The end of another day in paradise. With the late afternoon sun carving a path towards the western horizon, our Field Guide made the decision to begin our drive back to the lodge. We had had a successful game drive that we had spent with a large pack of Wild Dogs. When drives turn out to be this exciting, it is always difficult to leave, not knowing what might transpire after you leave. However, it was a long drive back to the dinner that awaited us at the lodge. To paraphrase the old adage, “Time, and food waits for no man or woman”. So it was homeward bound for this vehicle full of happy guests.
The full moon made itself visible during the drive back to camp. The clouds had dissipated enough for us to enjoy this spectacular view. When the moon is in this phase, the bush can be appreciated in a different manner. And it is only 384 400km away. (I have always wondered if astronauts are entitled to frequent flyer miles)
It is amazing how quickly a lodge becomes referred to as ‘home’ by guests. We were delivered to the front door of the main building that takes on a new “persona” once the darkness settles in and the lights are switched on. The lighting allows guests to become immersed in the ambience that a subdued glow engenders.
Looking from the deck, through the lounge, towards the bar area. Clean lines and a minimal amount of hand-chosen decore is one of the unique selling points that Klaserie Sands River Camp has to offer.
Fact: Several years ago this building was flooded and the raging waters reached the central light fitting before subsiding, leaving chaos in its wake. The rebuild of the lodge took 2 years. As an aside, the couple that was awarded the rebuilt contract are now the owners of the lodge. A dream come true for them.
If guests are seated at the bar, then this is their view. There was a small fire burning in the fireplace, but it was more for ‘decoration’ than heat as the night was particularly warm. The public spaces are immaculately kept with not a speck of dust to be seen. Sit here long enough and you are going to be offered a hot or cold beverage. The lunches that my wife and I enjoyed during our stay were served in here, sheltered from the elements, but with the doors open to bring the outside in.
Guides and guests mingle on the deck for a pre-dinner drink. Time to share tales of the day’s activities and discuss what had been witnessed during the drive. These social gatherings are different from those that might be experienced in a hotel. Guests seem to enjoy spending time together in a relaxed manner. It is in these circumstances that they are able to ask the guides questions as to what had been seen on the day’s activities.
Although the evening was relatively warm, the pool water was too cold to be enjoyed after dark. It was a good place to relax after dinner as this part of the deck has an unhindered view of the waterhole, situated on the far side of the non-flowing Ntsiri river. (just a few days after we had visited, the river flooded and what had been barren and brown quickly morphed into a variety of shades of green.
Fine dining in the bush! Linen napkins and proper cutlery and crockery make dinner a special event. Seating was left to the guests, with guides playing hosts for the evening. A stunning ending to what had been an unforgettable day.
Dinner is served. Starters, mains and dessert followed by a delicious coffee to round off the meal and yet another day in Africa. Soon it was ‘tummies full, eyes shut’ as some headed to the bar for a nightcap, while the rest of us headed off to bed.
With the moon hidden behind a bank of clouds, those guests who had not yet left, settled down to see what might appear at the waterhole before they called it a night. Too much fresh air, good food and an early morning wake-up call made going to bed early almost mandatory. And so it was to the yips of jackals and the whooping ‘laughter’ of nearby hyena that we all quietly left for our accommodation. Another ending to another perfect day in Africa. Memories shared in the soft glow of the lamps that will be remembered forever.
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