Waking up to a view like this and being excited about what lies ahead.
This is why I am so passionate about bush time
and the experiences that accompany the trips.
Day break…the cloud cover obscuring the usual inspirational African sunrise
The beginning of a spectacular four day trip that my wife and I
spent at three camps in the Mluwati Concession in Kruger Park.
This is my overview of the lodges.
Individual postings of each lodge experience and
the various game drive sightings will be published shortly
Imbali Safari Lodge.
Where our adventure started.
“Imbali” means beautiful flower in Zulu.
From the inside looking out…
The long corridor leads to the front of the building
where guests would be greeted
and game drives depart.
This main reception area at Imbali Safari Lodge.
Arriving guests are welcomed with home made lemonade
(or said goodbye to with a handshake and a hug).
And it is here that the relevant paperwork is completed.
If you have driven to the lodge, your car will be parked for you
and your luggage whisked off to your accommodation.
For those who rely on connectivity with the outside world,
this Lodge offers both cellphone reception
as well as internet connectivity in the main building.
The main lounge area by day…
With the doors open the line between inside and out blurs.
From here guests can look across the pool to the waterhole.
(There were so many comings and goings there that it
almost looked as if guests were watching a nature documentary!)
Another part of the lounge, gently lit for pre and post dinner relaxation.
The muted colours and the lack of piped Musak make conversations
between guests and staff a pleasure.
Comparing experiences rather than staring at an electronic screen
were moments to savour.
After a successful three hour game drive
AND a delicious dinner…
this was what we were looking forward to climbing into!
A huge bed with the best linen was so conducive to sleep
that I did not even open the novel that I had brought to read.
The waterhole opposite the main lodge deck was a hive of activity.
This elderly Buffalo was being “dive-bombed” by a Glossy Starling,
but did not seem to perturbed by the intrusion of the air space above his head.
Hoyo Hoyo means “Welcome” in either Tsonga or Shangaan
Not to worry, the elephant is not IN the lodge,
but is actually at the waterhole that is just across the (currently) dry river bed.
This Lodge was so totally different from Imbali,
that a direct comparison would not do either any justice.
Bright colours adorn the public spaces.
Considering that most guests are expecting a neutral colour palette,
this bold color statement is unexpected…but it works!
Here (as with Hamiltons) there is no cell reception
or internet connectivity…
The Lodge waterhole is where the elephant on the left is standing.
For me, lunch came second as a myriad of photo opportunities presented themselves.
The bold colours were continued in the accommodation…
But they did not distract at all.
In fact I can honestly say that they enhanced our experience.
The only direct comparison that I can make to Imbali is the bed and the linen.
And once again comfort was the order of the day…
and this time my book did not even make it out of my suitcase.
Although there is an outdoor shower,
I chose to utilize the bath…
This is Punk Rock Pumba…
He seems to be having a really bad hair day.
As a result,I am certain that he was NOT looking
at his reflection in the camp waterhole!
Because there are SO many Impala that visitors get to see on game drives,
they are often ignored after the first sighting,
and rejected as photographic subjects.
I tend to disagree…
Hamiltons Tented Camp
Named in honour of one of the founding rangers of the Kruger park.
This is where, in 2007 my wife and I had our honeymoon.
We ended this trip by returning to enjoy our 11th wedding anniversary here.
And last but by no means least…
Our final night was going to be spent at this iconic tented camp.
Eleven years ago my new bride and I walked up these stairs together.
And on the exact same date, 11 years later, we once again find ourselves
climbing these stairs, to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary.
There is so much to absorb when it comes to the decor,
much of which we remembered from our visit in 2007.
The accommodation is accessed via raised wooden walkways.
The vegetation as become more dense in the intervening years,
almost hiding the tents entirely.
Again the bed and linen lived up to the standards that
Imbali and Hoya Hoya had set.
Much like the waterholes at the other two camps.
the one at Hamiltons produced its fair share of exciting game viewing.
A pair of Waterbuck enjoying a leisurely drink,
as they had the water to themselves.
But that was soon to change,
with the arrival of this lone bull elephant.
He not only wanted a drink,
but claimed the spot for a mud bath as well.
A perfect sunset to end of a wonderful experience.