The last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave! ”
Songwriters: Henley Donald Hugh / Frey Glenn Lewis / Felder Don
Hotel California lyrics © Cass County Music, Red Cloud Music, Fingers Music
The words of the Eagles song Hotel California were ringing in my head as I tried to find a] an excuse to explain to my wife why I would NOT be returning home and b] how I was going to tell James and Corlia Steyn that I would not be leaving Senalala Safari Lodge as planned.
Neither came to fruition and it was with a very heavy heart that I did eventually bid the property farewell. But not after driving for 2km and remembering that I had left my favourite water bottle behind, turning around to retrieve it before FINALLY setting off on my homeward journey.
The accommodation might not offer over the top luxury but it does have all the comforts that you need and a view that I found hard to equate to any other lodge that I have stayed in over the years. Both the bed and linen were comfortable, there was a desk that I could work at and enough cupboard space to please the most critical of travellers. For once, I availed myself space in one of the cupboards as I usually just survive by taking items from my suitcase daily. The turndown service and the chocolate on the pillow was an unexpected surprise.
As a result of the way the lodge is designed, the chalets have no exterior showers, but the one in the bathroom was more than adequate to both keep me clean and cool as the temperature spiked at 41C.
The lodge has been designed so that all the rooms face a waterhole that was busy from dawn to dusk with a variety of species. Zebra are one of my favourites and came done to drink on several occasions. Did you know that the collective bound for Zebra is a ‘dazzle’? Now you do.
Early morning and we were already out of the camp. No sleeping in is allowed…
The sound of Africa? Forget the African Fish Eagle which is rarely heard in an urban context, the incessant and insistent scream of the ubiquitous Hadeda had followed me from our garden in Johannesburg to the bush in Klaserie.
This is where I spent most of my time while in camp. It was hard not to be drawn to these two areas that overlook the waterhole. The gazebo on the left is an outdoor lounge with soft comfortable sofas and chairs. Perfect for chilling in and watching the action unfold in front of you. The other area has a fire pit and was used as a gathering point after the evening game drive and before dinner was served.
I did mention that you did not have to leave camp to enjoy a safari experience…
This was on another occasion in the late afternoon when this herd came thundering into the clearing and headed for the water. Unlike giraffe that take their time to make certain that they won’t be attacked, elephants, as a result of their size, have no such issues and will plunge straight in.
Rugged by name rugged by nature. I was at Seanala to do a photoshoot for this iconic bush clothing brand. Not with posed models, but in situations where you would normally find the clothing being utilized. Ruggedwear is a proudly South African brand made in South Africa and creating a work ethic that fits in with their motto: Real People, Real Clothing, Real Solutions.
Do you know what animal this track belongs to? Should I give you a clue or just tell you outright? It is the very fresh track of a White Rhino…as we found out soon after stopping to look at this. There was a small crash (another collective noun) not too far away and we were able to approach them safely while on a morning walk.
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun? Or in this case, a mad hyena and a crazy photographer (me) brave the 40-degree heat.
Remember a book called “Sounds of a cowhide Drum” by Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali? Possibly not, but at Senalala the sound of the drum calls guests to meals. (this is James beating out the lunch rhythms.)
And speaking of meals…breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at Senalala. No high-tea but there is a constant supply of hot and cold beverages as well as cookies and rusks available in the lounge if you are peckish.
Looking towards the lodge from the fire pit area… dinner was about to be served.
Dinner was a more formal meal.
This is the way to end another spectacular day in the bush. Congregated around a fire sharing stories about the events and experiences of the day.
Managers and hosts Corlia and James Steyn. As James is a brand ambassador for Ruggedwear I got to spend all of my drives and walks with him. He opened my eyes to a whole new way of experiencing the bush and its inhabitants. And it was as a direct result of spending time with these two that I tried to come up with a slew of excuses not to return home. Thank you for your hospitality and for sharing your extensive knowledge with me. I will be back!
To find out more about what the Lodge offers, click on the logo to visit their website.
To find out more about the range that Ruggedwear offers, click on the logo to visit their website.
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