Becks Sa­fari Lodge, Lim­popo Prov­ince South Africa

Lim­popo Prov­ince South Africa

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - | By Heléne Ra­mack­ers

The lat­est ad­di­tion to the Karongwe Port­fo­lio is the charm­ing Becks Sa­fari Lodge, sit­u­ated in South Africa’s Lim­popo Prov­ince. The motto of Karongwe Port­fo­lio ‘one ex­pe­ri­ence, a thou­sand mo­ments’ is very apt when en­joy­ing a stay at Becks Sa­fari Lodge, which is cer­tainly what you can ex­pect here. With only eleven suites, you can be as­sured that ex­clu­siv­ity and tran­quil­lity reign.

Af­ter a short drive from the Becks gate to the entrance of the lodge, we are met by Sam Gen­dle, Ar­mand du Toit and Tammy Nolt­ing and their mer­ri­ment in wel­com­ing us is con­ta­gious. A re­fresher towel and a won­der­fully cool­ing non-al­co­holic drink is a pre­view to the amaz­ing ser­vice and fare at Becks. Once the in­dem­nity sign­ing is out of the way, we are taken to our room, which is very spa­cious in size. Don’t let the ex­te­rior fool you – the char­coal coloured façade might not seem the ideal fit for the Bush, but the in­te­rior is re­fresh­ingly sublime and stylishly fur­nished. The de­signs are meant to have high im­pact, with con­tem­po­rary and bold ac­cents draw­ing your eyes to the supreme back­drop over­look­ing the Drak­ens­berg Moun­tains while the cob­bling waters of the Makhutswi River cre­ates a calm­ing ef­fect.

We thought we had ar­rived in time for lunch, but are in­formed that a very sub­stan­tial af­ter­noon tea is served, en­sured to sus­tain you well un­til din­ner­time. Beau­ti­fully dis­played on the out­side ve­randa, the choice of food is plen­ti­ful. There is so much to choose from: Black For­est Cake, Mini Lemon Cheese­cake, Fresh Fruit, Beef Slid­ers with mus­tard & pickle, Chicken & Pep­per Ke­babs, Hot Veg­etable Skewer, Potato & Moz­zarella Cro­quet, Whole Wheat Loaf & As­sorted But­ters, Cheese Board with crack­ers and Iced Cof­fee or home­made Lemon­ade you might want to nod off dur­ing the game drive.

Our ranger, Setepi Mot­lutsi and tracker Si­mon Molo­bela meet us for our first game drive. We head out to see what we can find and a troop of Chacma ba­boons have an au­di­ble fight and run off into the tree­tops. Some zebra are cross­ing the road and to the left of the ve­hi­cle, a male gi­raffe is cu­ri­ously look­ing at us. To our right, an ele­phant is graz­ing so close to us that we can see his long eye­lashes. There is an enor­mous bull ele­phant walk­ing across the road and Setepi stops the ve­hi­cle to let Si­mon move from his tracker seat to the con­fines of the ve­hi­cle. Male ele­phants, es­pe­cially those in musth, have been known to be very ag­gres­sive. Rather safe than sorry.

Im­palas are go­ing about their busi­ness and some white rhino are bliss­fully feed­ing. We are head­ing to­wards the dam to en­joy sun­down­ers when a wa­ter mon­i­tor slith­ers across our path. The hip­pos in the dam are splash­ing about and a croc­o­dile is ly­ing on the banks of the dam,

en­joy­ing the last rays of the sun with his mouth wide open.

Din­ner is a de­li­cious feast of Soup, Pork Roast with veg­eta­bles and the most deca­dent meltin-your-mouth Choco­late Mousse. Back at our room, the mos­quito net has been dropped and the air con­di­tioner is heat­ing the room. Af­ter a cleans­ing shower, it is time for a good night’s sleep.

