On the second leg of this safari adventure, you will travel to Northern South Africa by plane to Eastgate Airport near the Air Force Military Base Hoedspruit. The flight is about two and a half hours. Once you arrive the representative that will transport you to Thornybush Shumbalala Lodge where you will enjoy your time on the game reserve.
The Thornybush Reserve is set in the heart of the savanna and is adjacent to Kruger National Park. This is the heart of Big Five Country, so your viewing of lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo is a life-changingexperience. The name Big Five came from big game hunters and referred to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt. Now thankfully many of these special animals are on protected game reserves which protect them against hunters.
There are several lodges in this area of South Africa on the Thornybush Nature Reserve. The one, my clients, stayed at was Shumbalala Game Lodge. The lodge is situated on the banks of the Monwana River which is a seasonal river but an oasis for many of the animals. The lodge is an intimate retreat that has a maximum of eight guests so that you will be spoiled with privacy and exclusivity at the lodge. During your downtime at the lodge, you can sit on the veranda that overlooks the riverbed and take in the flora and fauna that the reserve offers. There is also a viewing deck that overlooks the waterhole where you can listen to the sounds of the bush.
The days here consist of an early wake up of 5:30 am with coffee. Then you will be accompanied by an experienced ranger on your morning safari drive before you even have breakfast. After the morning safari, you will come back to the lodge and have breakfast. For the afternoon you can spend your time by the pool or relax with a beverage in one of the two lounges or the library. For the more adventurous you can take a guided bush walk to discover the smaller flora and fauna. After lunch and afternoon tea you will embark on the sundowner safari. Here you will experience the African sun setting over the mountains. Once back at the lodge it is time for dinner after freshening up. The Shumbalala Lodge is unfenced, so the animals can roam free from the adjacent Kruger National Park so that the Rangers will accompany all guests from their accommodations to the evening events. It is not wise to walk around the lodge after dark by yourself. After a five-course meal, it is time to retire to your suite where you will relax after your fulfilling day in Africa.
For the next few days this will be the agenda, and you can relax as much or a little as you want. There are opportunities for wildlife photography session in the bush and other optional excursions like a hot air balloon ride over the African bush. The safari’s at Shambalala have so many opportunities to see a range of wildlife from zebra’s, giraffes, hyena as well as many small birds and nocturnal animals. Thus, whatever your dream of a safari is, it can be realized on the banks of the Monwana River at the Thornybush Shambalala Lodge.
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