If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it! On a visit to Kwafubesi some years ago, I was witness to this succulent and rock garden being built and it is still here. Albeit that the pots have been painted a darker hue (in retrospect a much better colour) and that the succulents seem to be smaller than they should be given the intervening years.
It turns out that between a resident porcupine and elephants during lockdown, many of the plants had to be replaced, hence their somewhat small size. But does that distract from the first impression of the camp for arriving visitors? Not at all.
One of the best features about this camp is that it is a mere 2.5 hours from our front door, and the majority of the trip is on the N4, which is pothole-free and only costs R73.00 in toll fees.
I have visited this camp on several occasions, but it was the first for my wife and watching her see it for the first time reminded me what an impression it had made on me all those years ago.
It seems that many lodges that we visit no longer offer an alcoholic welcome drink as an option, and Kwafubesi is no different.
This was a mixture of Grenadine and Sprite and was most refreshing after a tense drive from Johannesburg due to pouring rain and drivers who do not know how to behave in the wet.
We had timed our arrival to coincide with lunch and while our luggage was taken to our tent and we sat down to a meal that was as delicious as it looked. All the meals that we enjoyed during our stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner exceeded expectations and were well presented and tasted sublime. There was never a morsal left behind to be returned to the kitchen. A tribute to all involved behind the scenes.
With lunch behind us, we headed to our tent that was situated a short walk from the main building. There were three similar tents, separated by enough space and foliage to offer privacy from the neighbours.
‘Tents’ have come a long way since my early days of camping when you had to crawl into a tent on all fours and there was barely enough headroom to stand up in.
Today, modern safari tents are spacious, offering more than enough space and can be entered and exited while standing up. And they fitted with all the mod-cons, like a full bathroom with an indoor toilet, bath and shower.
I did mention that the tent had both floor space and height…as well as a really comfortable bed and cool linen that made getting up at 05h00 difficult. In summer, game drives leave at 05h30, so the early wake-up call gives guests time to get dressed and more importantly have a hot beverage before setting out.
Small touches, like the greenery on the towel in the bathroom, go a long way to making guests feel that no detail has been overlooked.
Eventually, the blue sky replaced the grey. Not that I was complaining. I recently read an article on photographing animals in the rain and I was looking forward to trying out some of the suggestions that the author had mentioned. But that was not to be, and even though rain was forecast, it held off for the entire duration of our stay.
The only ‘wet’ image I was able to capture was of raindrops on one of the succulents that surround the main camp building. Better than nothing I suppose?
When the sun came out, my wife DID take advantage of the swimming pool and managed to coax another couple to try out the rather ‘bracing’ temperature of the water. That being said, on a hot summer day, this is an ideal spot to keep cool.
This is the heart of Kwafubesi, the lounge, dining room and bar area combined. COVID protocols are in place and seeing that it is such an open area and that the tables are well-spaced, social distancing can be practised.
Aside from the staff and our guide, this machine worked the hardest during our stay…and according to my wife, who is a coffee aficionado, it makes great coffee. Personally, I prefer tea, but on her recommendation and for research purposes, I did try a cup (or two) and found her statement to be correct.
Time to saddle up and ride. I always approach every drive with a sense of excitement as to what might be encountered while away from camp.
It is said that the best sightings always occur the day before you arrive or the day after you leave a camp. On chatting to the guests that were already in the camp when we arrived, the former turned out to be partially true. We did see the majority of the animals that they had seen, with the exception of the cheetah who were playing hard to find.
I cannot vouch for the latter as I have not been in contact with the camp staff since my visit.
This is one of two males that were found on our first game drive. Recently released into the reserve, this boy is truly beautiful and his demeanour says “I know that I am”!
Although the pride in the reserve has females and cubs, we are unable to find those, but we did find both males on more than one occasion.
This sighting was to set the tone for the rest of our drives, but more about those in another post.
When you leave on a game drive, your guide will usually mention the length of the drive and what time supper would be. He will always say that “There will be time to freshen up before dinner” which I usually ignore as I am prepared to get out of a vehicle and head to the dining room.
However, in this particular instance, I decided to take up the offer and have a shower before sitting down to enjoy dinner.
Put another chop on the braai? The threatening thunderstorm held off long enough for us to enjoy a traditional braai (barbeque) in the outdoor boma alongside the main dining area.
For my wife and I, lamb chops, cooked to perfection over an open flame was exactly what we were hoping for, and that is what we got…together with boerewors, chicken kebabs and a range of vegetables and other traditional accompaniments.
And it goes without saying that we ended off the meal with a legendary South African Malva pudding with hand-made custard. No pictures of the dessert as it vanished before I could hit the shutter button! But visit Kwafubesi and you can try it for yourself.
The entrance to our tent, post-dinner. By leaving the verandah light on, it kept the bugs and flying insects out of the tent interior. And yes, there are bugs, but this is the bush and for that reason, their buzzing and thudding as the larger ones hit the canvas sides are part of the sound tapestry that is the bush after dark.
Morning, time to get up and do it all over again. But do you hear me complaining? Not at all. Early morning in the African bush is my happy place…
To find out more about what the camp has to offer, click on the logo above.
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