30 Jan 2017

Travel Diaries #4: An Unexpected Surprise

Travel Diaries: Singita Lebombos on vickiarcher.com

There is something of a surprise in the African bush.

And I don’t mean the big 5 of the animal kingdom.

Singita Lebombo in the Kruger National Park, Monday afternoon.

I am talking about colour.

I don’t mean the camouflage gold’s of Leopard, Cheetah and Giraffe or the shimmering greys of the Antelope families but the heart melting shades of the African birds, butterflies and wildflowers. I have been mesmerised by the colours of southern Africa and haven’t appreciated before the incredible combinations nature has dreamt up.

If there were a place to seek inspiration for interior palettes it would be here.

On first glance the bush registers as a canvas of complex greens, every shade imaginable from the pale-barely-there to the almost iridescent. Look a little closer and the animals with their elaborate coats and personal adornments add another layer. Black and white stripes, blocks and zigzag play a big part in bush decor. Delve a little further and the birdlife throws a curve ball of colour when you least expect it. The violets, the rose tones, the indigos and turquoise hues shake my commitment to the monochrome and neutrals. These beauties are beyond beautiful.

The birds are small, minute in some cases and each species is unique and adapted to suit the environment. Colour is oftentimes how they survive. They are magicians in their own right; changing colours when the need arises. The most insignificant brown feathers can turn to vivid yellows and cardinal reds.

Butterflies, prolific after the rain, play amongst the grasses in every primary colour. I can’t remember their names but I can see their fluttering brilliance as I recall them now.

And the wildflowers,

The wildflowers are pastel and perfect; wild foxgloves and bush hibiscus have sprung up all over the Kruger Park. Baby blue and pink foxgloves contrast with the soft lemon of the wild hibiscus.

I didn’t imagine a Garden of Eden when I came on safari.

The beauty of nature; it is always a surprise. More about life in Lebombo tomorrow; it’s time for another adventure. xv

image, singita lebombo conde naste

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Lisa Sweeney

Thank you for all your posts and information on your safari!! I would love for my family to do this , and all your information is awesome ! I love it, and get more excited with every post!


Having spent my formative years in Africa ages 6 to 18, your pictures mean a lot to me, thank you. In those years the game lodges were not so glamourous, my, how they’ve changed and for the better. I returned, from Europe, once, for an animal observation safari with my then two young boys of 6 and 9 years and we loved the whole experience including the “new look” accommodation and cuisine. On looking at your accommodation I am wondering if any of the wonderful wild-life will find your comfortable bed as inviting as it is for us. Take care !!
Meanwhile enjoy every minute as I am sure you will,
Bizzzz, bizzz,

david terry

Well, surely you know this quotation (with its evocative mention of the colors of Africa) from Isak Dineson’s “Out of Africa”, Vicki…….

“If I know a song of Africa–I thought—of the giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the field, and the sweaty faces of the coffee-pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Would the air over the plain quiver with a color that I had had on, ore the children invent a game in which my name was, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or would the eagles of Ngong look out for me?”

Drink in all you can while the cup’s being offered to you…..and, as Alexandra Fuller (a more than necessary corrective to Dineson’s solipcism) has written, in her own memoirs of Africa, “Don’t Let’s go to the dogs tonight”…..

David Terry

Sally Leonard

What a fascinating journey you are on! I never imagined there would be any colors other than green and brown. Certainly didn’t know there could be wildflowers!
Looking forward to more posts!

Anita Rivera

A totally different palette to fall in love with, isn’t it, Vicki! What a gorgeous photo here, and you must be enjoying the dry air, warm light as well as new tastes and sights. Love joining you on this safari of sorts!

trish murphy

Vicki I am so enjoying reading about your wonderful safari. Happy Birthday to you as well.David …Sublime


Love your descriptions of the flowers springing up after the rains – and the butterflies. What a wonderful time to have visited!
They appeal to me more than the big creatures that have so many negative connotations (not their fault of course) unfortunately – of the old time safaris where the white hunters shot anything that moved – and even today’s poachers and those who continue to hunt for sport. Have also seen so many elephants etc in the past, both wild and tame. They used to walk along the street where we once lived – and I did love them.
But the butterflies sound so lovely. Best wishes, Pamela


As this is my home country I can know exactly what you mean. The most beautiful colours! Not to mention the difference of summer and winter light. Nature is my inspiration for almost everything and South Africans tend to live very close to nature. Unfortunately we do not appreciate this
privilege enough.


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