For those searching for a unique, wild and exclusive safari; Robin Pope Safaris offers one of the few such adventures still possible in this day and age. Away from cars, people, electricity and most excitingly cell phone signal and internet our mobiles safaris offers a total escape from day to day life and a feeling of being totally at one with nature. This exclusive safari sets off from Nkwali Camp heading north through the National Park on the 05 road – so named as it is a straight road (pretty much) heading at 05degrees. Whilst travelling through the great African void one gets the sense that you could ask your guide to stop at any point, step out of the vehicle, walk 5 meters into the bush and stand where no one has ever stood before. The drive up to the mobiles camp takes from between 3-6 hours depending on your guide and what you see so we send you off with a packed lunch and plenty of drinks. However as soon as you arrive at your new bush home Alfred the chef will have most likely prepared a delicious cake freshly baked in the ground oven and the rest of the team will be there ready to welcome you with cold flannels and drinks.
The moderately sized walk in tents have camp cots and solar lights which offers all the comforts that you need but remaining simple and to the point. After freshening up and a cup of tea it time to head out on the first walk of the trip. A short stroll in the afternoon to stretch the legs after the long car journey is exactly what is needed and gives you a great feel and idea of what is in store for the next 4 days. Arriving back in camp for a sundowner the evening activities of shower time occurs and the room attendants warm the water up over an open fire, getting the water to the perfect temperature before filling up the bucket shower and gently whistling so that the guide can let you know that the shower is ready. Once everyone is ready dinner under the stars is served before everyone dozily retreats to their tents for their first night of sleeping under canvas.
The mornings come round all too quickly and the room attendant knocks on the canvas door to your tent, fills up your water basin outside with fresh water and while you get up the team starts cooking the toast and porridge on the camp fire and the waiters pour out the tea and coffee.
The evenings are usually filled with a chorus of the sounds of the bush and in the mornings the staff and the guides excitedly discuss what they heard and from what direction. This then gives the guide a good idea on where he is going to head. The morning walk is always the longest of the day walking only as fast as the slowest person in the group the guide takes you out along with an armed scout and a tea bearer – where would we be without a mid morning cuppa and slice of cake.
Whilst you are out on your walk – back in camp the team will pack everything up, load it onto the enormous truck and relocate to the next camp. Everything will be unpacked and put back in your tent exactly as you left it. Water will be collected, fires lit and everything will be ship shape before you stroll slightly surprised into your new camp.
During your 5 day safari you will usually move camp 3 times which enables you to experience and explore far different areas along the Mupamadzi river. The river is a beautiful clear running sand river which is heavenly to wallow in during the heat of siesta time or for those slightly less brave to have a little paddle. It also acts as a source of life for all the animals in the area and attracts everything from the small to the large. During your safari you can expect to see a whole range of wildlife however given the remoteness of the area the game can occasionally be a little skittish which adds the charm as it is not always the best way to see animals when they are habituated and don’t run away. Walking through the bush offers an up close encounter with everything from ant lions to lions. Tracking the animals, taking a sense of the wind direction, noise and approach are all things that in every day life we take no notice of. However, up on mobiles all of these are integral to a successful sighting. Sneaking up on the animals downwind using the bush as cover so that they don’t see your silhouette and sitting in the shade of a bush waiting for the animals to come down to the water to drink.
It really is an incredible adventure and one that is always started with a certain amount of trepidation but ended with total enthusiasm and wanting of more. Sadly time to leave comes around all too soon and bags are packed up and its time to head on to Nsefu which is where we usually end the mobiles trip just to have a couple of days of slightly increased civilisation before heading on to your next destination.
Mobiles safaris is a wonderful experience and one that is almost impossible to accurately describe on paper and if you have a love of nature and want to explore the bush then this is absolutely the adventure for you.