SHO’T LEFT OF
On a short break from the hustle and bustle of Jozi, and on her first safari trip and lodge hop, Precious Mavuso discovers that the Limpopo province has many a hidden gem awaiting visitors
South Africa has a special kind of beauty that only exists here, and the province of Limpopo is proof of that. Recently, I took my first trip to this northeastern area of the country and, I must confess, it was nothing like I had imagined or expected. It had more to offer and looked even more beautiful in real life than in photographs – from its wildlife reserves to its lush landscapes.
With just four days there, I had so much to do and explore, and the northern section of the Kruger National Park was my first stop. We indulged in a Kambaku II boat cruise on the Olifants River, while enjoying a lunch of freshly braaied meat with a view of the banks and its animal inhabitants.
Later on, we checked into Letaba Rest Camp for the night, where the huts were comfortable, and pretty warm despite the chilly evening. They all come with a kitchenette with basic appliances, a bathroom with a shower and toilet, and three single beds. The camp is on a sweeping bend of the river, which offers a great sunrise view.
The second day involved a cultural tour to Lulekani Village, where we were entertained by the energetic traditional warrior dance of the Tsonga people which, we were told, symbolises freedom and is performed after winning a battle.
The next stop was the Amarula Lapa, which offered so many experiences – from tasting Amarula Cream and watching an educational video about the marula fruit and the products made from it, to learning about the tracking device used for tracing elephants.
Our home for the night was Sefapane Lodge, which had a strong traditional feel to it, including the menu from which I ate masonja (mopane worms) for the first time in my life and was amazed by how delicious they were.
The third afternoon involved a game drive that scared me a little, because the animals were so close and I had never experienced this before. I was excited to see my favourite, the giraffe, while out in the open vehicle. As nervous as I was, it was still an incredible and exhilarating experience. After arriving at River Lodge, I soon lost myself in it. Being in the city with big lights hides some of the beauty of nature, such as sunsets and the endless stars in the sky, which I kept looking up at while we were having dinner. I felt so appreciative of the divine nature around me. We checked out the following day and headed to AM Lodge, which mixes African aesthetics with modern finishes. It gave me the feeling of being at home, because of its warm and comfortable vibe. The head and shoulder massage at the spa was a real treat. The next morning it was time to return to Gauteng, but I could not leave without stopping near Hoedspruit to say hi to Jessica, the famous hippo who is said to have about 120 international documentaries made about her because she was rescued after being found orphaned and wounded. She is now 16 years old and over 1 400kg. I had to COSY feed her, and rub and kiss her, which was both daunting and fascinating. The whole experience was humbling and eye-opening, and made me appreciate South Africa’s beauty so much more. I learnt to look beyond where I live and am delighted to know what Limpopo has to offer. I am certain that I will go back with my family and friends. Out there I felt different inside; I felt free and at peace. Mavuso was a guest of Plum Tree Tours and Safaris. You can contact them on 015 295 6153/4 or email email@example.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Sefapane Lodge’s thatched huts