Morning safari at Tree Lodge at Sikumi, Hwange, Zimbabwe

In Africa, En-Route, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel, Zimbabweby JanisLeave a Comment

Anytime is a good time for a safari drive

It’s one of those days when you’re pleased there are two 5:15’s in one day, yep this one is in the a.m. There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of what lies ahead that makes you spring out of your tree lodge ready for a morning safari drive.

The thatched lodges of the camp, raised off the floor, built between the trees, with them growing through the structures.

The raised tree lodges at Sikumi

We were staying at the Tree Lodge at Sikumi on the edge of Hwange National Park, this was going to be our first-morning game drive since we arrived in Zimbabwe.

We were eager to get going, even at 6am. The thrill of a safari drive never fails to put a smile on my face, it’s the unknown that I love.

Some days you’re lucky, and see some incredible wildlife passing through the bush, and other days the animals are deep in the undergrowth watching us instead, having the last laugh.

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Off into the sunrise

Danny, our guide and Sini, the lodge host, greets us with a smile and a morning coffee, as it’s autumn in Zimbabwe the early mornings can be a little fresh. Tree Lodge at Sikumi is located at the end of a shallow valley, and as we look along the dry vlei, the mist hovers above the ground slowly fading away as the bush starts awakening for the day.   

Mist hangs over the valley that used to once be a river bed, with a golden sky, tinged with purples before the sun rises.

Morning mist over the dry vlei

So, what was this morning going to hold in store for us? Gary and I were the only two on this morning’s adventure, it was going to be a very personal tour.

We jump in the back of the safari truck with our enthusiasm building and hold on tight, we’re in for a bumpy ride, and a free African massage comes with every game drive.

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Make sure you take a hat and sun cream, as the morning sun shines through you’ll be needing them.

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The tranquillity of the morning 

Every so often, Danny stops the truck and cuts the engine to preserve our presence to a minimum. Danny quietly chats to us about the surrounding environment and how the incredible landscape has evolved over thousands of years. 

As we slowly progress bouncing over the mixed terrain and through the woodland, I have my expectations set too high, and my fingers are crossed for spotting elephants and lions. 

Our first spot of the morning was a lone giraffe, well, I say lone, it had a couple of little feathered friends pecking at his neck for some breakfast. 

The head and shoulders of a giraffe feeding, with a pair of Ox-Pecker birds on the neck, catching a little bit of breakfast.

A lone giraffe feeding

A full-length view of the giraffe who has now spotted us, and is looking straight at us.

The giraffe has spotted us

The giraffe also looked like it had been in the wars, as one of its little horns was missing. We sat and watched it for a while, and it just sauntered off into the trees.

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Will we, or won’t we?

We’d been weaving our way through the bush for a couple of hours, and we really felt that our luck wasn’t in on this occasion. Although we had seen some beautiful birds.

We were on our return journey back to lodge, and as we crossed the vlei, Gary spotted a herd of buffalo. Danny headed over into the direction of the herd, and we cut the engine once again and stopped and sat watching peacefully from a distance.

A group of 7 people seated in the valley in front of a herd of around 40 buffalo grazing in the middle of the valley

A group on foot observing a herd of buffalo

Initially, I didn’t notice, but there was a small group of people out on a walking safari, this must have been a shock for them to see the herd of buffalo slowly getting closer.

A herd of buffalo grazing, with the ones on the periphery keeping a close eye on us watching them.  There's a young calf laid between 2 of the 'guards'.

A cautious herd of buffalo

Once the walking group had moved away, Danny manoeuvred the truck closer to the herd, still at a distance not to startle them. 

They are very cautious animals, so they were quite wary of us, and the group didn’t come too close but looking at their horns I wasn’t too bothered. They apparently have a perfect sense of smell, so knew exactly where we were.

An even closer view of the grazing herd of buffalo focused on the lookouts, who are watching us intently.

A bit too close for comfort

The closer they got you could see what amazing animals they are, although, with their curved horns and their middle parting, it looked like they were sporting some dodgy haircuts. 

A single buffalo, watching us.

Keeping a close eye on us

Is Zimbabwe for you?

Take a peek at our Sundowner Cruise and our Morning safari posts on Lake Kariba and start creating your own adventure.

We chose to visit Zimbabwe via British Airways, and it was all done with a few clicks, a brief stopover in Johannesburg, and our luggage was there waiting for us on arrival at our end destination in Harare.

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The morning is not over yet

As we headed back along the valley towards the lodge, we then came across a small group of zebras, this morning’s drive was turning out great after all. You just never know what beautiful creatures you’ll see.

Four Zebras looking at us across the grasslands of the view, in the background is one of the termite hills, standing approximately 2 meters tall, that pepper the base of the valley.

Zebra along the valley

Ohh and then just on queue before we reached the camp an inquisitive jackal decided to stride across the vlei.

A jackal is looking back over his shoulder, watching us, as he goes about his business.

A jackal aware of our presence

We had a wonderful safari drive; it doesn’t matter what you see, it’s the whole experience of enjoying the environment. Danny took his time driving us through the bush and ensured we enjoyed it as much as possible and didn’t rush us. You often see some safari drives hurtling along, they must miss so much.

Getting to Hwange

Prior to arriving at Hwange, we’d visited Victoria Falls town for a couple of nights, after flying in from Harare. It goes without saying that a visit to the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls is a must; however, I urge you to venture further afield. Hwange National Park is only around a 2-hour drive from Victoria Falls town, and there’s such incredible wildlife at your fingertips. Another location I highly recommend is Lake Kariba, this is truly an experience you’ll treasure for life.

Flight options from Harare to Victoria Falls are with either Air Zimbabwe or Fastjet airlines.

Inspired to visit Hwange National Park?

Why not stay at the Tree Lodge at Sikumi, you’ll be able to enjoy your own personal tree house.

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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