My magical night in a Kruger treehouse
Sep30

My magical night in a Kruger treehouse

After an exhilarating day of tracking wildlife with Africa on Foot, we smacked our lips through a satisfying buffet dinner and a session of banter around the fire with fellow guests. It was now time for bed. To the treehouse! The Milky Way shone brightly overhead as we made our way to the rustic treehouse we were to spend the night in. It’s possible to cross paths with an elephant, lion or hyena on the one-hundred-metre-or-so distance that lies between the treehouse and the main camp, so being escorted by a game ranger is essential. This particular treehouse is rooted in greater Kruger’s Klaserie Private Nature Reserve – the land of the big five, surrounded by tough Acacias and winter sunshine. We climbed the stairs that lead to the third, and final, level of the treehouse, where the inviting double bed was draped with mosquito net. The treehouse is a simple structure – a frame with wooden safety rails. There are no walls. How fantastic! This gave a spectacular view of the reserve without a vehicle, building or person in sight to interrupt the landscape. Surrounded by the wonders of nature Elbows on the railing, I peered out into the distance. What was that I was seeing? Trees don’t move like that. I’d spotted a giraffe! Two giraffes! My partner and I watched the long-necked browsers stalk their way across the plain as if in slow motion. The chill of the evening air nipped at our ankles. We clutched the hot water bottles the staff had prepared for us and slid into bed. As I closed my eyes, the night’s symphony came alive to my ears. The sound of chirping and buzzing lent a sound track to the twinkling stars I could still see in my mind. Suddenly, a distant (yet bold) call ripped through the delicate sounds of the night. A lion’s call – declaring his territory. Wow. It was deep, meaty and rough. It was wild as the grass that covered the ground that its massive paws strolled on. It was the sound of that Harley Davidson type rumble that I fell asleep to. When nature calls… I woke at about 2 am… when nature called. With the loo all the way on the ground floor, I scanned the perimeter of the treehouse to check for animals before I made my descent. As I was climbing downstairs I heard a crunch of dry leaves nearby. I froze. I heard it again. I shone my torch in the direction the noise was coming from and noticed a pair of glass eyes shining back at me. Then, the creature carried...

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Footsteps to remember – A walking safari with Africa on Foot
Sep30

Footsteps to remember – A walking safari with Africa on Foot

We rose before the sun did. From the ground level of our treehouse came a game ranger’s friendly wake-up call for the early morning walking safari with Africa on Foot. After a cup of hot coffee and a brief safety chat from our rangers (Francois and Enoch) we set off on an expedition into nature, on foot. The journey begins… With rifles by their sides as a safety precaution, Francois and Enoch lead us into our first stretch of wildlife tracking. The untrained eye would find it difficult to point out and identify various wildlife tracks in the day’s first light, but not our guides. Both of them were on a mission to get us a glimpse of the elephants that were recently here. Freshly snapped tree branches, flattened grass and footprints gave away their presence. Enoch was confident they were nearby. The sun was a minute away from peeping its head out on the horizon – a sight I was itching to catch with my camera. Suddenly, I noticed Francois stop, and in silence held up his right hand in a fist. This sign meant we were to stop walking. Then, he pointed. On the left a large elephant wrapped its trunk around a branch and stripped it from a tree with ease. On the right a mommy-elephant and her baby huddled close, their wrinkly bums facing us. They were too far away for me to get a decent photograph. Keeping your distance from wildlife while on foot is very important – especially elephants, so I wasn’t complaining. Soaking up the sight, enjoying the moment without the sound of a 4×4’s engine I’d completely forgotten about the sunrise. By now the sun illuminated everything within reach. Taking a better look around in the golden morning light I noticed the brown, Rice-Krispies-like earth beneath my feet. We were on a dirt path that seemed to be some kind of wildlife highway by night, with only footprints and droppings left to tell the tale of their journey. Learning as we go We continued our walking safari in a different direction to leave the elephants in peace. As we walked, Francois and Enoch stopped regularly to shed light on the little wonders nature has created. Francois pointed out everything from which tree is best used to create a toothbrush if stranded, to how elephants manage to kill trees by eating too much of its cambium layer, beneath the bark. Forty-five minutes into the walking safari, and we all felt like wildlife-footprint-identification experts. Thanks to the trusty rangers, I confidently identified the tread of at least seven creatures all on my own. These...

