon rides over the Serengeti, Africa has no shortage of experiences to add to your bucket list. Get in touch with one of our LuxVenture® Designers to add these experiences to your 2021 travel itinerary.

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