LOSING MY SAFARI VIRGINITY – SOUTH AFRICA, MARATABA SAFARI LODGE

One gloomy Saturday morning in London, my partner says to me ‘darling I’m going to South Africa for work, I was thinking I could extend it to 5 days and we can have a nice little holiday together’. I paused for a moment, South Africa hmmm! I have never been but to be honest it never really crossed my mind, and fly for 11 hours for 5 days and spend 3 days on a safari holiday? That’s a little crazy. But hey why not!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never been on a safari holiday before (to be honest it never appealed to me), give me a beach holiday anytime. On second thoughts, life is all about new experiences so why not. My partner flew in two days before me so that he could get his work meetings out of the way.  I’m very much looking forward to my 11 hour flight, considering how much I love flying (not).

I arrived in Johannesburg early evening on the 23rd of June, completely exhausted after a 11 hour flight and if that wasn’t bad enough, it took one and half hour to go through customs. The good news is the train from Johannesburg to the main town was only 20 mins. After a long couple of hours travelling I was ready for bed.  Time to rest and tomorrow we will drive another 4 hours to our safari resort.

Our driver was a great gentleman, kept us entertained and before we knew it, we were 20 minutes away from the resort, and I must have nodded off without even realising given the long flight the previews day. It was early evening when we arrived, and the drive from the main gate to the safari lodge itself,  was 15 minutes. Whilst driving to the lodge, we saw two elephants who decided to block our path. The driver started to reverse back, ‘hmmm should I start to panic now, I thought?’

OMG – I must be dreaming.

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The resort itself was amazing, I could not believe my eyes, and it made the 4 hour drive worth it.

We stayed at Marataba Safari Lodge, which is located inside the reserve itself. This meant we often found animals like monkeys, zebras and antelope hanging out right around camp. Because there are no fences, armed guards would escort us to our lodge at night, this was because if we run into an animal on our way to the lodge, it can be dangerous, my human instinct would be to run which will not get me very far because if it’s a lion, that’s me gone!

Our safari group would start at 6am to have some coffee & muffins at the camp lodge and Shawn (our guide) also explained the plan for the day ahead.

View from our lodge:

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FELLING COLD, COLD, COLD

 

Me being silly and thinking even the African winter does not come close to the winter back home in London, I didn’t bring any winter clothes apart from one very light sweater, much to the delight of my partner. Let’s just say I had to buy a sweater and a scarf, yes it was freezing cold. ‘I kept thinking to myself, how it can be cold in Africa’. Lesson learnt!

 

After the quick meeting, it was time to jump into our open-air Land Rover.

We drove around for a couple of hours and saw various animals, it was an amazing experience being so close and personal next to the animals. To say I was perplexed would have been a bit of an understatement, I was in awe of the whole experience. It made the 11 hour flight and the drive worth every minute.  We saw Elephants, Cheetahs, Rhinos, Giraffes, zebras, cheeky monkeys (be careful they steal your things) amongst other animals.

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For me the best part of the safari was the river cruise where we saw anacondas, hippos, buffalos, elephants and the sunset, you have to see it to believe it. You cannot beat this view with a glass of Gin & Tonic in one hand and you’re loved next to you. I could stay here forever.

How can you beat this? Our river cruise watching the sunset, just magical.

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The only thing I didn’t like about the experience itself, when you go to sleep at night, you can hear the lions roar, and the monkeys jumping up and down your lodge. I can safely say, I would not be able to stay there alone. I was having trouble sleeping at nights, which meant I was exhausted during the day, being tired was not an option since we were there for only 2 nights.

 

Oh and how can you beat having a shower outside surrounded by nature?

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The whole safari experience in South Africa exceeded my expectations. I’m so happy to crossed this off my ‘things to do list’. I cannot wait to go back to Africa, for another memorable experience.

 

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