More than 15 years of safari planning and booking
Marianne Birrell was born in Namibia and grew up in South Africa. “My exploration of the Kruger region began some thirty years ago. During university holidays spent in Zimbabwe, I had been bowled over by the raw and infinitely subtle beauty of its wilderness and the warmth of its people; it was there that my love of Africa’s wild places really took hold. After teaching and travelling, an opportunity arose to work in a top Sabi Sand game lodge, and I took it.
"This was followed by a decade in corporate life, half of it Switzerland. When Nelson Mandela was released, my husband and I returned home to SA and invested in the hospitality industry, creating Willowbrook Lodge hotel in the Cape winelands (left). But the call of the wild is strong, and 2000 saw us build a bush home in a nature reserve near Kruger Park called Eden (below: giraffes on our front lawn). Friends and family were soon asking for safari advice!
"Safari life follows a simple yet satisfying routine. Rise early to tea and coffee, then set out on the morning game drive with your armed ranger and tracker in an open-sided safari vehicle. Back to camp for brunch. A guided walk is then offered. Relax at the lodge for a hour or two. A late lunch or high tea is followed by the sunset game drive; and then back to the lodge for dinner under the stars. The perfect end to a safari day.
"And now please meet a handsome golden-maned lion called Little Leo. He has a forever home at Drakenstein lion sanctuary in the Cape winelands near my home. MBS has adopted 2 of its lions: Joy, and Little Leo; all have been rescued from cages, circuses, or atrocious zoos in Europe or the Middle East. We also applaud wildlife non-profits Kevin Richardson and anti-canned hunting warrior, CACH. Their passion lights a sombre world of vanishing wildlife."