The final stop on our mini safari at the Karongwe Portfolio camps. Becks Safari Lodge is, to our minds, the jewel in the crown of the three camps that my wife and I visited recently. Named after a family member, this camp, unlike River Lodge and Kuname Lodge, that were bought and renovated, was purpose-built and opened 4 years ago. In a word, it is breathtaking in its simplicity of design as well as the decor which has been kept, low-key minimalist. Our non-alcoholic welcoming drink was exactly that…welcoming!
The reception area, like all the other public spaces, seems vast due to the high volume roof and the lack of clutter. Despite the size, it is a welcoming rather than intimidating space and new arrivals are made to feel “at-home’ very quickly. It is here that paperwork is completed and the ubiquitous property tour begins.
Opposite the reception desk is the public toilet and just out of frame on the right is a well-stocked curio shop. A must for those who collect keepsakes from their safari destinations.
The dining area might look a little bare but that was only because the staff had not set up for lunch. (Like the other two lodges, they too serve a proper lunch that caters for all dietary requirements.
All meals can be taken here, depending on the weather. During our visit, we enjoyed both indoor and outdoor meals.
I did mention that there was something for everyone. Starters, mains and desserts were on offer as well as the South African traditional end-of-meal favourite, cheese and biscuits.
The HUGE lounge is divided into a couple of areas allowing guests to be both public and have some privacy at the same time.
FYI: I should imagine that in the depth of winter when this area does get cold, the fire would be most welcoming.
The huge pool was enticing, but not to the point that I was prepared to get in. As per usual, my wife took the plunge for research purposes and passed this amenity with flying colours.
As if all the indoor seating was not enough, there is not one but two seating areas outside. Guests have a view of the river as well as the pool from this vantage point.
Our tour of the property ended when we got to the accommodation. The muted grey blends perfectly into the shadow of the trees and the raised wooden walkway is an extension of the deck that can be found around the main building. Look closely and you might just make out the fact that the rooms are actually made of canvas stretched over an aluminium frame. But having said that, these are not to be seen as tents of any description. It seems that this method of building was just more cost-effective.
FYI: The property is wheelchair friendly both inside and out. There is a ramp at the main entrance and seeing that all the public areas are spacious, guests in wheelchairs will find those easy to navigate.
Once inside, neither my wife nor I realized what the walls actually consisted of as the finishings are of a high standard with not a crease in sight. The bed was smaller than the one we had shared in River Lodge, but it was still bigger than the regular bed found in most hotels worldwide.
BTW: Does anyone know why beds at game lodges are so huge? Most of them offer beds that are larger than King size and come with enough pillows to build a fort with. Not that either of us was complaining, it was merely an observation…and the problem comes when we return home to our regular king-sized bed, which takes us a day or two to get used to.
As a working writer, a desk with proper connectivity is something that I look for as soon as the door to any accommodation opens. I was not disappointed in this instance! I could even swivel around to look out of the folding glass doors that open the full length of the front of the room. so, if the weather is not to your liking, you can take up residence in the seating area just in front of the bed…
Or you can sit on the deck and enjoy the view through the trees and across the Makutsi River that runs past the camp.
The bathroom offers visitors the choice of both a bath and shower as well as a vanity slab with double basins and a wall-mounted hair-dryer. The separate toilet can be closed for privacy and the shower has a door that opened onto the deck, allowing guests to enjoy the ‘safety’ of being inside, while at the same time having the experience of an outdoor shower.
The camp in its night time regalia and it takes on a whole new feeling once the sun has set. Subdued lighting enhances certain areas without becoming intrusive and the fire pit with its blazing logs turns what could be seen as bland into brilliant.
How the pool changes at night. The camp is fenced, so if guests feel like a late-night dip, they would not have to worry about being harassed by passing wildlife.
A view of some of the interior decor once the lights come on…
The table setting for dinner. One that would not be out of place at a fine dining restaurant in a major urban setting anywhere in the world.
Dinner was a plated meal with soup, starter and a choice of mains. Yes, there was dessert, but both my wife and I chose to forego that given the amount of food that we had both enjoyed at lunch as well as the snacks while out on the afternoon drive.
So unfortunately for YOU dear reader, no images of the aforementioned desserts, not even for research purposes.
To find out more about Karongwe Portfolio and what they offer, click on the logo above.
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