Friday, April 19, 2013

Makutsi Safari Spring, South Africa

In June 2012 I had the pleasure of staying at Makutsi Safari Springs while in South Africa. It was shear good luck that lead me here. All I told my travel agent was that I wanted to go on safari in Africa. She recommend Makutsi to me and I am so glad she did. 

Makutsi is a privately owned lodge located between the Drakensberg Mountains and the Kruger National Park on the banks of the Makutsi River in South Africa. The lodge is nestled within lush gardens that are feed by the natural mineral springs on the property that also fill the two beautiful swimming pools and provide your drinking water. This is a major plus as you can safely drink the water on the property straight from the tap. 

The main pool.
When you arrive at Makutsi you will be greeted by one of the friendly members of the family who own and run the lodge. Your guide will show you around Makutsi's facilities which besides two swimming pools also include the restaurant, river lapa and bar, library, fitness room and internet facilities. During the tour you will also learn about when you can and can't walk around the park on your own. While I was staying there you were not allowed to walk anywhere on your besides between the river lapa and restaurant between 7pm and 6am. This is because unlike any other safari lodge there is no fence around the accommodation, the animals roamed freely among the camp. I could hear lions from my room every night. This is what you come to Africa for, wildlife. At the end of the tour you will be taken to your room which will be a beautiful Rondavel. 

Each Rondavel has been built to offer a place of privacy and serenity. The rooms are lovely, comfortable and spacious. They have been built very sustainably using materials sourced on the property and remain a lovely temperature throughout the day. Each room features tea and coffee making facilities, 220/230 volt electricity, refrigerator with mini bar, private ensuite, ceiling fan and private terrace with lounge chairs. What they do not feature is a television or an internet connection. You go on safari for adventure, to experience nature and wildlife not to be distracted by the TV or Facebook. You of course can access the internet from their internet room which features multiple computers plus printing, scanning a fax facilities. While on this trip my phone actually died and it took me 4 weeks to get around to having it replaced when I got home, it was so nice not being attached to it 12 hours a day.

Before I mention the wildlife, which is what you go on safari for I have to mention the food. The food at Makutsi was amazing! When I arrived I mentioned that I could not eat cream and they went above and beyond to cater for me. In fact they made me my own dessert every night. Breakfast is served in the garden and is a combination of a buffet and eggs made to  order with a different side everyday, whether it be bacon or tomatoes. Lunch is up to you, you can order it from the kitchen but I found that after a large breakfast I wasn't hungry again until dinner. Dinner is a real experience. As the sun starts to set you and the other guests gather at the river lapa and watch the sunset over the river, often while watching giraffes grazing. Then you will hear the drums, that is the signal to make your way to the dining hall where a three course meal is served every night. All the vegetables are grown on the property so the food is amazingly fresh. Vegetarians are catered for but if you like meat like me your in for a treat. The meat is also all homegrown and was some of the best meat I have ever tasted. 


The River Lapa.

Now for the wildlife. Wow! I was hoping I would be seeing some pretty speculator wildlife, but I never imagined just how good it would be. Just on the drive from the airport to the lodge I saw giraffes, monkeys, baboons and all sorts of antelope. One each drive you can except to see some if not all of the big five. I was lucky while I was there I managed to see big cats on every safari drive I went on whether it was lions, cheetahs or the elusive leopards. The guides were fantastic and so respectful of the animals making each encounter magical. Here is just a few images that I took during my stay. 
An Nyala.

Adolescent and baby elephant

View from the Hippo Hide of a Makutsi Landrover and giraffe.

Rhino with young.

Makutsi's dominate male Lion, Zero.
As well as going on game drives during your stay you can also visit a local village, (which I highly recommend for every westerner), take a trip to Blyde River Canyon, lazy away an afternoon at the Hippo Hide (a must do, take a good book and some binoculars), visit an animal rehabilitation centre plus many others. The one extra activity you must do while you are there is go one the Cheetah research drive, where you will walk with wild Cheetahs. This was the highlight of my trip, see my post about it here
I took this photograph while on the Cheetah Research Drive. I was about 4 meters from the Cheetahs at the time.
If you want an authentic African experience, where each day is filled with wonder and awe. Where you are immersed in nature but still with the luxuries of home. Where you won't find any loud obnoxious tourists then the Makutsi Safari Springs is the place for you. 

To book an adventure of a life time contact Makutsi here.

Image Credits: All images in this post were taken by The Wanderlust Life and are protected by copyright. 

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