I have to admit that South Africa wasn’t really in my top places I wanted to visit. Don’t get me wrong, it was on the list, but it wasn’t high. Top 10, maybe.
After writing One & Only through where my characters go on a 13 day safari, however, I can safely say it’s in my top 3 following behind Bora Bora and Ireland.
I’ll link to the website where I based my itinerary from and also include the descriptions and pictures from their website since I don’t own any of these pictures.
The safari I picked to base my character’s trip off of was the
DAY ONE – DAY THREE
“After touching down at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Zimbabwe, guests are transferred on a short-haul flight to the rugged and beautiful Mana Pools National Park. The safari kicks off at the authentic and exclusive Kanga Camp, situated in a totally crowd-free private concession. Settle into your Meru-style tent set on a raised wooden deck, shaded by ancient jackalberry trees. Kanga overlooks a permanent water pan, a regular waterhole where a variety of game and birds come to drink. Spend the next two days watching animals from the viewing decks or the comfortable armchairs set in the camp’s hide. Enjoy regular sightings of elephant, wild dog, fish eagles, storks and Kanga’s resident lion pride. Go on game drives in one of Africa’s most pristine parks to encounter the iconic Big 5.”
DAY THREE – DAY FIVE
“Today you hop into a 4×4 vehicle for your transfer to Zambezi Expeditions, a luxury tented camp set on the banks of the majestic Zambezi River. Your suite is set along the river, secluded among gorgeous albida and mahogany trees. There are no set itineraries here – each day is planned according to your wishes and which animals are in the area. If you are a fishing enthusiast, take the chance to catch the renowned tiger fish and tilapia. Go canoeing on the Zambezi and enjoy guided walks and game drives to encounter elephant, water buck, buffalo and lion. The area is also very popular for its wild dog sightings.”
DAY FIVE – DAY EIGHT
“Get transferred by road to the Mana Pools main airstrip for your short-haul flight to Bumi Hills. This luxurious lodge is nestled in the remote hills surrounding the gorgeous Lake Kariba, and boasts views over the Zambezi River Escarpment that are beyond words. Spend your days exploring Kariba’s bird-rich shoreline, or head out on the lake for a boat cruise or a spot of tiger fishing. Bumi’s proximity to Matusadona National Park allows for excellent game-viewing opportunities – go on game drives to see wildlife like rhino, elephant, buffalo and the famous Matusadona lion prides. Or simply relax beside Bumi’s show-stopping infinity edge swimming pool and gaze out over paradise until the enthralling sunset steals the show.”
DAY EIGHT – DAY ELEVEN
“Head back to the airstrip for your short-haul flight to Hwange, Zimbabwe’s biggest and best-known national park. Your accommodation for the next three days is Somalisa Camp, an elegant and authentic safari camp tucked away on a remote island of acacia trees within an ancient floodplain. Your elegantly furnished tent is equipped with a private viewing deck and an en suite bathroom that features a grand copper bathtub boasting superb views over the savannah. Somalisa is built around an elephant drinking hole, offering you the perfect ‘armchair safari’ experience as you watch Hwange’s gentle giants from the camp’s pool or viewing deck. If you want to leave the chair, go on 4×4 game drives and guided walks to get up-close with Africa’s Big 5. Birdwatchers will revel in the area’s wonderful display of feathered wildlife.”
DAY ELEVEN – DAY THIRTEEN
“Another short-haul flight will touch you down at Victoria Falls Airport. A road transfer will see you cross the border into Zambia and end at one of the country’s most indulgent and contemporary lodges. Thorntree River Lodge sits elegantly on the banks of the Zambezi River, just upstream from the world-famous Victoria Falls. Step into your intimate suite, your haven of tranquility for the next few days. Walk out onto your private deck, submerge into your sparkling plunge pool and drink in the views over one of Africa’s biggest rivers. Spend your last few days enjoying nature walks, kayaking and sunset boat cruises on the Zambezi. Leave the tranquility of the water’s edge for a thrilling visit to Vic Falls. Witnessing the sheer magnitude of this waterfall will genuinely take your breath away. Head back to the lodge for a sunset cruise on Thorntree’s private boat; refreshing drink in hand while listening to the distinct call of the African fish eagle and the humorous chortling of nearby hippos.”
As you can see it’s the perfect setting for a a novel and I hope and pray I was able to catch its beauty in my words. I also have moved South Africa up on my list of places I’d love to visit.
After spending six weeks out in the bush in South Africa working at the Freedom to Live Wildlife Sanctuary, Lynette had not only learned how to take care of wild exotic animals—the reason for her trip and to help her with her zoology degree—but she’d also fallen in love. Unfortunately, responsibilities back at home in the States forced her to have to walk away from the sanctuary and the man she loved. Heartbroken, she boarded a plane for home and never looked back.
Kate knows two things—one, thirty years ago, her mother studied abroad in South Africa, and two, she‘s been different ever since. Kate just doesn’t know why. After learning that her cancer is back with a vengeance, and finding her mother’s old love letters from a mysterious man at the sanctuary, Kate decides neither she nor her mother can wait any longer. She plans the trip of a lifetime—and under false pretenses—to get her mother back to South Africa, Kate embarks on aquest against what little time she has left to rekindle her mother’s love with the man Kate has only read about in the secret letters.