Pre-lockdown, guests would have been met by staff members, keen to welcome new arrivals. However, in this new dispensation we find ourselves in, social distancing means that we were met on our arrival at Safari Plains by the lodge manager only. It is a relatively short drive, about 2.5 hours from Johannesburg on a major highway, so we were not overly tired when we arrived. The baggage was collected from our car and sanitized before being placed into a golf cart and taken to our accommodation. In the meantime, both my wife and I had our temperatures taken and our hands sanitized before we stepped into the reception area.
The reception desk is on the left of the curio shop…a must in any lodge. There is a small selection of high-end mementoes and clothing items are available for sale, should visitors feel that taking home a souvenir(or two) is important.
This covered walkway leads from the main reception area to the Spa on the left and the lounge area on the right. A cool and welcoming space, where guests often stop to take in their surroundings as well as the water feature and the weaver nests on the right, just out of frame. If visiting guests, like my wife, thought that this was special, what awaited as she turned right would certainly take her breath away! (This was a return visit for me, so I was well aware of what lay ahead).
“TA-DA”! Revealed in all its splendour, the majority of the main interior public space. This lounge overlooks the swimming pool and a water hole just outside the fence that surrounds the lodge. The triple-volume ceilings and subtle colour palette makes this a very relaxed and welcoming area to be in.
If you think that the lounge is vast, then the bar, situated in the same space will impress. According to my wife, it has the largest selection of gin that she has seen to date at any lodge we have visited to date.
COVID-19 protocols stipulate that welcome drinks may not be prepared ahead of the guest’s arrival and we, therefore, ordered these drinks and enjoyed them while we filled out the in-depth medical paperwork. As safety regulations change, these requirements might as well. However, they were in force during our visit in September 2020.
This space is so vast that images do not really do it justice and you need to actually be here to appreciate the relaxed feeling that it engenders.
There is no better place to be than in front of this fire on a chilly day or evening for that matter.
The main dining room, which, given the fact that we here during the week, and shared the space with only one other couple, makes it look vast and almost uninviting. It is anything but! My previous visit was in March 2019, almost exactly a year before the pandemic caused the first 21-day lockdown and it was a busy and vibrant space then. And it will no doubt be again.
If you feel that you are being watched while you are at Safari Plains, you might well be. By a Lizard Buzzard.
Eventually, we arrived at our accommodation. A short walk from the main buildings, it was distant enough to make us feel secluded and close enough should we want to use the pool at the main building.
This welcome sign morphed into “Happy Anniversary” (we were here to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary) and then “Good Night”. It is touches like this that make the visits special and memorable.
This was my favourite space. Connected to our accommodation by a raised walkway, this Sala is an open Pavillion that can be used for either relaxation or for personalized Spa treatments. ‘Sala’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘meeting place’.
This swing was well utilized, as the view from the verandah was out over the vast plains that stretched almost from east to west.
In the early mornings and late afternoon, zebra and eland would trek across in front of us, allowing us to experience a mini migration without having to leave the comfort of our accommodation.
Good night and sleep well.
To find out what is currently on offer at Safari Plains, visit their website for all the information you need to make a reservation. Click on the logo to access their site.
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