Rachel’s Great Adventure – The Big 5

November 29, 2016
by Rachel Dempsey, Retail Travel Consultant

1-1476619831-prrrrrfectThis morning we had and early start and flew from Durban to Port Elizabeth. We drove the short drive from Port Elizabeth to Amakhala (45 minutes) for two sight inspections at Bush Lodge and Hlosi Game Lodge. Bush lodge is ddiscreetly positioned in the bush at the top end of an open valley in the reserve, each of the superlative en-suite, tented and thatched suites overlooks a watering point with big sky views. The main lodge offers luxurious dining, splendid lounge areas and an expansive viewing deck with magnificent views of game-filled plains. Evenings are spent around the outdoor fireplace admiring the unspoilt African star-scape.

The guest reception is at the colonial Reed Valley Inn, from where guests are transferred into the reserve to enjoy the comfort and elegance of the tented accommodation. Bush Lodge offers twice-daily expeditions by open 4×4 safari vehicles. Hlosi is a smaller more intimate smaller lodge with just 10 rooms. With only six suites and four family safari tents, Hlosi offers a unique, intimate safari trip with personal game viewing experiences.

On the road again after a lovely welcome from both properties, it was only a pity we didn’t have longer to stay and avail of what both of these beautiful properties have to offer. We drove from Port Elizabeth to Oudtshoorn, not a drive for the faint hearted, it took us about 7 hours but the scenery en route was spectacular, an overnight en route would have been nice! That evening we arrive at Buffelsdrift Game Reserve on the foot of the Swartberg mountains and checked into our luxury en suite tents offering breath taking views of the Klein Karoo, as we arrived our new friends the hippos made a spectacular appearance just in front of the tent – a sighting that I will never forget!

After a long day it was time for dinner and bed as we were up early for our Meercat Safari and elephant feeding experience. Meercats were amazing great to see them in their natural environment. Elephant feeding was another highlight of the trip, being honest when I saw this on the itinerary I thought it was a gimmick to attract guests and wasn’t sure of the ethics. How wrong I was, these elephants were found by their parents who were slaughtered by poachers and the baby elephants were left to die. One of the guides came across them on safari and spent the next 4 years rearing them by hand and sleeping with them. They now have free reign of the game reserve but come when called for feeding. It is truly amazing the respect and love the guides have for these elephants and vice verse. It was a privilege to feed them and of course get a hug from these amazing creatures!

After a big breakfast we were on the road again, our first stop was at the Cango Caves. Spectacular caves are subterranean wonderland of magnificant stalactite and stalagmite rock formations. They extend more than two kilometers into the Swartberg Mountains. We took a guided tour which was very informative, the guide here was excellent and definitely worth a stop. We then made our way from Oudschoorn to Capetown via Route 66 which is one of the longest wine routes in the world, a long drive but the scenary makes it all worth while. The ever changing colours of the majestic mountains, scenic passes, rivers, vineyards and orchards are incredible.

After a quick lunch in Barrydale we travelled through the fruit growing and wine producing towns of Montagu, Ashton, Ceres, Wolseley, Tulbagh, Wellington and Paarl.

After a long but fantastic day we arrived into Capetown and checked in to the Cullinan Hotel which is in easy reach of of the V & A Waterfront. The hotel offers guests a choice of 394 superbly appointed en-suite rooms, each tastefully furnished and designed for maximum comfort. Classically styled and indulgent, yet incorporating world-class amenities with contemporary emphasis, Southern Sun The Cullinan is beautifully designed. The colonial architecture of the building is reflected throughout the hotel, with high ceilings, a balconied mezzanine level, and soaring columns around the pool area. The staff are a huge asset to this hotel, from the time we arrived they were friendly, professional and courteous at all times. They also have a shuttle service from the hotel to the Waterfront. The Waterfront is a vibrant lively area filled with bars, restaurants and shopping.

We arrived late and there was a lovely tmosphere in this area. Totally safe with alot of security in the area. We had a few drinks in Mitchells where the bar staff were so attentive and seemed to know exactly when we needed refills!

After a pleasant couple of hours we got a taxi back to the hotel, no problem at all getting a taxi, very cheap and most importantly felt very safe.

Where I stayed:

  • Buffelsdrift Game Reserve

What I did:

  • Safari


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