Noosa, located on Queensland’s sunshine coast, is a great destination for families, solo travellers, couples and everything in between. There is a bit of something for everyone - and great weather most year round to greet you.
On a recent visit we discovered the Noosa Heads Coastal Walk - one of the great coastal walks in Australia, up there with the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk in New South Wales. If you like getting outdoors and experiencing amazing scenery, this walk ticks those boxes.
Starting from Hastings Street, the main street of Noosa, the start of the walk is easily accessible. Grab your morning coffee from a Hastings street cafe and then meander north in the uphill direction and you will join the boardwalk path.
There are a number of walking tracks to take in this area that allow you to discover the National Park, we opted for the Coastal Track - but an inland track is also available for those that like to discover that sort of terrain.
The walk starts out as a beautiful wide boardwalk path making it accessible even for those with strollers or wheelchairs. Most of the path is accessible - up until Dolphin Point where we saw those with strollers turning around as it gets a bit narrow with rougher terrain.
The coastal walk is a great fitness track and many locals use it for their regular routine, however as tourists we took the opportunity to do a slow meander and enjoy all the scenery had to offer.
Rugged coastline, crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, this is a stunning part of Australia.
There is a look out called Dolphin Point - where I did not see any dolphins, but at another stop along the way I watched a pod of some 15 dolphins playing in the waves - it was amazing. If you have the time to enjoy the walk at leisure, be sure to take some regular stops to soak it all in. Whales are regularly sited in-season (August to November) and Koalas can be spotted in the trees.
We walked as far as Hells Gate, about a 3.7km walk from Hastings Street, there is an option to follow the heads around to Sunshine Beach and then grab a bus to return - we opted for the return walk from midway point.
Take a Swim
If you love the surf, there are plenty of opportunities to stop off for a swim or catch some waves at quiet secluded beaches. The crowds at Noosa Main Beach are overwhelming during peak seasons, the beaches along this walk offer a much more isolated experience. The sands are white, the water is clear and they offer welcome relief from the crowds. However look out for the stingers - Queensland beaches can be unforgiving when it comes to marine life that sting and the beaches in Noosa are no exception.
There are plenty of picnic spots along the way with welcome shade from the harsh Australian sun. There were very limited toilet or water spots along the trail so be sure to pack a backpack with the essentials - hat, sunscreen, water - and if you have the time pack a picnic and enjoy one of the many stops along the way to soak it all in this a great place to do it.
Have you ever taken this walk? Leave us a comment about your highlight of the experience.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
If you are visiting Port Villa, Vanuatu for an extended stay, or on a cruise port day visit, and are looking for something adventurous to try a fun activity is Zip Lining through the jungle! Popular with both locals and visitors, this is a great way to see the lesser visited areas of this destination.
We have only ever visited Port Villa on cruise ship port days and have tried a few of the excursions on offer, for our Christmas 2018 cruise visit we opted for flying through the jungle on a zip line.
From the cruise port we joined 10 seater vans for the 30 minute journey out to the location. Along the way there was plenty of opportunity to see a bit of the town and our driver provided commentary as we passed a local school, the prison and drove through the main street.
As the activity is up in the mountains we were transferred at the base of a very steep driveway into 4WD vehicles with a bit of grunt for the descent up. A narrow and windy road took us to the top - a drive I would not like to attempt in my city SUV.
Upon arrival we were strapped into harnesses, given gloves and hard hats and triple checked to make sure we were secure before heading into the jungle. As our guides pointed out - the equipment is faultless the only thing that can go wrong is human error. They were very thorough in checking the equipment, something I was very thankful for once I was in the air!
Before we took our first leap of faith we needed to climb a few flights of stairs of a man made platform to our first launching point - from then on in it was all zipping through the jungle from one tree to another like Tarzan! There were a couple of short lines to get us warmed up and used to the experience before we crossed a rope bridge to our first serious experience - and what an experience it was.
As we came out of the jungle we were zipping across a ravine with views of the beach to the right, beautiful cliff faces to the left - and a massive drop beneath our feet! (This is where I was thankful for the triple check of the equipment.)
The great thing about the experience is all the landing platforms are built into the jungle trees. You really do get a Tarzan like experience as you fly from one tree to another.
Generally people were propelled as single fliers, however on one of the longer lines our 12 and 9 year olds were clipped together to ensure there was enough weight to get them all the way across to the other side. An experience they enjoyed!
