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Just returned from Ulusaba...
It was a 36 hour trip, all the way from LA, but I can honestly say its so worth it in every way!
When we got off the plane we were met by my old friend Karl; he is in charge of making sure Ulusaba runs at peek performance. He welcomed me and my friends with open arms and immediately asked about my son, Jaden. My son and I had the trip of a lifetime three years ago at Ulusaba and so I was looking forward to sharing all that this wonderful place has to offer with my friends on this occasion.
We were taken to the brand new and just completed addition to Ulusaba; Cliff Lodge. It couldn't have been more spectacular, the rooms were incredibly elegant. It has a private chef and people to help you with whatever you may need at a moments notice. The only thing one must remember is to lock the doors when going on a game drive, otherwise the baboons will have their way with your stuff!
We were treated to massages in the private spa, located directly under the first floor of the Lodge. The view was even more wonderful than I had remembered and my friends were blown away!
The next day, we got up at 5:30am for our first game drive. It was an exciting hike down the hill to get to the vehicle and our tracker Sammy. Karl was leading the way.
We started out with seeing a huge Rhino with her baby, then Zebra, Buffalo, and some Worthogs; not the most attractive creatures! It seemed to be the season for making babies, because practically every different species we saw was "having the time of their lives!" with each other. Mother Nature was definitely in full swing!
Of course I was single this trip, so I just enjoyed watching nature take its course in the wild!
The bonfire dinner that evening was incredible, with many of the local foods for all of us to enjoy. I implored the 45 people there to all make a donation, whatever they could, to Pride 'n Purpose. So much can be done with the smallest amount of money given.
The following day, my friends and I all went to the village outside of the reserve to finally visit the creche that myself and Richard Branson had split the cost of together. It was an amazing moment. I truly got to see how important it is, no matter what position you hold in life, the best thing to do is serve humanity in whatever way you can. The smiles on the faces of the 60 children that we saw, will be with me the rest of my life. The gratitude and the appreciation was overwhelming and beautiful.
Our friends at Puma had also donated 60 pairs of sneakers for the kids. Placing them on their little feet, I felt like I was in some kind of Cinderella fairy tale. Nickelodeon also donated a bunch of stuffed animals that we were all happy to hand out. The hugs and the love we received will not be forgotten.
On the way back to Ulusaba, we saw some ladies doing laundry in the river. We spoke with them and discovered that they would have to walk a couple of miles back to their home, with damp clothing in buckets on their heads. We offered them our vehicle and again, we all experienced gratitude and appreciation from them.
One of the other highlights for me and my friends was fishing in the lake filled with Hippos. I hadn't done that before and it was great hearing them all and seeing them splash around.
I am truly blessed to have been given this chance to spend time in such a magical place. To see the ten week old lion cubs playing with their mother was gorgeous.
We had a magnificent picnic by a beautiful waterfall and a late night BBQ by a hyena infested lake. (We didn't see them, but we could hear them.) This place is a reminder that if I'm not thinking positive thoughts, whatever else I'm thinking doesn't really matter.
The trip was simply fantastic and I can't wait to go back again! There is no doubt that Ulusaba, place of little fear, is truly the hardest place I've ever had to leave. That's why I never will. There will always be a part of me left behind and a part of Ulusaba that I keep with me wherever I may go.
Until next time,
Ulusaba: Introducing our new Safari Suite
Ulusaba branches out for Arbor Month
Food Friday: Ostrich Fillet with Biltong
Ulusaba: The Masungulo Preschool
Ulusaba: Shining a light on elephant conservation
Ulusaba: An epic week at work by Trevor Savage
Ulusaba: Ntseveni School Construction Project
Ulusaba: Community spirit
Ulusaba: Rhino Warriors
Ulusaba: Have you heard this tweet?