More than 15 years of safari planning and booking
Marianne Birrell was born in Namibia and grew up in South Africa. “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. My exploration of the Kruger region began there and then.
"This was followed by a decade in corporate life, half of it in Switzerland. My husband and I quit the rat race and returned home to SA to retire. Or so we thought - Willowbrook Lodge in the Cape winelands (left) was the result. But the call of the wild is insistent; so in 2000 we sold our pretty riverside lodge and created a bush home in a private reserve near Kruger Park. Our exploration of the private game lodges on our doorstep followed. (Below: giraffes on our lawn).
"Living among Africa's wild creatures was Mother Nature's gift. To watch nature at work reawakens that sense of awe we had as children, discovering our world. (Remember those days?) You get to witness the celebration that is Africa's wildlife, of cycles and renewal, biodiversity in spades, fascinating creatures and birds in a gentle climate. The rhythms of life invite you to join in an extraordinary dance. Come and explore this fragile wild realm so at the mercy of an exploding human growth. Come soon. It's here, a gift, waiting for you.
"To wrap up, this handsome golden-maned lion is called Little Leo. Rescued from a canned hunting farm, he has a forever home at Drakenstein lion sanctuary in the Cape winelands near my home. We have adopted Little Leo and Joy; all have been rescued from cages, circuses, or atrocious zoos in Europe or the ME. We applaud all wildlife warriors, like Kevin Richardson and anti-canned hunting CACH. They remind us that we risk losing it all if we don't act, and now.'