I hope you all had an amazing Easter weekend! I was doing what I love best … I got to travel to Makalali Game Reserve to explore, relax and experience a part of this amazing country I live in.
I took my mom with me and we had a daughter/mom bonding weekend away. To say it was amazing, is an understatement.
I took over 1000 photos (how do you know me? 😉 and was blown away by the hospitality, the food, the extra attention to detail and special touches from the staff at the Lodge. The actual safari game drive’s were mind blowing and it just reminded me on how much I love being in nature and love being in the bush… I love the smell, the heat, the sounds… If you don’t live in this country, I hope it is on your bucket list to experience an African Safari.
I have to share the weekend with you so bear with the length of this post and I hope you enjoy the photos*… all 104 of them (eek!)
My mom and I left early for the Lodge at 5am on Good Friday. We road tripped for 5 hours with an hour for breakfast and arrived at midday.
There is something about the African heat that I just absolutely love, every pore just soaks it up and you feel alive.
We were driven by an open Land Cruiser to the lodge and our actual chalet. I was blown away by the little surprises. There was a framed photo of Duke with flowers and a welcome basket filled with fruit, Toblerone chocolate (my favourite) and USN Protein Bars. Vanilla Tea was stocked too. A lot of research and effort had gone into making our stay personal and special.
The room was African Romantic … There was Mosquito nets draped over a very comfortable bed, an outdoor shower, a claw bath with gorgeous products to indulge in, our own outside deck and a view of the river.
The food was absolutely delicious and the chef really went all out. Breakfast was an assortment of cheeses, cereals, fresh fruit, yoghurt, oats, croissants, hot breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomato and the list goes on.
Lunch was always amazing with such a big variety of salads, different dishes of pasta, fish, chicken, meat, desserts and their homemade ice tea. I chose wisely being on my USN Challenge, but I couldn’t resist one or 2 cheats in the dessert department.
Dinner was at different places each night, making it a fun, new experience. The first night we ate in the Boma, the second night in the conference center with big fires and the last night, instead of being driven back to camp, we were taken from our night drive to a beautiful setting on top of a hill, where we had a bush dinner under the African sky surrounded by candle light and bonfires. It was incredible.
|FRIDAY: DINNER IN THE BOMA|
|SATURDAY: DINNER IN THE CONFERENCE CENTER|
|SUNDAY: DINNER IN THE BUSH AFTER OUR GAME DRIVE|
My mom and I were also treated to a stress relieving hot stone massage where a massage table was set up on the deck of our chalet overlooking the river. What a perfect setting to have the tension kneaded away. Bliss.
|THE CUSHIONS WERE MOVED AND MASSAGE TABLES WERE SET UP HERE|
I spoke about the extra special touches and let me tell you, the staff at Makalali certainly know how to make you feel like royalty. I received a gorgeous gift on Friday evening – Mark from Tourvest had gone the extra mile with a framed collage of photographs and a picture of my nickname “Little Miss Sunshine”
On Saturday night candles had been lit, flowers were placed around the bath and in a pattern on the bed and champagne was chilling on ice. My mom and I were so impressed and mom indulged in the hot bubbly water.
The game drives happened every day, twice a day. We would receive a wake-up call each morning at 05h30. At 05h45 we met for tea and coffee, fruit and rusks and at 6am we would set off on a game drive.
The afternoon/evening drives started at 4pm. We were assigned Marvel and Godlove. Marvel was our Ranger and Godlove was our Tracker. They were not only ridiculously knowledgeable; you could feel their pride in their jobs, their caring nature about the animals and especially about the rhino. Their tracking skills were flawless. I saw some of the most amazing sights that will stay with me for life. I got so close to the animals that I felt like I could reach out and touch them and we saw the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) within 3 days… that is rare and extremely special.
Each drive took 3 and a half hours with a morning coffee break (you have to have the Special Makalali Coffee – coffee with Amarula cream liqueur) and the evening drive had sun downers with drinks and snacks.
|MARVEL LET ME DRIVE…SORT OF|
|SUN DOWNERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BUSH – YOU COULD HEAR THE LIONS AND THE BUSHES RUSTLING – SURREAL|
The wildlife was just amazing and being in a reserve with the Big 5 is magical.
Marvel and Godlove found fresh tracks of lion one afternoon/evening. They took the rifle, and went by foot in search of the lion to see if they could find them for us. We were left alone in the Land Cruiser – with the sun setting – it was scary, but awesome, if you know what I mean… They came back 40 minutes later and had found 4 cubs. I just kept thinking “Uh-oh… Where is the mom and dad?”
Apparently the pride were off on the hunt and had left the 4 cubs alone.
I felt really emotional watching the Rhino and their baby – who was in such a playful mood – it was awesome to witness. The poaching has absolutely ruined this incredible animal and to see 4 rhino in the wild, so majestic but with such a peaceful nature, it broke my heart to think of how these animals are being poached for their horns. I watched them, praying that they stay safe and wishing there was more that could be done. I hope my children one day will be able to watch Rhino like this – free, in the wild and not as a statue in a museum, because they’re extinct.
|BABOONS DRINKING FROM THE POOL|
|WE WATCHED AN ELEPHANT FROM OUR LUNCH TABLE|
|TRACKING FRESH LION SPOOR|
|AN OLD MALE BUFFALO WOUNDED – LITERALLY KICKED OUT OF THE HERD-SO SAD 🙁|
*All photos are copyrighted.
I have to give a HUGE THANK YOU to the Makalali Team – you were absolutely brilliant and I appreciate all the special things you did for my mom and I.
To Mark Thomson from TDM Beds for organizing such brilliance – I really appreciate everything you did.
For your own wonderful African Safari experience, book at Makalali Game Reserve by contacting Mark. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +27 11 676-3004