For many South Africans, the term ‘bush’ or ‘safari’ is commonly associated with nostalgic memories from the world-renowned Kruger National Park, the 2 million hectare piece of wilderness that borders Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. For us, that statement stood true…that was until we had an amazing opportunity to visit Little Garonga Camp in the Makalali Nature Reserve, a short hour’s drive from the town Hoedspruit. This place, was truly a standout experience!
We were lucky enough to be staying at Little Garonga Camp, a small camp that sits just a little bit away from the main safari camp comprising of three suites, its own dining area, pool and a yoga deck. Our suite was the Hambleden, which was absolutely amazing. From having our own private pool from which we drank GnT’s while watching elephants amble a couple of hundred meters away, our own outside deck which we utilised for reading and aggressive games of cards of Rummi as well as an outside shower which we used every night and morning. Spoilt? I think so.
Every morning our day started at 5 where we’d roll out of bed and into the outdoor shower, accompanied by the sounds of the bush awakening for the day, Woodlands Kingfishers chirping in the distance, an occasional hyena whoop ringing out from the dense thicket behind and the noises of frogs croaking as they began to quieten down before their raucous symphony would start up again in the evening.
At 5:15, we would meet for a coffee, juice and a biscuit before embarking on the morning’s game drive as the sun started to dance on the horizon. Our sightings were absolutely brilliant, and the highlights included a female cheetah with a fresh kill, the Garonga pride of lion with their little lion cubs, an array of different birds including a Melanistic Gabar Goshawk, and of course all of the stuff in between such as impala lambs, giraffe, zebras and a wonderful sighting of young elephants play-fighting in the mud.
Our afternoon’s were filled with relaxation time, an occasional snooze, a lot of swimming in the 40 degree heat and bird watching from the deck before an incredible assortment of goodies for lunch was served followed by the evening’s game drive. This was accompanied of course by an essential on any evening game drive…a stop in the bush for sundowner and snacks.
A highlight for us was the opportunity to experience a ‘Star Bath’. Now, being not such a lover of baths myself I was a little apprehensive about this but judging from everyone else’s experiences of it over dinner conservation, we thought we best see what all the fuss is about.
A short distance away from our suite, was the bush bath – an open-air bath accompanied with your drinks of choice, bubble bath and glowing candles – as you watch the stars rise above you and listen to the nocturnal life of the bush begin their night chorus.
A truly incredible and special experience that we will be remembering for a long time to come and an honest and sincere recommendation to anyone who is looking for a safari, to visit this special place. From amazing food, staff and incredible field guides – Garonga Safari Camp has got our major stamp of approval. Thanks again for having us 🙂