“So how long has it been since you have been home?” Came this voice from behind me, “too long” was my reply.

Without even noticing I had placed my hand on the window of the plane as we touched down in Johannesburg. I could feel the warmth of the African sun through the window and I was drawing in as much as I can. I was back on African soil and more importantly I was back home to refuel my senses.

The sights, sounds, smells, touch and tastes of Africa will stay with you for a life time. Who can forget the sight of their first leopard? Mine was squashed in the back of my dad’s car with my brothers and sister while we were on self-drive safari in the Kruger National Park.

The sound of a lion roaring, especially when it is right next to you goes to the bottom of your soul and back. The smell of the bush after a particular long, hot day followed by a tremendous thunderstorm. The brief unexpected touch of a branch against your arm when you’re on a bush walk, makes your heart beat just a little bit faster than it should. And finally the tastes of a brilliant cook meal from what is essentially a very modest kitchen. All of these contribute to your senses being challenged and tested when out on safari.

I always enjoy travelling with people who have never been on safari before as from the moment they arrive their senses are on overdrive.

“Wow look at that!”

“What’s that sound?”

“Could it be a lion?”

And as you drive past a rotting animal carcass: “Eww, what’s that smell?”.

And then, at dinner it is: “Wow the food is so good and the wine is just perfect!”

With your senses on full alert all day long it is not surprising that when you head off to sleep at night you do have the best night sleep as your mind, body and soul are so just exhausted.

Ok yes, I agree it does take a bit of time to learn that the scratching you can hear outside is not a lion sharpening his claws, it is actually a brunch rubbing up against the side of the tent…or is it??

So as the plane is making its way to the arrival gate I am full of excitement and wonder what my senses are going to get treated to this time round.

Am I going to see my first pangolin?

Am I going to hear the call of the fish eagle?

Am I going to smell the pungent smell of a ruptured stomach as a leopard
starts to tear into its kill?

Am I going to feel the first refreshing few raindrops on my skin at the start of a storm?

And am I going to taste something new and unusual?

It is time to get off this plane and find out…..