Where did you go?
South Africa – Johannesburg, Madikwe Game Reserve and Cape Town
What season was it?
It was May – so it was Autumn. Our first day was the coldest May morning in South African history. But the rest of the trip we had amazingly clear weather and by the end, we were swimming in the spectacular pool area of the Palace of the Lost City at Sun City (Pilanesberg).
What was the best part of your trip?
Oh, that would be the Safari at the Madikwe Game Reserve. Not only was the Makanyane Safari Lodge an absolute treat – with suites so luxurious, former first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush both loved their stays there too.
Makanyane has eight luxurious lodges set on the bank of the Marico River. The suites are built so that they blend into the natural landscape with lots of natural wood, thatched roofs, a freestanding bath, indoor and outdoor showers and a spectacular glass-walled bedroom overlooking the river. There were deer, monkey, birds & butterflies all flitting and frolicking outside the bedroom window. Just amazing! It’s a nature-lovers, wild-life paradise. And a dream come true for photography buffs.
I wasn’t sure I’d really enjoy the safari part. But gosh was I wrong. Within minutes of leaving the lodge, you’re likely to see Impala, Warthog, Cheetah, Leopards, Rhino, Zebra, wild dogs and so many different birds. Each safari trip – taken early in the morning (complete with a hot water bottle to keep te chill off at 6.30am) and again in the late afternoon, is different. And the guides are amazing; so full of information about each animal we saw.
We even spent some time with a pride of lions as they were getting ready for their nightly hunting events. Then we joined them as they ate their freshly caught prey of Wildebeest for dinner. Rather than being repulsed by the somewhat gory reality of it, because you’re so close to the action, the sheer intensity and speed of it ended up being more exhilarating than anything else.
Make sure you:
Keep your door closed! There are no room keys or locks required at Makanyane – you are quite literally in the middle of nowhere. But you don’t want to get any unexpected visitors – especially hungry ones!
Take a camera – there is so much wildlife to see and you’re up so close you’ll want to capture as many moments as possible
Listen to your guide – whilst we were out on safari happily snapping away on our cameras, enjoying our ‘sundowners’ (complete with champagne, table clothes and nibbles) our guide heard something the rest of us missed. He told us to “GET IN THE TRUCK NOW”. Shortly after that, a herd of Wildebeest ran by, closely followed by an entire pride of Lions chasing them.
Try the food – the warthog, water buffalo and kudu were beautiful.
Hints and tips:
Safari is best rounded out by some extra R&R.
Post safari R&R in Cape Town.
Make sure you take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. The climb is steep and the views are spectacular. And if you like a drop of wine, there’s an entire wine region (with the occasional brewery to boot) to explore. Or if shopping, galleries and architecture are more your thing, Stellenbosch’s quaint and beautiful oak-lined streets offer beautiful examples of Cape Dutch architecture.
R&R in Pilanesberg (just over 2 hours from Johannesburg)
The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City is huge and authentically African. There’s almost everything you can think of to do here – with a wave pool, in addition to the ‘regular’ pool, cinemas, golf, watersports and spa facilities. You can do a lot here or nothing at all (and relax or people watch). If you’ve ever seen the movie Blended – this is the African resort much of the movie was shot at. You can even head out for another game drive if you need to get another one in before you leave South Africa.
If that’s got you thinking about a trip to Africa, why not stop in and talk to Jenny in person. Or if you’re looking for a little further inspiration, we’d be delighted to chat! You can always give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, call into the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment via the form below.
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