What a start to a week… It surely cannot be much better than this. It starts with a seamless 45 minute SA Airlink flight to the recently (July 2014) reopened Skukuza Airport. The private lodge feeling of the airport is something special. We are blessed to arrive on the first cool day in months and we are met by our rangers and our safari vehicles. Despite a bit of drizzle we enjoy our 30 minute game drive (not a transfer) to Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge. We arrive in time to enjoy a delicious lunch with many different dishes on offer including crocodile and venison.
A site inspection follows of the refurbished rooms as well as the 2 new breathtaking villas each boasting 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms each. The main ensuites bathroom is luxury personified as it comes complete with 2 side by side baths with panoramic glass all round so one can experience the bush while relaxing deep in foam. The standard suites at Sabi Sabi are extremely comfortable and they are fitted with nearly every conceivable comfort including a large bathroom with both inside and outside showers, a lounge area with a day bed that can be converted into a bed for 2 young kids and a personal Nespresso coffee making machine.. Talking of kids Sabi Sabi bush lodge has its very popular Elefun Centre for those that travel with kids. There are professional mind keepers who do not only look after kids but inspire them to learn more about the bush and the environment.
The main reason though for coming to a lodge, such as Sabi Sabi, is to go out on safari with your ranger and tracker. The Sabi Sands is infamous for its leopards and we were lucky enough to spot a female and her year old male cub. What made the sighting so special was seeing the 2 beautiful cats interact. We stayed for a long time and just watched. We then were fortunate to come upon a honey badger digging for leguvan eggs which it managed to extract from a depth of around half a metre. We continued on to our sunset spot which was specially prepared for us complete with white table cloths and enough snacks to feed a small army. Sabi Sabi has taken to offering a comprehensive range of craft beers and these went down extremely well with the compulsory biltong. Arriving back at the lodge there was time to freshen up and enjoy an aperitif before sitting down to a 6 course dinner!!!! The night ended with a nightcap before hitting the pillow and falling asleep in about 6 seconds…..
5:30 wake call was followed by an outside shower and a strong Nespresso
coffee before heading out on our morning game drive. If we thought that our leopard sighting from the night before could not be topped then we were seriously mistaken. We were treated to what must be my best leopard sighting ever. A large male leopard (Maxabeni) had killed a waterbuck and had managed to somehow lift it about 4 metres up a Jackalberry tree. What followed was a real treat. A hyena came sniffing around hoping to have a loose piece of meat dropped down to her and then a female leopard (Little Bush) entered the frame. We then witnessed some growling between the leopards before the female was finally allowed up the tree to feed. We continued on to a surprise bush breakfast under a glorious Jackalberry tree where we were once again greeted by beautifully decorated tables and a hearty breakfast. We had enough time upon our return to freshen up and relax in the stunning lounge areas of the lodge overlooking the waterhole with lots of game around it including elephants, buffalo, wildebeest and more. A game drive transfer back to Skukuza Airport in time for our return flight bought an end to a wonderful albeit short educational trip.
A huge thank-you to Carol, Jan and Rod plus the rest of the amazing Sabi Sabi crew and SA Airlink for this wonderful opportunity. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I think that this constitutes work but I guess in our line of work it is necessary that we can experience what our guests are likely to experience. I am looking forward already to my next educational 🙂