The first film I saw in cinemascope as a young boy, was called Shaka. It told of the rise of a boy warrior who became King of the legendary Zulu tribe, and ever since then I’ve had an ambition to visit Africa.

Reading that Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ship Boudicca was visiting South Africa, with shore tours including a day in an authentic Zulu encampment and birthplace of Shaka, totally captured my imagination.

Boudicca would also be visiting exotic Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Reunion, and Mozambique. I booked immediately.

We joined Boudicca in Port Louis, Mauritius and our first tour took us through lush countryside to Charmarel National Park where the Charmarel waterfall cascaded from jagged mountains, accompanied by exotic birdsong.

Here also is the area of the ‘7 coloured earth’, a rainbow on the ground, a spectacular sight created through decomposing minerals over centuries, forming dunes with colours ranging from red to brown and blue to violet, a unique legacy of nature.

Overnight sailing brought us into French Reunion Island. A highlight was a journey to Piton Maido over 2000 metres high, through subtropical forests with hedgerows ablaze with fuchsia, hydrangeas and endemic bushes and plants. We paused at La Petite France, observing how geranium leaves are turned into perfume.

During Boudicca’s three days sailing we were impressed with the crew’s warm personalities, eagerness to please, and the intimacy of the smaller size ship. The ship’s activities cater for all, I settled for soaking up the sun with a good book, relaxing under a bright blue sky, with the company of dolphins and flying fish skimming the ocean.

Our African adventure started in Maputo Mozambique, where we browsed Feima market, set in an African garden, the CFM Railway station built in 1908, voted the third most beautiful in the world, now a museum. We strolled around Independent Square, where we saw the Iron House, a unique architectural design by a friend of Gustave Eiffel.

My imagination was running wild as we sailed into Richards Bay, South Africa, in time to visit the authentic Dumazulu encampment, where our Zulu experience concluded with a wedding ceremony, during which the crescendo of songs was accompanied by robust dancing. Visiting the area where the legendary King Shaka lived, exceeded all expectations.

We berthed in Port Elizabeth, and journeyed to Pumba Private Game Reserve, boarding a 4x4 and setting off on our adventure. First a herd of antelopes and warthogs grazing together, then a dazzle of zebra. Climbing the terrain we met Nomathemba, a rare white lioness sleeping in the shade, who opened her eyes, looked straight at me, yawned then went back to sleep – an extraordinary sight.

At a stream we saw a huge bull elephant only a few yards away, who swung his trunk, turned and went into the bush. Proceeding to a lake, hippopotamuses were cooling down in the midday sun. At the top of the ridge another bull elephant called Stumpy, because of his short tail, walked alongside our vehicle. At close range we saw a family of four white rhino. Pumba was an African experience to savour.

Table Mountain stands imposing as it greets you into Cape Town. The city tour captures its highlights including its diverse architecture from colonial times to modern designs. Bo Kaap is an area of multi coloured houses, built when slavery was abolished, ending at the lively waterfront.

Final tour, destination: the Cape of Good Hope. Our coastal journey took us through fishing villages, small townships and vineyards.

At Cape Peak, we boarded a funicular taking us to the summit, to view the breathtaking coast line. Then on to the Penguin Colony where these delightful creatures greet you with chirping sounds.

Returning, we encountered a family of baboons, the alpha male standing defiantly in the road before allowing us to pass. This was a fitting end to an enthralling African experience. An ambition fulfilled!

Boudicca’s ‘Indian Ocean Islands & Zanzibar’ fly-cruise (D1826) departs from Mauritius on December 14 2018. Prices start from £2,999 per person and includes all food and entertainment on board, port taxes, return flights.

Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines has 75 itineraries to choose from. or 0800 0355 242