I feel incredibly humbled and privileged to live in South Africa, where a Safari experience is something that is easily accessible and yet, most of us don’t make the most of this. I feel privileged to be able to see the beauty of the wild Bushveld. It really puts life into perspective and I’m always in awe of how every eco system just works. Each and every day and night there is a whole world in survival mode in the Wild, a completely parallel, foreign world to the city.
If you missed the first part of our Honeymoon, you can read it here.
After we said goodbye to everyone at Kwa Maritane, we drove off to Bakubung, a lodge that shares a reception area with Tshukudu Luxury Lodge.
While we waited for the 4×4 to come and collect us and our luggage, we drank tea and coffee in the cold, rainy weather! It soon arrived and Sox and I climbed in along with 2 other couples – one from Germany and one from Switzerland.Off we drove in the pouring rain, steam coming out of our mouths, all the way up to Tshukudu Lodge. Tshukudu Lodge is another partner of Legacy Lifestyle, so yet again we were able to earn and spend our Legacy Rands!
We were warned about the 132 steps and I was actually pretty grateful for them when we found out we would be indulging in 5 course meals. The rain didn’t ease off and we were each handed umbrellas and warned to be careful on the slippery stairs. Once we reached the top, we were welcomed into a cosy area with the most wonderful view and more welcome drinks… The awesome Shawn welcomed us all to Tshukudu, introduced us to our personal guides (we would have Themba), she gave us some house rules and then we were shown to our chalets. We stayed at Number 8 and we couldn’t stop saying: “Oh wow!” as we explored our new home for 2 nights.As you walk in, there is a tea and coffee station – we also had welcome drinks and fresh warm towels on a plate waiting for us and a couch in the wall area (admittedly our luggage rested there.)As we walked further in, we discovered an open plan lounge area with a romantic fireplace and a huge bed with gorgeous chandeliers. There is no TV – the fireplace is the bush TV -something I can watch for hours and even though you get given a Wifi Code on arrival, the weather and low cloud made it near impossible to connect, which I found a blessing in disguise. It actually allowed us to disconnect from the world, reconnect with each other, not worry about work or other responsibilities and just enjoy being in nature, with each other. This is the BEST kind of Honeymoon.We then walked into the spacious bathroom that had a gorgeous Wooden closet, an indoor shower, outdoor shower, romantic bath with a view…Even though it was pouring, we still went outside to see our patio complete with loungers and a plunge pool, with a really impressive view.
After a little relax…We were welcome back up to the top for high tea. Freshly baked chicken pies, little apple pies and pecan pies, cheeseboards and so on were laid out. I swopped tea for a glass of red wine.The cold, wet weather was making me feel really terrible and my chest infection was not getting any better. Originally we said that we wouldn’t be going out for the Afternoon Game Drive… I thought it would be best if I kept warm and I also didn’t think we would see much in the conditions. FOMO, however, got the better of us and we saw a few of the other guests donning thick jackets and heading out for their drives. We quickly changed our minds, I dressed super warmly, dosed myself with medicine and off we went.
