Each time we travel on safari, every year since 1999, we always return home full of tales of how life-affirming our experiences have been in the African bush.
From my first trip to Botswana to our now regular family visits to Ulusaba we love swapping the hustle and bustle, and occasional challenge, of city life for a game drive spent relaxing in an open-sided vehicle watching the Big 5.
Lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino are all magnificent beasts to see in the wild, but the bush offers much more.
My particular favourite are warthog! I know. But, the way they trot along with their tales high so the little ones can spot them in the long grass always makes me chuckle.
I also love giraffe. Calm and majestic they move through the Bush as if on casters. Unless a pride of lionesses has taken a fancy and then watch them gallop.
Other magnificent animals to have captured our attention are the mischievous monkeys, elusive cheetah and Hyena who have a bad rap because of Disney.
Zebra, or disco donkeys as we call them, always cause a whoop of excitement when spotted trotting through the Bush
Most of us will originally head on safari to see the king of the jungle. Be prepared. Lions are often described as 200kg of disappointment.
That’s because they do little more than sleep during the day hunting when humans are fast asleep.
Leopards can have a similar outlook.
Occasionally though an impala, wildebeest, kudu or even lone old buffalo will fall prey. It can be a shocking but fascinating sight. Nature at its most raw.
One of our most memorable sightings was a pack of wild dogs, in itself a rare sighting, chasing an impala.
The antelope leapt for its life into the water only to be drowned by hippo – not one of the big 5, but nevertheless the biggest killer of humans in Africa.
Hippo though are herbivores so had no interest in eating the impala. A nearby crocodile decided it was his lucky day and managed to distract the hippo pod and snatch the prey before making off with his dinner. I know, I know. You wouldn’t have believed me unless I had a photo…
Every trip to the bush, every day, every single game drive offers something different to make all your senses pulse. Time slows to a standstill. Your bond with nature feels unbreakable.
Hope these photographs taken by son Alexander Kutner whet your appetite for a trip to the most magical place on earth.