|As the morning breaks to the
impatient grunts of hippo and the pleading cries of ibis rising from the
mist covered lake, I roll over one last time in my warm bed before
stepping from my safari tent and heading off for that early morning
I'm excited! Not just because another awe inspiring day is beginning for my team and I, but today marks a major turning point in the Hayward's Safari Camp operation.
We had for many years, since our inception, created safaris with a difference - for film crews wishing to create magical 30 second ads - to documentary film makers wishing to return nightly to a reliable camp - car launch safaris of dynamic proportions and even grand conference events under canvas - but never had we attempted a safari with such multi-talented teams all working towards one goal - a full-scale international stage show - forty cast, choreographers, lighting and sound specialists, fit only for a Queen. WBCC Event Managers have created this platform, now we all have to perform.
Tonight will test our capabilities to the hilt…
For the past 5 days we have safari'd on the edge of the Kruger National Park. Hampered by the ever-present hippo, crocodiles and a pride of stray lion. I say hampered, of course, with full acknowledgment to these beasts on whose territory we are encroaching - not them on ours! Nonetheless, setting up camp constantly looking behind ones back, does seem to slow things down somewhat!
Our VIP guests had flown in from all over the world representing a range of untouchable brands. They had boarded the world's most luxurious steam safari train, Rovos Rail and shuffling across the plains of the Transvaal Highveld had entered the Lowveld (Mpumalanga) to rendezvous with our guides a day later.
Within a few hours they will enter the nature reserve on foot, guided by qualified armed rangers and soon sip on Africa's famous Gin & Tonic to view a pod of twenty or so resident Hippo from the safety of a newly constructed "hippo viewing deck" - totally oblivious to the evening about to unfold...
As the flocks of squawking ibis return to their nests and the late afternoon light turns the night sky a deep purple, the countdown for dinner at Hayward's has begun. With camp fire ablaze and a myriad of candles bathing the infamous Hayward's Gin Tent with a decadent light, the sumptuous meal is dramatically presented.
Behind the scenes, the hippo viewing deck is transformed into a magnificent stage with hippo and roosting cormorant's providing God's own backdrop to what can only be termed as one of Africa's greatest stage shows - Richard Loring's African Footprints!
Within seconds the stage bursts to life as the story of Africa unfolds - in its own theater - at last.