There were six lines in total and a couple of rope bridges hanging amongst the trees to walk across. Definitely not an experience for anyone afraid of heights - a great experience for travellers that like to do more in a city than just sit in a bus and see the sights.
At the end of the experience there was a bit of a walk through the jungle, including one steep climb of stairs, but there were some great views along the way to take away from the burn in the legs!
We booked our tour through the P&O excursion desk onboard. Tickets were priced at $129 per adult and $99 per child. We got lucky when we booked - they had kids fly free so it only cost us $258 for the family of four.
There are some great youtube clips showcasing the experience if you are after a visual of this fun activity take a look.
Verdict from our family - mum, dad, 12yo boy and 9yo girl - would definitely do it again!
Another great experience added to our travel memories.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family.
By Guest Blogger: Vixen Mixer
Food and holidays certainly go hand in and hand, following Itchy Feet Family’s review of Juan More Taco’s Walking Foodie Tour in San Jose I happened to be in Cabo San Lucas so decided to try Juan More Taco’s Cooking Class.
Each day the cooking class’s food agenda changes and whilst I was pretty flexible on what I cooked my inquiry to join the class the following day was promptly responded to by Issi with encouragement to do hold out for Thursday Paella Day. With the weather looking average for the next few days I locked in his suggestion and waited hungrily for Thursday to arrive!
The cooking tour is a small group activity with no more than 10 people. The tour starts by visiting a few local shops, including a tortilla factory where the majority of the town’s tortillas are produced. The group were able to sample the tortillas whilst they were still warm, crisped up and touched with salt. We knew the day was looking good after the first salty bite! We also visited a local grocer and fish supplier and Issi quickly moved through the stores making sure we had enough time to see a little part of daily life, but respecting that cooking was our main game and reason for joining him.
The actual class is conducted in Issi’s home with a converted area as a work kitchen (separate from the main area of the home). Around a long table the other seven tourists I’d just met became friends as we squeezed limes, seeded chillies, chopped seafood and vegetables and listened to Issi share his tips on preparation and Mexican cooking.
This tour is just as much for kids as it is adults. On our tour we had a father and daughter enjoying the day and Issi confirmed that many children come along, mostly over the age of 10 years old.
The class is as ‘hands on’ as you wish. We were all keen participants and I was particularly pleased when the first item we made and shared was a Margherita – certainly I can make that! My view on tequila quickly changed as Issi introduced the higher grade of tequila and shared his prepared recipe. Of course you can enjoy the virgin version as well, for the children and non-drinker just as much fuss is made to make special drinks sans alcohol in keeping with the family friendly activity.
Moving into appetisers we chopped and diced and the plain tortilla chips were transformed into taste sensations as we enjoyed a range of salsas. There were lots of variations on what you find in traditional eateries which highlighted the delight of home-made food. We had to forcibly stop snacking so that we could enjoy the paella in the next phase of our class!
Over the stove we stirred, fried and watched our paella come to life, with lots of wonderful spice tips. Whilst some of us stirred, others pressed dough into small tortillas and flipped them on a hot grill.
When the main meal was served a quiet calm came over the room whilst we all savoured every bite and nodded a lot, motioned to each other to ‘try a bit of this’ and generally just enjoyed food in the way we genuinely should. After lunch we were chatting so much dessert was nearly forgotten, but Issi quickly rectified this and his generous assistant whipped up a delicious finish to our incredible meal.
In such a wonderful atmosphere the group shared stories of home, travel, love and more. At the end of our several hours together we left not only full of amazing food but also with some new friends from around the globe and memories that are deeper than just a good feed.
The warmth of Issi’s home makes this experience something more than just a tour and as the food changes daily you could easily do more than one day – if you’re not committed to weighing in on your return home!
Until the next adventure…..The Vixen Mixer
If you have been to the Gold Coast or Brisbane and done all the run of the mill attractions, here is a day trip with a difference: Get Wrecked with tour operator Sunset Safaris.
So long as you don’t mind a full day out - getting off the mainland and onto the world’s third largest sand island - Moreton Island - is a great adventure for the whole family.
With a 5:45am pick up from the Gold Coast we boarded a tour bus via Brisbane to catch a catamaran across to Moreton Island that departed at 8:30am. It is a long morning, but with a bus driver at the wheel we took the opportunity to catch a few more moments of sleep before our big day.
The ride across to the island took about an hour and was fairly smooth sailing. We were fascinated that the catamaran just pulled up onto the beach, put down it’s front and off drove the 4WD vehicles ready to explore this amazing island.
