I flew to Johannesburg to see my mum for a couple of days and then met Mike at the Tsogo Sun Hotel at Oliver Tambo as he was flying in from Kenya. I have stayed at the airport hotel a few times and I am always amazed how well the hotel is built to block out sound. I have a love / hate relationship with the breakfast at hotels like these. I love the variety and I get overwhelmed by the choice. But I always feel terrible when I leave the breakfast room, 1. I probably eat too much, 2. because I smell like a deep fried breakfast and 3. because I get the feeling that the quality of the food is not the best.
We picked up our hire car and drove to Madikwe to arrive just in time for lunch and a glass of wine. The next day we were the only two guests on our game drive and we asked our ranger if we could rather go for a walk instead of a game drive. We set off in the drizzle and after a couple of hours of walking we came close to a carcass of a baby buffalo and a lioness suddenly appeared and dashed off. I must have whispered every swear word I know as I got the fright of my life. We then encountered a herd of elephants with their calves and had to take a detour back to the vehicle.
After two indulgent days of game drives and relaxing we set off for the Waterberg. We met a couple in the metropolis of Thabazimbi and asked them about accommodation in the area. They suggested we come and stay on their game lodge which was 80 kilometers away. We set off in our hire car, heading up the mountain on gravel roads more suited for a 4×4.
Their game lodge, Syringa Sands http://syringasands.co.za/ was fantastic. It is a two bedroom self-catering cottage with a fully equipped kitchen including a washing machine, dishwasher etc. The linen was lovely with a snug duck down duvet. The house was set under the trees with a large fireplace and terrace. Alex had laid out walks and drew a map showing all the different routes. The next morning we explored all the routes and ended up on a hill overlooking the valley. I can highly recommend this accommodation if you are in the area.
We then set off to another two nights in a luxurious game lodge. Just after arriving, a huge storm erupted and the park was closed. I had visions of getting stuck in our rental car leaving the park. Luckily the sun appeared the following day although we still got stuck in the mud on a game drive and had to be towed out by another game ranger.
The Northern part of South Africa is really spectacular at the moment after all the rain. Game viewing is not at it’s best when the bush is so lush but I adore the summer rains and the greenery.