Guest Blog by Nathan Szwarc
Dust rises as our guide manouveres the super-duty Land Rover through the dirt tracks and dense bush in search of a family of elephants. Suddenly, someone in the game car calls out “Over there!” and our guide, Warren, promptly cuts the engine. We roll to a dead-stop and stare in awe at this massive creature only feet away from our car. The Elephant’s ears give a flowing flap and make a “whoosh” that echoes as it tears leaves from an Acacia tree. After quickly deconstructing one tree the elephant searches for another tree to snack on, scanning the environment by tilting his enormous head around the bush towards us. He spots a tree behind us and slowly begins to lumber toward the game car, making a snorting sound as he throws his trunk in the air for a moment as if to say I am coming that way. Sure enough the elephant walks right past the game vehicle and before entirely passing he stops and gazes inside the truck with his deep dark almost black eye, surrounded by long, hair-like eyelashes which were engulfed in his grey, wrinkled leather-like skin that was lightly coated in vibrant orange dust. As he did this, I locked eyes with him and felt a profound connection not only to him but the whole environment around me.
I would like to say this was a once in a lifetime moment, which it indeed is to some extent, but at Erindi moments like this seemed to happen not just daily but hourly! Whether it was seeing a giant, lumbering heard of elephants perfectly silhouetted in the massive setting sun in the African bush. A cheetah devouring its freshly caught prey as a thunderstorm rolls in behind it, lighting up the endless sky with bolts of lightning cascading from the storm. Giraffes popping their heads up from behind trees as we drove by, or lion cubs basking in the midday sun under close guard of their parents. The sights of Erindi are endless. In one day alone, we would see a collection of animals/birds that most people will never see in their lifetime. Not only was the endless wildlife spectacular, but the surrounding scenery was surreal. Each morning we were greeted by a wave of morning light that turned the whole sky a multitude of different oranges, yellows, and deep reds. The afternoon would consist of warm sunlight, and usually a quite impressive, and drenching, thunderstorm. It was incredible to see how quickly the landscape was transformed from a burnt-orange, desert-like scene to a lush jungle scene with deep greens and vivid yellow flowers that popped up everywhere. Every evening, literally every evening, we were graced with a sunset that I thought could never be beaten, of course, that is until the next evening. At night the stars glistened, as the milky way stretched from one end to the other of the night sky.
Accommodation at Erindi just like many other things seems to be an experience you just can’t find in many other places. The rooms are spectacular and spacious, and many open up to a view of the African bush. One morning I woke up to find an oryx twenty feet from my door just beyond the fence that separated the rooms from the bush. I highly doubt there are many places where you can wake up with wildlife roaming in sight of where you sleep, and yet still be in a comfortable, luxurious room. Continuing, the food at Erindi was nothing short of spectacular. You have a wide selection of foods that always taste amazing and feature fresh tasting ingredients. Whether it be made-to-order omelettes for breakfast, African stews for lunch, or grilled oryx for dinner you certainly will not go hungry, even if you are on a special diet such as vegetarian like myself. Also, the staff, just like our guide Warren, were so accommodating. We were always greeted with smiles and never had any issues at all. We were even allowed to use the conference room for five days straight for our photo-editing sessions. We were also promptly picked up and dropped off by Erindi’s driver at our desired locations, making it a stress-free trip.
If you are looking to see “once in a lifetime” sights by the hour, I would suggest Erindi. I would also suggest Erindi for anyone of any age. Personally, I am already trying to plan a trip back, and I have yet even to finish editing the thousands of photos I took! The ones I have though have been some of my favourites ever!