Upon arrival at Moreton Island this tour kicks into action - the group was split into snorkelers and kayakers and we were kitted up with wetsuits and life vests to hit the water and explore the Moreton Island wrecks.
There are 15 ships purposefully wrecked at Moreton Island that are home to a myriad of sea life, including coral. From the top of the water, through the transparent kayaks, we got a glimpse of what lied beneath.
The sea was a bit rough, this activity is not for anyone afraid of being out on the ocean, but the current was strong and you could go with the flow most of the way. We have done a few kayak tours as a family, most recently in the Norwegian Fjords at Olden, so were excited to try out a translucent kayak - it was fascinating!
Once we had kayaked we were kitted up with wetsuits and snorkelling gear and a Jet Ski ferried us out to the wrecks. Again, the sea was quite rough and the current strong which meant we pretty well had to just go with the flow, fighting against the current was fruitless.
Snorkelling the wrecks is an amazing activity. There is an abundant amount of sea life to swim amongst and the coral forming near the wrecks was impressive. This is the southern most part of Australia that you will see Great Barrier Reef coral.
The kids love the experience of snorkelling and although the seas were rough and it was hard work, the tour guides were great in providing a buoyant ring to just grab onto when we needed a break. We all wore life jackets so although we couldn’t dive down into the sea, not having one in slightly rough waters would have been a struggle.
Post water activities we refuelled with the provided lunch of salad rolls, potato chips and oranges before boarding a 4WD tour bus that took us out onto the bumpy roads/ tracks of the Island towards the Desert. A 20 minute ride along a one way 4WD only track brought us to a sandy oasis of dunes just begging to be conquered.
With our primitive bits of plank wood we hiked to the top of the dunes to take on the mounds head first! Again, not for the faint hearted, this is an adrenaline run launching yourself off the side of that dune head first with only a thin plank of wood between you and the sand.
“Arch your back, feet off the ground and elbows up” the tour guide suggested as they pushed us off the edge. The comment “Or not” generally followed as tourist after tourist our elbows hit the ground, followed by our faces, as we rolled or tumbled near the bottom of the dune!
It is amazing how sand can find it’s way into every crevice of your body, every pocket on your clothing, every inch of you - following a face plant and tumble in a sand dune at high speed!
Covered in sand and still shaking it out of our ears, hair and nostrils we head back to the beach to catch a 3:30pm ferry back to Brisbane and a long bus ride via Brisbane CBD to arrive back on the Gold Coast at 7:15pm.
This day tour absolutely exhausted our family of four, Miss 8 slept most of the bus ride back to the Gold Coast and she NEVER sleeps in a car! Master 11 stayed awake but was very hungry and tired by the end of the trip.
The time on the island was absolutely jam packed and we were constantly on the go - but with so many activities to get through it had to be that way. There was very little, if any, time to just chill on the beach and enjoy the surroundings. Leaving from Brisbane would cut out the early start and late finish but would still be a full day.
If you have never had the opportunity to visit Moreton Island this is a great option to squeeze in a visit when next in Queensland.
For more details, visit the Sunset Safaris website and check out their Get Wrecked tour.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
*Itchy Feet Family were guests of Sunset Safaris on this day tour.
A great way to explore a city is to take a guided tour with a local and what better way to do that than walking from restaurant to restaurant trying the local food. When we heard about this walking food tour in San Jose it ticked all the boxes for an authentic Mexican experience.
Whilst in Mexico we wanted to explore the local streets and try the food the locals eat, but were also cautious and hesitant as to where we could explore safely. With the help of a local, in our case Francisco, we were guided through a culinary journey sampling tacos, tamales, ice-cream and more at local restaurants and street vendors that we otherwise would not have known existed.
In fact on our first night in San Jose we had visited the same local area the tour took us through but had stopped one street short of all the great restaurants as we had questioned the safety of the area. If only we had done this tour earlier in our itinerary!
Francisco ensured us all the places we visited were places he has taken his family providing an authentic local experience. Each location served us the specialty of the house and provided plenty of variety and options to step out of your culinary comfort zone.
The first three restaurants on the tour all served a variety of tacos in the options of either a corn or flour soft taco or a crispy flat tostada. As we restaurant hopped we tried tacos filled with smoked Marlin (our favourite), Sea Bass and then a marinated pork. A fresh condiment bar at the first restaurant provided plenty of local flavour and the second restaurant offered a fiery sauce to sample - Miss 8 was brave enough to try but instantly regretted the choice. I wish I had videoed her facial expressions they were priceless!
