Durban - I count myself most fortunate to be no stranger to bush lodges and game drives. The 11 000ha Nambiti Game Reserve is a place I have visited a number of times and I am baffled that it remains something of a secret, since it is so accessible – just 25km east of Ladysmith.
This well-managed private reserve has incredible biodiversity. There are 80 species of trees in the whole of Europe yet more than 700 at Nambiti. It is home to 280 bird species and an array of plains game, the Big Five and hippopotamus. Last year the game count was 4 500.
Much of these goings on can be seen without stirring from the pool at Elephant Rock Private Safari Lodge, which overlooks a waterhole in the south of the reserve. This part of the reserve has a high concentration of game so, although it is lovely to laze on the deck, getting up at first light for early game drives is extremely rewarding. In the rare event that you don’t have exciting sightings, JP, your guide, will make sure your drive is not a bust.
Human and animal interaction is what a stay at Elephant Rock is all about. There are no televisions and minimal cellphone reception, and in these times being without these “essentials”, as well as dining at a communal table, may be unusual, even daunting. Fear not. Manageress Lee-Ann Janse van Rensburg and her team made us feel so welcome and at ease that it was impossible not to relax.
Elephant Rock Private Safari Lodge offers luxury accommodation for a maximum of 10 people in five suites, including one family unit. Our suite was spacious and beautifully decorated, with a private veranda with swinging seats. All suites are well spaced for total privacy, with panoramic views of the waterhole and beyond. It’s great to take in the view from the oval bath before the picture window, as well as from the outdoor shower.
After a dip in the pool, it was time for an afternoon game drive. If you aren’t on a game drive, you will probably find yourself doing what the game does – recovering from exertions between outings, eating and drinking. Our exertions were largely limited to strolling to the pool or to the boma for pre-dinner drinks around the fire before enjoying yet another exquisitely presented dinner on the deck overlooking the waterhole. All praise to chefs Doris and Comfort Nxumalo!
Lazy as we were, we did cast a few flies on one of the dams, which are well stocked with bass and yellowtail. And we ventured to the Elandslaagte battlefield nearby. We even made it to the rehabilitation centre for some one-on-one time with cheetah, serval, caracal and leopard cubs.