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Five reasons to book a Kruger safari at nDzuti
Sep30

Five reasons to book a Kruger safari at nDzuti

Reflecting on my time spent at nDzuti, memories of relaxation, excitement, satisfaction and comfort come flooding back to mind. If I were to dissect the experience into five reasons to book a Kruger safari at nDzuti, then these are the reasons I would serve… Location Sitting on Kruger National Park’s left flank, nDzuti is found in greater Kruger’s Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. This means big five territory! The reserve shares an unfenced border with Kruger National Park, making for exhilarating game drives where you can expect to find lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino just around any corner. Well looked-after From the moment you arrive, you are made to feel like you are part of the family. As your transfer arrives at nDzuti, Bruce and Judy, the lodge managers, are already outside waiting to welcome you to the camp’s homely atmosphere and fresh rooms with their warm hospitality. Throughout your stay you are well fed (with a great variety of explosively scrumptious wholesome meals). Two game drives per day are also included in your stay, which are served with safari blankets for warmth during the chilly moments. You can also enjoy your beverage-of-choice at a mid-game-drive stop at a viewpoint. You don’t have to take my word for it though, simply browsing through nDzuti’s Trip Advisor reviews from past guests, show that I speak the truth. Romantic It’s a combination of a few things that make staying at nDzuti feel like a romantic getaway. It’s in the warm glow of the path lights that lead to the fire pit in the evening, the ice-bucket and bottle of chilled wine that’s ready when you are, and the blanket of stars that dazzle overhead in the night sky. It’s in the pool on the viewing deck that overlooks a waterhole, the green carpet of grass that lies beneath the camp’s tall trees, and the daily traffic of tree squirrels and hares that scurry around it. It’s these little things that give couples that charming retreat feeling. Elements which also happen to make up a magical family safari experience. Great wildlife viewing Bruce and Judy pack a punch of knowledge and respect for the creatures and wilderness that surrounds them. It’s something you’ll discover after just one game drive at nDzuti. With a hardy 4×4 to conduct a wildlife tracking session through Klaserie’s natural obstacles, they make it feel like a gentle meander. The reserve’s location allows for excellent big five wildlife spotting drives, and with Bruce or Judy behind the wheel, their tracking skills are sure to deliver fantastic sightings. Affordable For the safari experience, I found the pricing excellent. The...

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Five reasons greater Kruger rocks
Sep30

Five reasons greater Kruger rocks

Having recently been on a week-long safari in Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, I can safely say that greater Kruger National Park is the place to be for an intimate safari that allows you to reconnect with nature… and yourself. Here are a few reasons greater Kruger harbours an authentic safari experience that rocks. 1. Location, location, location Associated Private Nature Reserves teamed up with Kruger National Park to create greater Kruger National Park as a conservation venture. For that reason, greater Kruger shares unfenced borders with the official national park. This makes the area big five territory, where all wildlife are free to roam from park to reserves and back. That’s exactly where you want to be on a safari. 2. Uncrowded sightings A lioness takes down a buffalo. Greater Kruger guests will witness the event in awe while the game ranger calls in the action over a networked radio system to alert nearby camps. Over the next few days, camps will respectfully ensure that there are no more than two game drive vehicles at a sighting at one point in time. It’s such a simple rule and yet lends to such intimate viewing experiences. It means you don’t have to share your lion encounter with 100 other people as you would in the main Kruger National Park region. There’s no disrespectful hooting from rude travellers, no vehicles in the way of your perfect photo, no queue of cars waiting for you to experience the magic of nature quickly…so that they can have their turn. In greater Kruger you’re afforded time to absorb nature at its own pace with a small group of people. You get to watch a far-too-full lion as it lays on its side, its breath short and fast because it’s gorged itself so full of buffalo that its stomach now occupies lung space. You get to experience it all without distractions. 3. Quality accommodation Kruger’s private nature reserves do whatever they can to ensure guests enjoy a peaceful safari, where cleanliness, comfort and relaxation are at the top of the priority list. Friendly staff compliment the effort poured into room preparation; well at least as I experienced it at nDzuti, Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp in Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. 4. Dirt road 4×4 safari experience There’s something special about hopping in a 4×4 and having a game ranger weave the hardy vehicle through nature’s garden on an earthy dirt road. That’s exactly what you get 90% of the time when in greater Kruger – a naturally harmonious game drive where you get to experience African soil without man-made paths or structures. 5. Peace...

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Luxurious, comfortable and top service trip – Guest feedback by Celeste le Roux
Mar12

Luxurious, comfortable and top service trip – Guest feedback by Celeste le Roux

Celeste prepared a trip for guests Dai & friend who visited Casa do Sol in the Panorama Route and Simbavati River Lodge in the Timbavati Game Reserve of Kruger. Dai had the following guest feedback to share: “Good morning Celeste I realised recently that we hadn’t completed any feed back from our trip to South Africa in November. I suspect you asked for one whilst we were still there and as we were on the road we didn’t complete one. We stayed in Casa del Sol en route to Kruger, which was lovely, and then had a really magical 4 days in Simbavati. Luxurious, comfortable, top service and outstanding game guide in Moshe. Of course we ate too much, but what an experience. I’m wondering if you can help a very good friend of ours who will be going to SA in Easter 2015 on a family trip, but limited to school holidays. A similar safari to what we had in Simbavati would be good, but I expect it will be the wrong season for Kruger there, and tied in with a stay in Cape Town, Natal or Eastern Cape ?? Once you respond I’ll get him to contact you. By the way I wish we had stayed on in SA, we’ve had the worst weather in recorded history in the south of England, with storm after storm and continuous rain!! We’re already thinking about SA for our next winter! Best regards...

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