TRAVEL:

Week­end get­away at the Sabi River Sun Restort

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - By Michele Vorster

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.

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