Page 18 - Cemair SkyNews Jun/Jul 2017
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“IN THE EARLY DAYS WE TRAVELLED AT A TIME WHEN                                                                                                 PROFILE / EMMA JORDAN

                                                                                                                                                         INTO THE WILD

                                                                                                                                                         Lexie MacNaughton has the bush in HER

                                                                                                                                                         bones, happily this intrepid explorer shares

                                                                                                                                                         her love of Africa with those far and wide

                                                                                                                                                         For Lexie MacNaughton there's nothing better   simplicity. For her the most important thing is
                                                                                                                                                         than the wild, open African bush. The owner of   to just experience this wild continent, let it get
                                                                                                                                                         Alexa Safaris, Lexie first started travelling the   into your bones.
                                                                                                                                                         continent with legendary explorer Izak Barnard
                                                                                                                                                         in the early 1970s.                      “In the early days we travelled at a time when
                                                                                                                                                                                                  things were really wild,” she adds. “When there
                                                                                                                                                         “We were real pioneers,” she says. “I can   were no boundaries and time was longer.
                                                                                                                                                         remember walking through the Central
                                                                                                                                                         Kalahari and seeing Khoi San who had never   "People were happy to drive for days,
                                                                                                                                                         encountered white people.”               immersing in the landscape, following the
                                                                                                                                                                                                  light and wild thunderstorms, to bear witness
                                                                                                                                                         She worked with Barnard in the bush, setting   to the dry plains and of course the animals.
                                                                                                                                                         up camp in remote areas and bush cooking   Today, time may be shorter, but camps are
                                                                                                                                                         for large groups for close to ten years. She   exceptionally well organised, so there is
                                                                                                                                                         learned from Izak the practicalities of safari life   every reason why visitors can enjoy these
                                                                                                                                                         and also absorbed his passion for wildlife. She   extraordinary experiences."
                                                                                                                                                         then worked in the Joburg office of Penduka
                                                                                                                                                         Safaris, Barnard's company. When she moved
                                                                                                                                                         to Plettenberg Bay it was inevitable she would
                                                                                                                                                         start her own safari company.

                                                                                                                                                         “It's what I know,” she says. “And there's a real
                                                                                                                                                         market for it – people have less time and they
                                                                                                                                                         want to experience the best.”

                                                                                                                                                         Lexie organises safaris throughout Southern
                                                                                                                                                         Africa. Every area, she says has something
                                                                                                                                                         different to offer – the islands along the
                                                                                                                                                         Mozambique archipelago are phenomenal,
                                                                                                                                                         inland around the Botswana Chobe region
                                                                                                                                                         gives something else – the opportunity to get
                                                                                                                                                         close with animals not only on land, but also
                                                                                                                                                         to view them from the water, parts of Zambia
                                                                                                                                                         are still wild and following the course of the
                                                                                                                                                         Zambezi River is totally awesome. Namibia is
                                                                                                                                                         what she calls 'the land God made in anger.'

                                                                                                                                                         “If you can imagine this place with massive
                                                                                                                                                         boulders, huge dunes and vast vistas – a land
                                                                                                                                                         of space,” she explains.
                                                                                                                                                         Many of her clients are international and they
                                                                                                                                                         tap into her first hand knowledge. There isn't
                                                                                                                                                         a safari experience she hasn't experienced
                                                                                                                                                         – from top-end luxury to more laid-back

                                                                                                                                                         Clockwise from top left: A typical African bushscape; Crossing the Moremi in the Okavango;
                                                                                                                                                         Bush supper at Kapama Game Reserve.

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