While we are all cooped up in our homes, enjoying online armchair safaris and dreaming of our next holidays, I’ve been creating my bucket list of new adventures. With my recent trips to Kwandwe and Sabi Sabi still fresh in my mind, I’m so keen to get back on safari and I am really looking forward to checking out some of the newly opened and soon to be opened camps in the Kruger – the following are definitely at the top of my list for South Africa:
Kruger Shalati will be an incredibly unique destination in the heart of the Kruger National Park. Billed as one of the most anticipated hotel openings for 2020 this ‘Train on the Bridge’ is permanently stationed on the historical Selati Bridge which runs high above the Sabie River. This new property aims to celebrate the first visits to the Kruger National Park (during the 1920’s) where the train would park overnight in the same spot that Kruger Shalati is now positioned. Kruger Shalati will offer 24 Carriage rooms and 7 Bridge House rooms together with a swimming pool suspended over the Sabie River and endless views.
The Carriage rooms are glass walled, large train rooms and allow stunning views along the length of the Sabie River, while the style of the train is a celebration of African design in collaboration with local art and crafting skills. The Bridge House rooms are adjacent to the bridge and will be elegantly decorated with remarkable views of both the Sabie River and the surrounding bushveld. Rates will include return transfers between Skukuza Airport and Kruger Shalati, accommodation, all meals, selected beverages and two game drives daily.
Simbavati’s Camp George is the newest addition to the Simbavati lodges and is located in the unspoilt Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. With only eight suites Camp George will offer an intimate, luxury safari experience while keen birders will be able to tick off new species due to the variety of indigenous trees in and around the camp. At night, various owls can be heard, contributing to the unique atmosphere of the camp. The riverbed borders the camp on two sides and a waterhole, with a game viewing hide, draws a variety of wildlife which can be seen from the camp. It is worth noting that rates at Camp George include complimentary transfers (scheduled) between Hoedspruit’s Eastgate Airport and the camp.
Also due to open later this year is the brand new Tanda Tula Rishilé Camp. Inspired by, and built for, families this wonderful new camp is also located in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. With the name Rishilé meaning ‘sunrise’ this low impact camp will celebrate the vivacious colours and rhythms of modern Africa. Nine tents will accommodate up to 17 guests and kids over 6 years are welcome. Each tent is elegantly designed and will offer a private deck and an en-suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoors showers. Activities at the camp include morning and afternoon game drives, nature and wildlife walks while between safaris, and guests can relax and enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming pool overlooking the river bed or catch up with a great book in the main lounge area.
Like many, we foresee that a demand for less crowded, more remote destinations and experiences may well become priorities for travellers in the future and South Africa has so many amazing experiences and remote places to explore. Just two of these which immediately spring to mind are our Amphitheatre Hike in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and our Mini Break Hotel Hopper along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. Both of these escapes offer an active element (although the Hotel Hopper is less strenuous) and include walking in the fresh air with dramatically beautiful scenery in little explored regions of South Africa. The Amphitheatre Hike is a three-night hike with daily distances of between 11km and 18km and includes highlights such as seeing San Rock Art, enjoying sweeping views from the ‘Roof of Africa’ and seeing the Tugela Falls from above the falls. Our Wild Coast experience is also a three-night slack packing adventure and highlights include seeing the Morgan’s Bay cliffs which jut out into the ocean, exploring small gullies and rock pools and discovering this rugged, wildly beautiful coastline.
On a lighter note, we are so often sent newsletters with recipes from various hotels and lodges but how many of us ACTUALLY get to try any of them out?
Having recently returned from an awesome trip to Sabi Sabi, armed with a beautiful recipe book as a gift, I decided to let my boys pick their favourite recipe so that we could attempt to make it together – no surprises then that they picked the chocolate brownies! Needless to say after a lot of mess and unnecessary tasting we finally got to enjoy the results – not quite Earth Lodge standards, but pretty close!