Griffons Bush Camp is 3.5 hours from Johannesburg and this self-catering, rustic (to quote their website) will be how I immerse myself back into the bush at the beginning of an extended road trip. I am hoping to get to use some of the track and sign skills I recently acquired while spending time at one of the FGASA accredited training providers. Be aware that although you do not need a 4×4 to get to the camp, a vehicle with high ground clearance is a necessity. There is an 8km stretch of gravel road that will test your driving skills and the quality of your tires. The local road-works department should have started on repairing this section some while ago, however at the time of our visit it had not been started.
Griffons is where my wife, Carolyn, and I spent our 14th wedding anniversary. And what a celebration it was! We shared our evening with the young owner, Benjamin and his mom Heather who showed us true bush hospitality.
This was to be our home for the duration of our stay. No electricity, no internet connectivity(except for some intermittent signal if you wandered around and held your phone to the sky). All the cooking that we did was either on gas or on the fire. The lodge is self-catering, so bring whatever food you think you might require. But don’t bring ANY electrical appliances! We brought a snackwich machine that never even made it out of the car. Do bring firestarters with you, but charcoal is not required as there is more than enough wood to braai with. Alois, the camp manager will be able to help you with that. There was even a toasting rack that worked on the gas stove. Braai enough at dinner and you have breakfast and lunch the next day.
From the inside looking out. Our room had a queen-size bed as well as a single bed, the latter was used to unpack my camera gear. There is also a gas hob so that you can boil water for tea or coffee. The solar LED lighting strips in the bedside lights and on the table in the corner were probably some of the best lighting that I have experienced in any lodge…ever.
The ‘bathroom’ is outside, protected from the elements and possible prying eyes by a fence. The shower is gas-powered and heats up very quickly. There is also a washbasin and a proper flush toilet. All the water on the property comes from a spring and is drinkable and tastes very good.
At night, using these ablution facilities with the vastness of the sky above you can be a very special experience. There is a roof over the toilet just in case it starts to rain while you are seated.
Sitting on the verandah outside the kitchen was a favourite pastime of ours during our stay. A great place to be close to the food as well as enjoying time out to read a book or just watch the plethora of birdlife flitting by. Or, you can sit and enjoy the early morning silence. No traffic, no leaf-blowers and certainly no intrusive urban sounds to shatter the peace and quiet. (BTW, The liquid in the glass is NOT creme de menthe, but South African cream soda)
While sipping my cold drink, this young bushbuck popped up together with a sibling and its mom.
This is what the camp is named after…The Cape Vulture or Griffon of which there are 800 birds in the colony at the top of the Waterberg mountains that loom large over the camp.
Something I have not seen before…an underground bee-hive with the bees being very busy going to and fro.
Time for take-off. This pair of Black-capped Bulbuls were intent on looking for food in this patch of grass.
Part of the Waterberg range is just one of the reasons that visitors flock to this eco-camp. It seems to have magical properties that enable visitors to disconnect from the chaos of their urban lives and tune into nature and all that it offers.
The owner of the property, Benjamin explains this dung beetle ball to our group.
After a long walk, we arrive back at the camp to find that the fire is lit and almost ready to be turned into coals for the dinner braai. Standing here chatting about the walk and the fact that even though we had seen fresh lion tracks, we had not actually seen lions we looked into the darkness to find…eyes staring back at us.
This female, together with her 3 cubs were only 30m from where we were standing and had we not been alerted by the glow of their eyes, they might have gotten even closer to us. We figured that we had either passed them on our walk or they had circled right when we went left and arrived back at the (unfenced) camp at almost the same time as we did. Luckily it all ended well for both humans and wildlife…
Under an awesome sky, it was time to say an early goodnight and head off to bed.
To find out more about the camp and what it offers, click on the logo above.
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