My Travel Blog

The Elephants are Coming! Xigera and Duma Tau

There were many things that impressed me about the trip to Africa that Town and Country Travel (T&C) booked for us.  One thing that impressed me most was how well everything was coordinated.  There was never a wasted minute. When it was time to leave the Xigera camp and fly to Duma Tau we didn’t miss a beat. We went on the morning animal drive, got back in time for brunch, flew to Duma Tau, and then went on the afternoon animal drive.  These camps are not cheap, so you don’t want to miss a thing. In fact it was the most expensive trip we have ever taken. Was it worth it?  Every penny.  We’ve already told T&C to book us for 2017.

The airport fire station.

The view from our room.

It’s time for our sundowner drinks.

Another beautiful African sunset.

A Guinea fowl.

Safari camps are rated, like hotels, based on accommodations, food, service and amenities. Xigera was considered a moderate camp, and it was beautiful.  Duma Tau was the next step up, so that should say something.

 We had so many incredible experiences on our Africa trip, but one of the most memorable happened at Duma Tau shortly after we arrived.  We were bouncing along a dirt road next to a large lagoon.  Off in the distance our guide spotted a herd of elephants crossing the lagoon. They must have been at least a mile away.  My initial thought was, ‘Do we really have to sit here and wait for them? It will take forever.’ Wrong! You have no idea how fast these animals move.  They may appear to lumber along, but they can cover an amazing distance in no time. Before we knew it the herd was upon us. As the water got shallower they began to move faster and faster.  By the time they were right in front of us they were running, water was flying, their huge ears were spread like wings, their trunks were flailing, and their trumpeting echoed across the lagoon.  Our hearts raced as the spectacle unfolded before us. The air was charged with energy as these majestic animals sped past.  This was the kind of experience that you never forget.

Elephants coming towards us.

Racing to dry land.

Elephant with attitude.

An elephants pays a visit to our camp.

The new Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

We didn’t see any lions at Xigera, and hadn’t really expected to.  We told our guide at Duma Tau that if possible we’d like to see lions. Jane Lee, the owner of T&C, had warned us to be careful when asking your guide to show you a certain animal.  They want to please their guests so much that they will concentrate on trying to fulfillyour request and pass up other possible animal encounters. Fortunately it didn’t take long for our guide to find a pride of four lions sleeping, which is what they do most of the day.  He pulled our open jeep up so that we were no more than 15 or 20 feet from the pride. All they did was raise their heads, look at us, and then go back to sleep.  I realized that holy crap, I’m sitting in an open jeep and there are four lions right there.  The guide had even turned off the engine.  There was no way to run for it if one decided he wanted a little taste of tourist.  To make matters worse one of the male lions decided to get up. He looked right at me and began walking towards the jeep.  By the time he was right in front of the jeep he looked really pissed. Then he made a little detour to pass not three feet from the left side of the jeep.  Which also happened to be the side I was sitting on. As the big kitty cat was walking towards me I was thinking I’ve had a good life, my kids are grown, and Lisa is a strong woman.  She’ll be okay without me.  Just as the lion got to my door he lookedat me and growled. It’s what we boaters refer to as a code brown moment. Here is the picture to prove it.

Our first Lions.

“A code brown moment.”

I never realized how social these animals were.


-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.