One of the great insights was to discover that real Mexican food rarely includes cheese! And Mexicans do not eat hard shelled Tacos! Clearly our love of Mexican food comes from the American version of Mexican cuisine that has filtered across the world. Can you imagine Nachos without cheese!
The three hour tour included visits to four seated restaurants as well as stops at a Pearl Shop and Tequila Tasting Bar. At the pearl shop Miss 8 picked the lucky door prize and was rewarded with a pearl which was opened in front of us, fresh from the pearl farm.
Our final two destinations of the tour were a Tamales street vendor followed by a local ice-cream store. Whilst the Tamales were not to our taste we were grateful for the opportunity to try them. We had always wondered what Tamales were - and to try them from a street vendor that was being frequented by locals was a great authentic experience.
The Tamales, in my non culinary layman terms, are a thick wrap made from maize stuffed with a choice of filling that come in both savoury and sweet. The wrap is steamed in a maize husk or banana leaf and has quite a distinctive flavour. We tried both a pork and a chicken and neither really kicked goals for our tastebuds.
Overall we were really glad to have chosen this experience. The group of five ladies from the US East Coast that joined us on the tour brought some great interactions to the table and made us feel welcome. The kids appreciated the authentic experience and we all enjoyed trying something new.
Find out more details here at Juan More Taco Tours.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to have a great family adventure and there are things on your own doorstep that can create special family moments and memories.
We are fortunate enough to live in Adelaide, South Australia, which comes alive in the month of March for what is commonly known as “Mad March”. There are a myriad of activities that fill the city every night providing a plethora of entertainment options for all ages. One such highlight is the Parade of Lights.
When I told the kids about this activity they remembered a similar experience we had in San Antonio Texas where a central building was projected upon each night on a half hourly rotation depicting the story of The Alamo. If the kids thought that one building was great - the Adelaide Parade of Lights was going to take that entertainment value to a whole new level.
Part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival the Parade of Lights is an open air free exhibition projecting imagery, short film and laser displays onto the buildings of North Terrace.
Eight buildings along North Terrace feature in the spectacular each providing a unique exhibit captivating the strolling crowds of the balmy Autumn evenings.
A special highlight was the Northern Lights display where a mixture of laser light and a smoke machine provided a rough replica of the Aurora Borealis.
Given the distance between Adelaide, South Australia and Iceland, the art display provides a glimpse into the northern lights that many South Australians will most likely never actually experience.
The thing we loved about this activity is that it was free, we were outside enjoying an awesome Autumn evening and the displays were captivating for all ages.
We also opted for a pre Parade of Lights dinner in North Adelaide, left the car a little out the city and walked a 5km loop. A great option as it turned out the traffic in Adelaide at this time of the year is CRAZY!
The Parade of Lights runs from 8:30pm - 12am each night of the Adelaide Fringe from February 16 - March 18, 2018. If you are in Adelaide during March be sure to check this activity out.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
Cycling tours have become a bit of a staple activity for us on our travels. So when in London we decided to join Fat Tire Tours London on a four hour Royal London Bike Tour.
Advertised as a tour to show us the main sites with a traditional pub lunch in between, we were in. And, given the awesome tour we had done just the week before in Berlin, we did not hesitate to book with Fat Tire.
However cycling in London is quite a different beast to cycling in the rice fields of Vietnam, the temples of Bali or the bike friendly city of Berlin. I think we failed to factor in just how BUSY London is!
London Not Exactly A cycling Town
London is not exactly what I would describe as a cycle-friendly town. Well, lets be honest it is hard enough as a pedestrian to get around the major attractions - try and do it on two wheels and the challenge increases - even more when you are only seven years old.
And with tourists in all the major hot spots coming from every corner of the globe, the acceptance of cyclists and the patience and courtesy offered varied depending on who you ran into!
We did get to see all the major royal sites Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Marble Arch and the commentary offered by our guide Paul was informative.
Cycling through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens offered relief from the major tourist hubs. In fact, even though we lived in England before the kids, there were corners of the parks explored on this tour that we had not discovered before. The gentle ride through the parks was some of the most enjoyable moments of the tour.
English Pub Lunch
Our anticipation of a traditional English Pub lunch was squashed when our guide took us into the centre of Trafalgar Square and gave us 25 minutes to find lunch, go to the bathroom and return to our bikes to continue.
“Don’t order food at the pub” we were informed “We have English people serving and you will never get your food in time.”
