After making our way from Hoedspruit, we pulled up to Ngala Private Game Reserve. I had been prepared to “rough it” in a sense. You hear things like “safari” and “game park” and “creepy crawlies” and expect as much…right? What I had not been prepared for was this:
As it turns out, all the other accommodations were booked out, so they upgraded mom and me to the honeymoon suite (naturally, no such thing ever happens when I’m traveling with my husband)(yes, I am still not used to saying that!). And by “suite,” we had a bedroom, a living room with additional bed, a wrap-around porch, a kitchen, two full bathrooms (one of which had a stand-alone shower bigger than my home office) and a full-sized swimming pool. (Don’t worry, I’d hate us, too.)
On top of that, they served us dinner one night on our private porch overlooking an empty creek bed with hyenas howling in the distance. (I’m not going to lie: That part threw me off ever so slightly.)
Every day followed a pretty “strict” schedule: Morning safari started before 5am, meaning a Ngala employee knocked on every cabin door at 4 to wake us up, we had a quick cup of coffee and pastry, and were in the truck and ready to go on time. We would arrive back to base camp around 9am, at which point a fancy breakfast spread awaited us.
At that point, I usually slept all afternoon long in lieu of going on the bush walk. Had it been warmer—it was fall while we were there and pretty darn nippy—I would have made use of the pool. Then, there was afternoon tea before the 4pm safari, another four-hour drive and back after dark for a full-on feast, which was served in a different dining room each night. So basically the pattern was: eat, wildlife, eat, nap, eat, wildlife, eat, sleep. I think I can handle that kind of strenuous routine on a full-time basis.
Our intrepid and comic safari guide Dyke would also stop and set up a snack table and cocktail bar in the middle of the bush on each drive. You know, just so we wouldn’t have to go two hours without sustenance. The food was amazing, I’ll give them that. It’s a wonder I didn’t gain 10 pounds; Lord knows I wasn’t sticking to any sort of pre-wedding diet on this trip!
The commons areas were beautiful: Everything was open and airy, and there were couches everywhere for lounging. Oh, and once the sun went down, you weren’t allowed to roam around the camp freely; rather, you had to have an escort. With good reason—one night, there were leopards roaming about the camp! And let’s not even talk about the pesky baboons who used our roof as a trampoline every night when the lights went off.
The jeeps were amazingly comfortable, too—extremely important, of course, as you spend a good eight hours a day in them. The lack of a top or side railing meant that the animals could come right up to the vehicle and breathe on us if they liked.
Wow, I could get used to this kind of spoiling. I would have enjoyed the open air ride when in Kruger, yet had some concerns as well.
Beautiful place! I’m interested to hear what kind of animals you saw. I did a Kruger Park safari a few years ago and saw many animals, one being the elusive wild dog, which was really cool! I really hope you continue this topic!
Your strenuous schedule was similar to the one I had while at Ezulwini (safari in Balule Nature Reserve), but we had an added marathon lunch around 2:00 PM. The food was fantastic and my friend actually did gain weight while we were on safari 🙂 I did like that the vehicles at Ezulwini, as they had sun shelters (a canvas top) which were nice after the sun was up and for the afternoon drive, as sun hats could not shade us adequately, also, we drove through numerous spider webs, and it was nice to have the supports and “roof” to to help keep th ewebs and spiders off of us 🙂
Amazing! I hope to go on a safari one day like that… my brother is in Africa right now and will be doing a safari in the next month or two. I can’t wait till he’s back home and I can see his pictures! So glad you had a great experience. Please show more pictures of the wildlife on safari!
Did the drives take place in the dark??? I know animals are most active at dusk and dawn, but how do you see them if it’s dark?
Waitwaitwait…*that’s* roughing it?! Maybe that’s why I saw Bear Grylls running around my apartment with a knife in his teeth…
This looks amazing. I hope we’re able to try a place like this in Africa.
Wow, that looks amazing! I think I could handle living it up like this. I’ve got to make it to Africa one day.
WOW! what more can you say? WOW
That bathtub looks amazing!
wow, i am soooo jealous!!!!! super nice!
I wanta see a pic of this private pool! You totally deserved an upgrade Mrs. SVV!!! What a GORGEOUS place! The place I stayed in was pretty posh too. One night I snuck out with a glass of wine into the bush without an escort. About 10 minutes into my walk I spotted some eyes in the dark. I didn’t get too scared, but then I saw about 20 other pairs and I freaked, haha.
Wow. That’s just amazing!