Travel Spot: Makalai Game Lodge
Freezing! Unfortunately this is what I remember most about the weekend. Not the wonderful animal sightings, which we had, or the annoying guests, which there were, or the wonderful, spacious, romantic room with a fireplace and sightseeing deck. Just the cold...
Other than that, it was an enjoyable, unique adventure for us city-light creatures. No phones, no television, no radio (unless you count the incessant two-way radio chats between the rangers, which I suggested they syndicate out and sell as a full-time radio station), and no civilisation for miles!
Makalali's location affords them seclusion and lush plant and animal life, with each room nestled into its own little corner, leaving you to feel completely private and one with nature. It is a 26Ha farm which is very well run, and so far has escaped the Rhino poaching sprees in the area. It also has a private landing strip, which was very convenient for us.
Since we arrived, it felt authentic Africa. From the spacious luxury suites with a fireplace and no windows, to the African cuisine in the boma. This is truly an overseas visitors dream. We had two game drives per day, a bush walk and lots of meals in between. This made for a very busy day, especially if you are not exactly a morning person.
Everybody in the camp eats together, whether it is in the boma or on the deck. I don't like the group-thing, so we requested a private lunch on our room's deck, which was easily organised and delicious.
The game rangers have no problem doing high speed chases in the wild and destroying every tree that may be in their way, so we were mostly ducking, diving and holding on for dear lives. They are very skilled and trained though, and explained to us that they only drive over "common" trees that can easily grow again. Because of that, we had incredible sightings of the big 5, all within 5 meters of us. Once again, great for overseas visitors.
Unfortunately we also enjoy the bird life, buck and squirrels. No chance of stopping, or even slowing down, to see them. Our ranger was a man with a mission.
Should you go there? Definitely, if safari is your thing. The service was excellent, the venue spectacular and the experience unique.
I just think I am not an early-morning-freezing-shaking-holding-on-for-dear-life-safari kind of girl. So I will not be going on a safari anytime soon again. I'd rather take a more relaxing trip where there are no rigid times or schedules, and I can enjoy nature at my own pace. Or book a ticket to Italy... (and yes, it will work out the same money-wise!)