A sandwich from Boots, a queue to use the bathroom at the pub and we stood shovelling food in our mouths before jumping back on our bikes to continue - not exactly a relaxing quaint English pub meal.
Fat Tire offer a variety of kids bikes, as well as child seats - so they are a great option for families. On a stop in the park, passers by were asking which tour company we were with as they were pleasantly surprised to see so many children on the tour.
Would I recommend a London Cycling Tour? Well as long as you know what you are in for. Our seven year old was probably a bit young to be cycling on her own, our ten year old however handled it pretty well.
It was a pretty stressful experience constantly watching the children weave in between the hoards of pedestrian tourists - but as long as you are prepared for that I say go for it.
You can find more details of Fat Tire London Tours at their website. For more ideas on things to do in London check our this Visit London guide that has a packed 3 day itinerary.
Itchy Feet Family
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- Christmas Cruising: Pros and Cons
- Getting Dirty in Vietnam
- 24 hours in Sydney with Kids
- Cruise Ship Lingo - Understanding the Cruiselings
Travelling Europe with kids has it’s challenges. Whilst the adults marvel in the history and architecture - it does not quite hold the appeal a Disneyland holiday has for a 7 and 10 year old. Keeping the kids entertained whilst also giving them a historical and cultural lesson can be tricky.
Our kids hate doing bus tours, they simply don’t enjoy any part of them. Before children we would always do a hop-on-hop-off tour to orientate ourselves in a new city. However our kids simply whinge the whole time - trust me we tried it!
It is for this reason we have started to opt for city cycling tours. We have done a few in places like Bali, Vietnam, New York and now have added to the list with the Fat Tire Berlin Day City Tour.
Range of Kids Bikes
Depending on the tour company, kids are catered for in a range of ways. Child bikes, child seats for the adult’s bike - or as we just tried in Berlin, tag-along bikes. Essentially a tandem bike, the child has their own seat and pedals but the adult bike brakes and steers from the front whilst the child tags along.
We started with a child’s bike for our seven year old however as we were cycling on roads through some traffic we opted for the tag-along for safety. Whilst she can ride confidently on the open parks and walkways at home, we decided she probably was not really confident enough to ride through Berlin traffic. For the most part the tour was in parks and on cycling pathways, however there were occasional stretches of city traffic to manoeuvre.
Our 10 year old on the other hand relished the freedom and cycled up the front of the group right alongside the tour guide.
Berlin City Highlights
The beauty of a cycling tour is that you get to see all the main attractions - we visited Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Museum Island, The Berlin Wall, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and more, all the sights you would see on a bus tour - however the kids (and adults) were being active and having fun.
Our tour guide, Alex, was fantastic and kept both the kids and adults fascinated at each location. Although it was quite a heavy history lesson to digest, the kids took in bits and pieces and we were able to discuss further after the tour where they had questions.
Great Tour Guide
There is definitely something to be said for an enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guide - Alex was a great story teller and was animated in his delivery. A Canadian, he had a clear passion and enthusiasm for the city and it’s history which he shared with us all.
As well as the major sights the tour also took us through a large stretch of Tiergarten, Berlin’s premier city park. We covered ground that we never would have seen by foot and visited a Beer Garden tucked away in a corner of the gardens that only a local would find.
The tour took a total of 4.5 hours and included a one hour stop for lunch. The kids loved every minute of it and not once whinged are we there yet!
If you are travelling with kids and see a city cycling tour - give it a go! For details or to book this tour, visit Fat Tire Berlin City Tour.
Itchy Feet Family
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Ahh mother’s day - breakfast in bed, relaxing sleep in, new fluffy slippers and cups of tea delivered while I indulge in the Sunday paper. Right? Umm not in my house! Does anyone really have this?
Mothers Day in Australia will be next weekend - Sunday May 14, 2017. This will be my 11th mother’s day and never have I experienced this hallmark moment.
And not to the fault of Master 10 or Miss 7 – it has really been my own creation.
The first year of motherhood I am sure hubby made a big deal of it, but to be honest I was too tired to notice.
And for the last nine years I have circled the Adelaide Torrens Riverfront as a participant in the Mother’s Day Classic, awake and in the city for an 8am start.
In 2010, a beautiful friend lost her battle to cancer and left behind two young children. At age 30 she never really got the chance to enjoy Mothers Days either. Each year I do the run in honour of her and the many other Mother’s who have lost the battle to cancer.
The Mother’s Day Classic is a fund raiser for Breast Cancer Research. Participants can run or walk either a 4.6km or 7.3km course. The city becomes a sea of pink as thousands of participants showcase the colour for support and hit the track to bring awareness and raise much needed funds for the cause.
