Safari, game drive, the Big Five and pure nature experiences are very much my cup of tea. If possible, I would go every month for some days of animals sightings in the African bush. In my opinion game drives will never be boring, there is always something to see! In most game reserves and lodges you’ll do about 6-7 hours of game drive every day, in an open vehicle accompanied by a qualified game ranger and Shangaan tracker. In the morning you’ll do about 3,5 hours and in the afternoon too. Although it’s holiday and safari is good fun, it’s also hard work. You wake up early (around 5.00) for your game drive. The impressions, together with being outside all day, try making the best shot of wild life (if you like photography as I do), bouncing in the 4×4 open Land Cruiser vehicle, and the excitement of seeing the Big Five… it can be exhausting! Therefore it’s absolutely fantastic to stay at a great place where you can relax, eat, drink and nap all day every day in between the game sightings. I was the lucky one to stay in the jewel of the South African bushveld: Little Bush Camp.
Sabi Sabi is part of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, in the Southern part of Kruger National Park. There are no gates in between Sabi Sands and Kruger National Park so animals can walk in and out borders and all areas. Sabi Sabi offers 4 luxury lodges: Bush Lodge, Earth Lodge, Selati Camp and Little Bush Camp. The last one, where we staid, is a small, five star luxury boutique lodge with only six suites. They say Little Bush Camp is Sabi Sabi’s ‘best kept secret’. All suites have a private viewing deck, outside shower and heated spa bath. Little bush camp ticked all the boxes regarding privacy, warmth, intimacy and seclusion. The staff is super friendly, the interior stylish and warm, rooms luxury and the food delicious. I loved every minute and I hope to go back there one day. It was a truly memorable experience and I will share some moments with you in this photo report blog. When we arrived in the lodge we were just in time to join lunch. The Mr. chose a Chicken Schnitzel sandwich, I had the tagliatelle with olives, Parmesan, chili, tomato and olive oil and we shared a grilled Halloumi cheese and avocado salad. Very nice! All food was fresh, tasty and well seasoned. Years ago, the Mr. and I stayed in a well known game reserve in the Eastern Cape near Grahamstown (no names), and the game drives were fantastic. The lodge was luxury and exclusive and we were looking forward to a full week of fun and relaxation. But then the food… it was terrible! And there is no where else to go to. I think we both lost 3 kilograms during our stay…. Good for diet but not exactly what you hope for when on holiday. So it’s a good thing to know for you that the food in Little Bush Camp was really good, fresh, lots of variation and every day a different menu.
When one comes back from game drive a refreshing towel is waiting for you to clean your hands and/or face. It can be quite dusty out in the bush!
The rooms are spacious, luxury and beautiful decorated. We loved to shower outside and I used the ‘day bed’ on the deck as my office space the whole week! The bed (with mosquito nets!) was huge (220 x 220) and so comfy that in the morning when the ranger knocked on our door around 5.00 I didn’t want to get up!
But if you don’t wake up and rise you’ll miss the morning game drive, so we went out of bed every day early to see the wildlife. More about Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Wildlife magic can be found in this article.
Breakfast is really a winner in Sabi Sabi’s Little Bush Camp. Every day there was a buffet with fruits, yoghurt, bread, cheeses and cold meat. In addition to that one could order from the breakfast menu. For example Eggs Benedict, Lemon Crumpets or my favourite: the ‘Little Bush Breakfast Hash’; Rosemary pand fried potatoes with crispy bacon, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, spring onion & cherry tomatoes with a fried egg. Delicious!
One afternoon when we went out with the ranger and tracker in our open vehicle on game drive we found a very rare African bush tree: the present tree! There were all little presents with our names on it. Inside a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. What a sweet, nice touch!
During the afternoon I relaxed at the pool side. Read a book, nap, go for a swim, and in the meanwhile if one’s lucky see some elephants or bokkies (Afrikaans for antilopes) passing by…. If you are more active than I was during our stay, you can go on a walking private safari with your own ranger. Or book a community tour and see how local people live in historical African villages close by. I was just too lazy and needed a break after busy working weeks, so skipped all these. Next time I would do a walking safari with the ranger. It must be a whole different feeling to be out in the bush without a big Land Cruiser around you… (the ranger will take a shotgun, just in case….)
Romantic setting in the evening. Some days we had dinner at the deck, some days in the boma near a fire, and one day we did a braai (barbecue). It was nice to sit some days together at a table and other days with our game drive group, including our ranger! We had a lot of fun and wine together and some good conversations too. One evening when we had dinner outside there was a male leopard very close to the lodge. I was so excited (and a little scared), we could hear its roar.
Some more food impressions. Fantastic Caesar salad with anchovies, Romain lettuce, croutons, chicken and the real deal Caesar dressing. On the next photo you see the daily fresh fish (this was Kingklip) with a Japanese dressing, curry spices and basmati rice. Yum! On the last photo dessert of the day: apple crumble pie with vanilla ice cream and red fruit coulis. Not a bad supper to have in the middle of nowhere in the African bush.
How beautiful is the interior in the main lounge of Little Bush Camp Lodge? During our stay we spend many hours here, relaxing, sitting in front of the fire, reading a book, having breakfast in the morning, or a glass of wine in the evening. Home from home feeling to the max!
Breakfast is really one of a kind. I love to eat breakfast and never skip it. And definitely not in Little Bush Camp after early game drive. The jams and marmelades were divine, so were the croissants and the cold meats, fish, cheeses. Fruits were fresh and juicy too, only a bit the same everyday. But it could have been the season, I can understand that. It’s not good for the environment to fly in oranges from Spain or blueberries from Poland when they are currently out of season in South Africa.
This breakfast treat was divine! Scrambled Eggs & Crispy bacon on sweet corn chilli mozzarella fritters with Parmesan shavings and sweet tomato chutney sauce.
The first days back home after our stay in Little Bush Camp I missed this breakfast table a lot! One could buy presents or souvenirs in the classy and tasteful shop of Little Bush Camp. At Earth Lodge, about 8 km away, there was another (bigger) shop too, and a Spa and Gym where we could use the facilities.
Little Bush Camp is part of Sabi Sabi Lodges (website). They are all situated in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, located in the southern part of Kruger National Park, alongside the banks of the Msuthu River.
Safari, game drive and stay in luxury lodges is an expensive, but a truly memorable experience. If you have the opportunity, even when it’s once in a lifetime, do it! It changed my view on (unimportant) things in life, my respect for nature, my love for Africa and wildlife hugely. A trip to Kruger or Sabi Sands can be combined very well with the fantastic Panorama Route of South Africa, near God’s Window, Three Rondavels and the beautiful Waterfalls in this region. Click here to read the article about this area near Hazyview, Sabie, Graskop and Pilgrim’s Rest.
Note: I have not been asked, invited or paid to write about Sabi Sabi’s Little Bush Camp. It was my own idea and we paid the bill ourselves. All images are mine, taken with a Canon EOS M3 camera.
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