Weekend getaway at the Sabi River Sun Restort
It’s when you hit the open road towards Mpumalanga that that elusive holiday feeling kicks in – more or less at Schoemanskloof, the transition from highveld to lowveld. A real driver’s road, it meanders through subtropical forests with cascading waterfalls and, later, magnificent citrus orchards.
Onwards through Nelspruit, we made our way to Hazyview and our first adventure with Skyway Trails for a bit of ziplining over natural forest from a series of 10 elevated platforms. This is a fun activity for all ages and it makes for great pics too!
The Sabi River Sun Resort is a legend in this region, and we were thrilled to be heading there for two nights. As we made our way to reception, we caught a glimpse of the pristinely manicured golf course, and upon arrival, the warm welcome we received from staff at the resort made us feel like VIPs.
Our room came complete with air conditioning (a must out here), fruit and sweet baskets, and a fully stocked bar fridge.
Nothing says holiday like poolside cocktails. Wayne, the GM, popped by to introduce himself and we chatted for nearly an hour before he took us on a scenic walk to the hippo pools. The river that flows through the resort
is home to a large pod of hippos and several large crocodiles. They move freely up and down the river but return to the stretch on the banks of the Resort to sleep during the day. A large group of guests had congregated on the wooden viewing deck overlooking the hippo pool as the sun set, and the smell of braai fires filled the air.
The skilled chefs had prepared a buffet style dinner and I knew this wasn’t the time to count calories. Everything looked delicious, especially the desserts! You’ll be making more than one trip from your table, so loosen that belt!
Wikus, my husband, was already thinking about the early morning tee-off time, and hoped his 15 handicap would do the spectacular golf course justice.
There was no need for an alarm as we rose at 5am to visit the hippos again and watch the sunrise over the river. We felt tranquil as we connected with nature and watched in awe as the hippos gathered for their day’s rest. Wikus and I made our way to the first tee, where he smashed a drive Jordan Spieth would be proud of. The par 69 course is enjoyable for beginners but the challenging layout tests even the most skilled player. This 18-hole, Peter Matkovich and Dale Hayes golf course is in pristine condition; it’s no wonder it regularly features among the top golf courses in South Africa.
Next up was a game drive into the Kruger National Park. Even though the park spans nearly 2 million hectares, we immediately started spotting wildlife – monkeys, birds and all kinds of buck. We stopped at a waterhole to watch elephants bathe alongside wildebeest looking for a drink on the hot afternoon.
Just a short drive further, we stopped next to the biggest kudu I’d ever seen. His horns towered above his head as I counted one, two, three turns. He stood confidently on a large rock no further than five metres from us before leaping off and disappearing into the bush. And it didn’t end there: as we continued through the park, there were regular sightings of game. After a magnificent threehour drive, we went back to the gate to make the 6pm exit time.
Back at the Resort, the boma was alive with the sounds of drums and traditional dancers chanting around the fire, and you couldn’t help but move along with the dancers. The party carried on into the night as ice-cold beers flowed. It was an epic, unforgettable Saturday night.
On Sunday, there was no early morning wake-up call. We sat on our balcony sipping coffee, taking in our surroundings. Feeling rejuvenated, we strolled into the breakfast area – I did my best to have a little of everything but called it quits on my third helping.
There’s no better way to end a weekend away than with a masssage. The magical hands of the women at the spa melted the last bit of tension I had. Slightly dazed, we checked out and headed back into the fray – but in a far different state to when we’d arrived.
Above: Breakfast with a view. Left: Game-spotting in the Kruger. Below: Cool off poolside with a delicious cocktail.
The manicured 18-hole golf course at Sabi River Sun is great for beginners as well as seasoned golfers.
This pic: Michele and Wikus began their holiday in Hazyview with a canopy tour. Left: There’s no shortage of spectacular views.