The event, which first began in 1998, is run Australia wide with both major cities and regional towns hosting a course for people to participate. To date, the event has raised some $30 million.
My proudest mother’s day moment was when Master 10 joined me for the first time. In 2016 both kids and hubby joined me on the track and we will do it again this year, with a time now to beat.
Miss 7 is the leader, we cross the line as a family so really it is her 38 minute record that we are aiming to improve. A year older, with longer legs to take her on the course - I am sure that is achievable.
Of course, I could sip cups of tea for the rest of the day – however whilst I am still fortunate enough to have a mother and mother-in-law in my life, it is to them I will bestow the honour.
After all, I believe the real test of a good mother is the adult children they release into society. That is a test I am yet to pass so will happily wait my turn rather than indulge in any premature celebrations.
If you would like to donate to Breast Cancer Research, you can contribute on our fundraising page. For more details about the event, head to the Mother’s Day Classic website.
Follow the Itchy Feet Family on Instagram and Facebook for updates from the track next Sunday.
How do you celebrate Mother’s Day? Have you started any traditions for your family?
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
Elephant Encounters - tick it off the bucket list
The elephant is a majestic animal. It moves slowly and makes you consider for a short moment the possibility that such a ginormous animal could actually be gentle! However it is a powerful animal that is to be treated with respect.
Throughout our travels we have had a number of occasions to get up close and personal with the amazing creatures. If treated kindly and with respect all travellers should take the opportunity to tick this off their bucket list.
Three incidents that stand out from our travels include losing a pack of elephants at Lalibela Game Reserve, South Africa, trekking on elephants along the Zambezi River and our family ride on the elephants at Bakit Safari, Thailand.
Thailand, Bukit Safari
On a family visit to Cape Panwa, Thailand, we took a day trip to the Bukit Safari. The Itchy Feet Family were young, Miss 2 and Master 5 in tow we decided that would not be a barrier to the adventure.
The elephants have a bench seat attached atop and once on board the kids could easily sit alongside or on parent’s knees.
The adventure was not really that adventurous - we were on a private reserve where the elephants were kept and the actual time spent atop the elephants was through the grounds of the reserve. The biggest adventure was maintaining balance atop the bench seat as the animal waddled from side to side along some uneven grounds.
The kids got to feed the baby elephants before we rode the adults and the whole experience is one that is fondly remembered.
Lalibela Game Reserve, South Africa
You would think that a herd of elephants would be quite an easy find - however on a four day visit to the Lalibela Game Reserve, South Africa, the herd on the private reserve were aloof during our stay.
Every morning the Rangers would inform us that they were still unsure the exact location of the herd and it would be unlikely we would get to spot them during our visit.
Thankfully, on our last afternoon as we relaxed by the pool, the herd came within eye shot of the reserve The afternoon’s safari was to get amongst the herd and all the visitors were pleased they had come out of hiding!
The first point of call for the afternoon safari was to the elephants and we were treated to a close encounter amongst the herd who, incidentally, had a baby in tow that they kept very protected. An amazing insight into the power of a mother’s protective nature even amongst the animal world.
For the evening safari an adverse reaction to malaria tablets forced me to sit out - which in turn ended up being a blessing. The herd actually came through the camp, I was able to sit very quietly in the dark on the porch of my villa as they passed me by. I missed out on seeing the lion cubs that were seen on the night safari, but my close encounter with the herd is a memory I will forever treasure.
Trekking the Zambezi River
On a stay at Victoria Falls, we visited the Zambezi Elephant Trails. This is more an elephant experience than a simple elephant ride. Participants are encouraged to interact with the elephants I even reluctantly sat on the elephants leg whilst it wrapped it’s trunk around me in a hug.
Unlike the Thailand experience, these elephants are saddled which made for a much more comfortable and stable experience atop - well until the elephant shakes as our elephant dubbed the “dancer” did frequently!
With armed rangers on foot at the front and rear of our line of elephants, we trekked along the Zambezi in search of game sightings. Thankfully the rangers did not need the arms they beared but it certainly made you realise that we were on safari and perhaps the top of an elephant was not quite as safe as the inside of a jeep!
Have you had a memorable elephant experience? Share with us in the comments.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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Penny, an avid Trip Advisor Reviewer, is the author of ITCHY FEET FAMILY. A family living in Adelaide, Australia, and taking every opportunity to travel and explore the world.