- I have been travelling with Bruce and Judy Meeser of Wildlife Encounters on and off for 10 years now and have had numerous terrific wilderness experiences, learned a tremendous amount and become a family friend. I am very grateful that they shared their expertise with me.- Paul Hendrick, Holland
News & Updates
Surviving Safari Camps
Wildlife Encounters operates the Galaxy Collection of safari camps in the Greater Kruger Park- Timbavati and Klaserie Game Reserves. Almost all of the four safari camps were severely damaged in the floods following Cyclone Dando in January 2012. Safari camps tend to situated along the banks of the dry water courses where the bigger evergreen trees grow and birding and game viewing is prime. Of course these rivers come down in flood after even minimal amounts of rain and the dry sandy river bed is covered with a surge of churning rushing brown water that rises and ebbs in hours. It is an exciting experience to watch a river rise and flow from nothing. The noise of the water often precedes its stream and once the water appears young and old alike are tempted to take off their boots and get into the water. If the river rises sufficiently then tubing along the gushing foaming flow is tremendous fun and frequently the river has other inhabitants with the same thing in mind. Many rangers tell of sharing the current with a Black Mamba or Python and smaller mammals swimming to safety.
The rains that dropped in the path of Cyclone Dando, fell in the darkened hours while most of us slept or lay listening to the hammering on the roof. At dawn the dry river beds and any other path of least resistance, had already been transformed to a watercourse of substance and no one would dare to take a swim in the torrent that raced past. Furniture and fittings from safari camps were whisked away and some buildings even broke from their foundations and joined the journey down stream. In the aftermath of the flood the debris scattered where the water had dropped it resembled nothing of the beautiful pieces that decorated the safari camps that had hosted many international guests in the Greater Kruger and surrounds.
The Antares Safari operates out of a camp perched high above the Klaserie River. The bridge to the camp had broken off in mid-stream leaving a concrete structure bristling with iron bars like something out of a Mad Max movie. Below the bridge the river flowed, blue, across sandy banks previously hidden by beds of reeds. The camp was cut off for many days.
The Gemini Safari upstream on the Klaserie River was not so fortunate and the river had found a path right through the centre of the camp, forcing its way into the free standing suites and through the thatched bar/ lounge area taking all it could uplift with it. Both these safaris are now operational again and little remains to remind us of the devastation. The Capricorn Safari meanwhile lies in limbo awaiting decisions from insurers and land owners about the future.