STEVE: Pioneer, exactly. In fact, I think one of the trips is called the pioneer. Again, from watching movies and seeing things like Linyanti and Savuti as a kid, it meant that, when we drove through the Linyanti, you kind of look out going, “This is where all those amazing hyena versus lion movies and things were filmed. You’re almost expecting to see it and so it’s almost like walking into a cinema, into a movie, into a wildlife documentary. That probably describes it the best way.
You’re seeing this incredible wilderness area from the mokoro, from a speedboat, from a plane up in the air. I was like a kid looking out the window trying to spot game and stuff and you obviously fly low when you come in to land. We had to buzz the airstrip twice. The airstrip was flooded, so we were covered in mud. These days, I think people get a little too caught up in the luxury side of things. I’m not sure how luxurious the Wilderness trips are now – I went about two years back – but, again, there are other operators that do offer the sort of dome tent, bucket shower real sort of escape expedition feel and it’s something which makes you feel alive. If you’re driving long distances in a Land Rover, you’re doing a whole day transfer in a Land Rover, even if you zone out a bit, you really get into that experience.
On the shorter game drives, I always find that it’s three hours; you’re in and out and, look, I’m not pooh-poohing those at all – those are brilliant experiences – but, if you ask me what experiences really captured my imagination, that was definitely one of them and the things we saw were incredible. We saw male lions which had killed a baby elephant and we could see around the baby elephant where the breeding herd had gone ballistic trying to save it. It looked like napalm had been dropped in the area. The trees in that area were completely destroyed. Seeing all the elephants in Chobe. Going in a mokoro down a hippo path, you’re excited. You’re like, “Well, if this is a hippo path, surely we shouldn’t be here because hippos are in hippo paths”. Seeing lechwe, seeing Pel’s Fishing Owls, exploring islands on foot – it’s a real escapism.