Plan your trip

Getaway (South Africa) - - TRAVEL -

GET­TING THERE

San­bona is about 43km from Mon­tagu on the R62. Turn left at the ‘Die Vlakte’ sign, then it’s an­other 7km on a dirt road to the main gate.

WHEN TO GO

Spring is best for flow­ers, but it can be nippy at night. Sum­mer is dry and can get re­ally hot (into the 40s) but camp­ing is lovely then. Around March is prob­a­bly the hap­pi­est medium, when the days are hot but it’s start­ing to cool. Win­ters can be quite wet.

NEED TO KNOW

Take good jack­ets and warm pants and gloves – the wind-chill fac­tor can be in­tense. Plus a hat and sun­block, al­ways. You’ll need good walk­ing shoes, and if you’re a keen pho­tog­ra­pher, this is a chance for both beau­ti­ful land­scapes and de­tailed mi­cro pho­tog­ra­phy of plants.

STAY HERE

Ex­plorer Tented Camp (sum­mer only) is small, in­ti­mate and charm­ing, and of­fers the priv­i­lege of see­ing wildlife on foot. It’s also the most rea­son­ably priced op­tion, from R4 101 pp shar­ing all in­clu­sive. Get­away read­ers will get a 10% dis­count (state you’re a reader when book­ing), valid for this sea­son (Oc­to­ber 2017 to April 2018). San­bona also has more up­mar­ket, allinclusive op­tions: Dwyka Tented Lodge is spec­tac­u­lar and set in front of a sheer cliff. From R5 828 pp. Gondwana Fam­ily Lodge has a lovely re­laxed at­mos­phere and, as its name sug­gests, is great for kids. From R5 411 per adult shar­ing, chil­dren from R2 705. Tin­ley Manor, built in the early 1900s for the for­mer mag­is­trate, costs the same as Gondwana. san­bona.com

DO THIS

Walk­ing sa­faris are truly the best thing, and can make a trip to a Big Five re­serve so much more ex­cit­ing. The fact that the en­vi­ron­ment dic­tates fewer an­i­mals makes it a less threat­en­ing space, and you can stop and look at the de­tail. Ask if it’s pos­si­ble to see the chee­tahs, but note that the guides will not chase af­ter game; they take the ap­proach, cor­rectly, that they will be guided by the wildlife. The boat sa­fari was the bomb for bird­ing. We spent a good while on the wa­ter iden­ti­fy­ing fowl in the reeds sur­round­ing the dam, and as we got to one end, the ele­phants came over the hori­zon. Stargaz­ing – this is the Karoo, af­ter all. At Ex­plorer Camp you’ll be un­der a blan­ket of stars, and Casper will tell you sto­ries about them.

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