Well, I’m so glad we did. I squealed with sheer excitement when we were the first to discover 8 lionesses right by the road. They were out in the open, playing with each other and playing with sticks. The one lioness became really intrigued by us and she broke away from the pride and started walking straight to us. You must understand, it was just Sox and I and our guide Themba in an open vehicle with no real doors or windows. It was thrilling. You can actually see how close she got to our vehicle. She walked all the way around the vehicle and then we lost visual. The rule is not to stand, but I couldn’t help but raise myself slightly to see where she had gone. She had sat down right behind our vehicle, just watching us. I got a quick pic through the canvas plastic. Chills.Once we had watched the lionesses enough, we drove through to a watering hole and hide, poured some red wine and watched one lone crocodile blink every now and then and some hippo yawning…We took a slow drive back, changed out of our wet clothes and lit the fire…Soon it was time to get dressed and make our way up for the 5 course dinner. I loved that Tshukudu had one main table, so you got to eat as one big family and you got to meet everyone at the Lodge. We were the only local visitors. Everyone else was from Germany, Switzerland, Paris and London. There were 3 Greek speaking visitors too, so Sox chatted away in Greek and I picked up on every 3rd word. Let’s talk about the food now… The chef came out to explain each meal and by the end of it we all rolled down the stairs to our chalets. We started with a warm soupBacon wrapped asparagus with a Hollandaise sauceWe each received our own little African pot (potjie) with Oxtail and fresh vegetables. It was so delicious and tender it fell off the bone.Dessert was fresh, typically South African Malva pudding and homemade custard.And a cheeseboard to complete the evening.When we returned to our rooms, a little bottle of Amarula, nougat and a scroll was waiting next to our beds. The scrolled revealed itself to be an African Fable Bedtime story! It was awesome.We both fell asleep quickly to the sounds of the wild, hoping for better weather in the morning.
At 5am, we were awoken by a knock at the door. A personalised wake up call ensured that you made it to the top in time for a quick cup of something warm and then headed off on the game drive. It was still raining so we didn’t get to see a lot.We headed back for a delicious breakfast of fruit, omelettes, bacon and sausage.We watched a massive family of Baboons from our breakfast view – here are a fraction of them – there must have been 60…It finally started clearing up and when the sun came out, it was really hot and humid. We decided to spend the day on the deck, in our plunge pool, reading our books and napping. It was incredible.After a seriously relaxing day of finishing my book Dead Simple by Peter James, we got ready for more High Tea and then a game drive. It’s amazing how different the bush looks when the sunlight hits it. More animals came out too…Our Tshukudu Game Drive team… We also found natures Toll Gate of Impalas…and a real life Zebra Crossing…It’s quite rare to find Springbok, so I’m glad we got to see this guy…On our way back to the Lodge, we got to actually see Tshukudu out from the low lying cloud… Isn’t it gorgeous?As we got back to our room, thinking we needed to get ready and join the large table for dinner, we discovered a bottle of champagne chilling on ice, by the fireplace. Tshukudu had set up our own romantic, private dinner on our patio.
I’d definitely recommend you do this, although I did feel bad for the chef and waiter who kept having to climb the 132 stairs for all 5 courses!Chef John came down to describe the 5 courses and I was salivating in anticipation…We started with a carrot and cumin soupA cream of mushroom phylloFillet that was cooked to absolute perfection – it melted like butter, teamed with a pepper sauce, vegetables and spiced potato wedges.We completed the dinner with a crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside chocolate fondant and vanilla ice cream and cheese platter (not photographed, because a certain
someone husband of mine gobbled it up so fast!)We were going to go upstairs and join everyone for a coffee, but we were so full and sleepy that we rolled into bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out!
5am came quickly with another knock at the door. 2 cups of coffee later and we were on our last game drive. Our guides had heard Lions roaring right at the base of Tshukudu, but when Themba took us out, we missed seeing them sadly.
Isn’t it funny how 3 hours can whizz by so quickly when you don’t want them to. Before we knew it we were back at the lodge, eating breakfast and packing our bags. We gave hearty, hug filled goodbyes to Shawn and Themba and were driven back to Bakubung Lodge where we had parked our rental car.
We happened to be just in time for the snake show! The Rat Snake was out and we were encouraged to touch it and even hold it if we were brave enough.Please look at how cool, calm and collected our fellow Swiss and German friends were…In my head I was having a very cool, Britney Spears I’m a Slave 4 U moment… The reality? Everything about this picture.Our trip really was an incredible experience that I will never forget. Both Kwa Maritane and Tshukudu were the perfect Honeymoon destinations and if you’ve never been on a Safari, I hope you’ll put these 2 places on your Bucket List.
To book for Tshukudu, click here.
I also hope you’ll sign up (for free) to the Legacy Lifestyle Rewards Program – it’s one of the best things you’ll do. Click here.