One of my most fondly remembered South African safari experiences was a silver moonrise in the Groot Marico. Another was seeing a big Sabi Sand sky aflutter with Blue Waxbills. In the Manyeleti, a highlight was watching my all-time largest pride of lion, reclining well fed and lethargic on a charred piece of earth etched stark and black by a bush blaze. On a foot safari in the Kalahari desert, I recall the stun-gun effect of a near-brush with a Cape Cobra poised for action beneath a rocky overhang. Dew-jewelled spider webs shimmering at daybreak, hyena babes peeping out from their lair, the list of wonders goes go on and on …
There is always something more to see in the wilderness – some new enchantment about to happen. South Africa is well-known for its unforgettable safaris. Typically, guests go on two open 4×4 safari drives each day, one in the early morning and another departing from the lodge in the late afternoon and returning after dark. A sundowner stop in the bush is undoubtedly one of the highlights of every 24-hour safari-cycle. Wilderness skies at sunset are breathcatching, just you wait and see.
The summer safari programme at Sabi Sabi (December – March) – which is not dissimilar from other lodges in the luxury bracket, is as follows:
05h30 Wake up and morning tea
06h00 Morning safari departs
09h00 Return for breakfast; optional walking safari
16h00 Afternoon tea
16h30 Afternoon safari departs
19h30 Return from safari
This basic programme varies slightly during different seasons, so that guests enjoy optimal game viewing and comfort.
At luxury safari lodges, there’s much else to do besides the main-event safaris. At Londolozi, for example, you can also enjoy yoga, massage, bush running, a workout in the African fitness room, day walking expeditions, animal tracking, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, and visits to a Shangaan cultural village and local community projects.
Many of South Africa’s luxury lodges have spas with tantalising menus of beauty and wellness treatments. Several lodges have fully equipped gyms too. Ulusaba has a bush observatory for supreme stargazing in African skies.
Some lodges also offer sleep-outs under the stars. Trade your luxury room for a night to get really close to nature. Sleep on an elevated platform with just the essentials on hand to keep you comfortable, and the great wilderness just an arm’s length away.
There are several lodges that offer outstanding photographic safaris, if this is the particular game plan you’re after.
If there are children in your party, choose a child-friendly safari lodge where their custom-made activities could include spoor identification, bush treasure hunts, mask making, wilderness art, outdoor games and swimming, and short bush excursions.
Meals at safari lodges are copious and memorable. Sometimes your hosts will surprise you and you’ll be taken to some special spot in the bush where a candlelit meal has been set out for you – most, most beautifully. For the most part meals are eaten outdoors, usually on open dining decks in full view of the bush, or in firelit, open-air enclosures. It’s wonderful to sit around the campfire under a twinkling sky after dinner and exchange bush highlights with other guests.
We have 22 years of safari experience, so do consult us when selecting your South African safari. Mail us or call +27 21 797-7122.