26 Jan 2017

Travel Diaries #2: The Art Of Camouflage

Travel Diaries on vickiarcher.com

From the travel diaries.

Madikwe Game Reserve on the border of Botswana, Wednesday, I-have-no-idea-of-the-time.

Time feels as if it stands still in Madikwe.

I am looking out over a deck past a waterhole with zebras and elephants aplenty. The sound of unfamiliar birdsong, sharper and more high pitched than the French chansons I am accustomed to, punctuates the stillness.

If heaven is in the bush, I have arrived.

The serenity, the peace and the tranquillity are deceptive; life is far from placid in the surrounding bush lands.

Put a foot wrong and there are a myriad of serious complications waiting.

It’s deceptive under the African skies; I like to describe it as docile with a dose of danger.

We started our journey in a small “commuter” airport in Johannesburg.

Have I ever said to you I don’t believe in coincidence? Generally I don’t.

Here we are in the terminal, the terminal where time stood still. A plane has landed and as the passengers disembark and make their way inside I hear a voice, a familiar voice. A voice that could only belong to my friend Serena, (you met her here) a woman with a melodic voice that is quite captivating. I stood up, looked around and there she was in all her gorgeous glory fresh from safari. She had come from the very place, Madikwe, that it would seem we were travelling too.

It was totally serendipitous. What were the chances?

A small, extremely small plane ride later we touched down in nature’s wonderland.

**Have I ever mentioned I am not a fan of small airplanes?

Deep breathing, lots of eye closing and solitaire on my mobile saves the day, and the thought of the prize at the end of the terror. Silly I know, but it’s how it is. 

Arriving at the Lodge we are greeted by our hosts; with names like, Precious, Happi and Lucky what’s not to love? We are yet to meet Content.

Our first game drive and my eyes are still back in London, on the streets dodging traffic and wandering pedestrians; here in the wilds it takes time to adjust. I spot nothing and the art of camouflage is working against me. It’s wild kingdom 10 to my 0. The residents are there, they aren’t hiding or playing it cool; I simply can’t see them. Elephants, Giraffe, Rhino, all types of Antelope and not to mention the dazzles of Zebra are in plain site for those who are habituated.

Lucky that Lucky, our driver and tracker (I had to put those ‘two’ in a sentence) and David have eyes of steel and x-ray vision.  David should come back as a tracker in his next life; he can’t be fooled with camouflage. With a 5am start he is sharp as a tack; I’m still struggling with the art of dressing myself. So far good with the pack and thank goodness for the field jacket and extra large scarf.

This afternoon I will try and master the camouflage, get those eyes searching and piercing through the dense African scrub and try to decipher the secrets within. I’ll let you know the updated score. xv

image madikwe, iconic africa

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So true! the skies tonight were out of this world.. I thought Provence was dramatic… ;)


Hi Vicki and David, welcome to Southern Africa, enjoy the tranquility, reflect and make the most of the serenity and the beauty of the bushveld, the African sunsets can be spectacular.

Jennifer Lively

The best trip I’ve ever taken was to Botswana! The people are delightful, the animals amazing and the camps picture perfect. I know you will enjoy many memorable sights and sounds. My piece of advice is always have your camera with you. I look forward to reading many more of your travel posts!


L❤️VELY! I am definitely thankful that you are kind enough to share ALL your WONDERFUL Adventures with us. Seriously, I think sometimes I am having as much fun reading your posts as you are actually doing them! Enjoy the beauty, the serenity, and David. Serendipity is the BEST! ❤️


AFRICA is truly BEAUTIFUL and this set up is EXQUISITE!
CAPTURE every moment for us!
I am headed your way in MAY but I do realize you will most likely be in FRANCE!
The ITALIAN gave me a trip to ENGLAND to see the CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW!
Iam THRILLED…………the trip will then end with SISSINGHURST!They may have to pick me up off the DIRT!!!!A COFFEE or a glass of wine would be lovely……….I WOULD LOVE TO MEET YOU!

Anita Rivera

Hello Vicki! I saw your photo on Instagram, then I thought I came by earlier; but what excitement for you to be in this exotic space, a place to see yourself in a different environment and against a different backdrop from the familiar. ENJOY!


I can’t wait to see what you spy, Vicki! What a fantastic man, your dear husband, to pull this off!
Life is but a dream…enjoy every second of this dream come true! xx


Not a fan of small planes either. Avoid them as much as possible! Also play solitaire on my phone on similar occasions.
Have a great time on safari! It looks beautiful but isn’t my scene (despite “Out of Africa” being one of my fave films) – would far rather be in the countryside of Provence. Have lived in a country where there are elephants and lots of other wildies – and visited the jungles but that was enough for me. Give me olive groves, vineyards, orchards and lovely old patinated buildings not far from the Med.
Do love the table on the terrace with all the lamps and candles though. Have fun and good luck spotting the animals. Pamela


As we say in Africa …look through the bush not into the bush. You’ll find awesome sightings.

Leslie in Oregon

Lovely photographs, Vicki. I will never forget the three weeks I spent exploring east Africa in the early 1970s. What you describe reminds me of that wonderful time. You’ve mentioned many of the wild animals all around during that visit, but not lions. Are there lions in your part of Botswana?


Yes we have seen one beautiful pride so far… :) So many babies in the reserve at the moment… So lovely… baby zebra, cubs, wildebeest and elephant… Heaven!


My darling,
The vistas are dream-inducing, but I am wondering in all this beauty, where is your hat?
Sitting here in the grey Pacific Northwest, worries about sun damage are still at the fore.

Esther George

Hi Vicki, all I can say is have a wonderful time, and thank you for sharing your adventures. I hope they don’t have pesky flies and mozzies like we do, but just in case…Don’t forget the Aeroguard…. I can only imagine the beauty around you. Till next time, regards Esther from Sydney.


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