Monday, August 9, 2010

Goths on Safari: Day one

Predictably, we missed the transfer from Sanbona's main gate to the Dwyka Tented Lodge. This meant that we had to mission about 60 or so kilometres along bumpy gravel roads in our trusty Palio. To be fair, the roads here are in better nick than the gravel roads in some parts of Namibia, so this time we did not shake the dashboard loose like the last time, to give our little Italian car some credit.

The Karoo this time of the year is... beautiful. And cold. We checked in and were shown our "tent", which is a term I'll use in the loosest sense of the word. Small house would be better suited. And the bath... Let me not make you jealous.

We were treated to nommies of smoked salmon and avocado on a bed of greens for a light lunch, before Trevor whisked us off on our first game drive in one of the Landies, cracking salty jokes all the way, much to our amusement. To give you some idea of the landscape, it's fairly hilly Little Karoo with typical mix of scrub and fynbos, with folded oxidised sandstone hills shot through with white quartz.

It being the Karoo, we're not going to see vast numbers of game like we would up in Kruger or the northern parts of the country, but today was special. We got to see a free-roaming wild cheetah with her two almost-grown cubs. We stood about 10 metres from her and the trio just lay there, watching us watch them. That was truly special for me since the only other time I encountered cheetah was the time I ran in the cheetah enclosure at Tygerberg Zoo (and we're not going to go into too much detail there, okay?)

Springbok abound, a species I'm more fond of with rosemary steeped in red wine with a dash of garlic, but we did spot some red hartebeest which, I'm told, the white lions enjoy quite raw. The cherry on the cake for the evening game drive was, however, the solitary white rhino bull who grazed merrily about twenty paces from our Landy. For the sake of sounding like a jaded local, I've seen plenty of these chaps before but it was still thrilling to see the great big grey chap schlurp up mouthfuls of herbs.

Back at the lodge and chilled to the bone, I was more than happy to graze on a wonderful selection of dinner, starting with a cheesy melba toast followed by butterfish (om nom nom nom nom) completed by a selection of cheese. Okay, I admit it, I'm a cheese freak. Had a lovely white wine, cannot remember the name but it features artwork by Paul du Toit on the label, who happened to be my ma's neighbour when we still lived in Hout Bay.

Right now, at time of writing, I'm one of the last (annoying) guests to ghost about the general lodge section. My motivation: this bloody lovely gas fire, gorgeous staff who just want to make sure I'm happy, and the wonderful sense of okay, let's just chill 'cos there's absolutely no cellphone reception and if you Skype me I'm probably not going to answer.

Sanbona gets it right and I'm horribly happy here.

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