Setepi gives us a wake-up call at 05:30, and we de­part for our morn­ing game drive at 06:00. Thank good­ness for hot wa­ter bot­tles and blan­kets as the pre-sun­rise drive can get quite chilly. Setepi in­forms us that we will be vis­it­ing the South­ern side of the re­serve as they might have found the lions. Af­ter a lengthy drive past some rock hyraxes bak­ing in the sun that is fi­nally out, we see them strolling up from the dry riverbed, play­ful as only sub-adult lions can be. One is sit­ting ‘pos­ing’ for pho­to­graphs but there is a ve­hi­cle block­ing my way and I can­not get a good photo. Not to worry, Setepi as­sures me, you will see them.

Hav­ing been on nu­mer­ous game drives, I know the guides al­ways try their best to get us to see the an­i­mals we wish to view, but as Setepi jok­ingly says ‘the an­i­mals don’t al­ways get the memo’. Duck­ing for a few thorn bushes, she comes straight into view – a stun­ning li­on­ess sharp­en­ing her claws on a tree trunk. Right in front of us, the rest of the pride scur­ries off in spir­ited fash­ion, all ten of them.

Si­mon sud­denly in­di­cates to Setepi to stop the ve­hi­cle. We are in­vited to climb off to go on foot to a very special sight­ing. Ner­vously, we fol­low Setepi through the bush in sin­gle file. Be­tween the grass, she is so well cam­ou­flaged that it would have been easy to miss her had it not been for the fact that she sud­denly sat up­right. The most stun­ning chee­tah is ly­ing five me­tres away from us and we are gawk­ing at her stat­uesque pres­ence.

All this driv­ing and fresh morn­ing air has every­one hun­gry and it is time for break­fast! The break­fast menu is sa­ti­at­ing to say the least – choose from Eggs – Fried, Boiled, Poached or Scram­bled, Crispy Ba­con, Pork Sausage, Chicken Liv­ers and for the Vege­tar­i­ans, the choice is Grilled Tomato, Sautéed Mush­room and Hash­browns. All washed down with a warm bev­er­age or freshly squeezed or­ange juice.

Be­tween break­fast and af­ter­noon tea, time at leisure can be spent pool­side, dip­ping your toes into the crys­tal clear 22 yard in­fin­ity pool. The ex­pan­sive lounge area is the ideal place to re­lax and put your feet up while or­der­ing some­thing from the bar to quench your thirst.

Time for Af­ter­noon Tea, con­sist­ing of Pound Cake, Choco­late Éclair, Fruit Skewer, Sticky Sesame BBQ Chicken Wings, Mini Rolled Beef Kof­tas, Mini Veg­etable Quiches, Wa­ter­melon & Feta with a Bal­samic Glaze, Olive Fo­cac­cia & As­sorted But­ter and a Cheese Board with Crack­ers. Today’s bev­er­age is Iced Tea and Freshly Squeezed Or­ange Juice.

An evening game drive is al­ways a high­light as noc­tur­nal an­i­mals some­times make an ap­pear­ance. We had hardly started our drive and I still wish­fully think out loud that the leop­ards must be hid­ing as we haven’t seen one, when Setepi slams on the brakes and al­most sends Si­mon fly­ing. Right next to the ve­hi­cle, the most stun­ning leop­ard awak­ens from her af­ter­noon slum­ber and hur­riedly rushes off in an at­tempt to escape the click­ing of cam­era shut­ters. She seems to be a scaredy cat.

We are din­ing in the Boma where a huge fire is al­ready lit. A tra­di­tional South African bar­beque is on of­fer tonight and the won­der­fully fra­grant meat is enough to have every­one sali­vat­ing. The food at Becks is de­li­cious!

On our morn­ing game drive, a heav­ily preg­nant zebra looks like she’s about to give birth any day now. A big herd of buf­falo make their way to a wa­ter­ing hole where they drink to their heart’s con­tent.

Setepi stops the ve­hi­cle and in­di­cates to us to fol­low him. The walk is long and I’m try­ing to avoid get­ting ‘kissed’ by a thorn bush. In the clear­ing, they come into view – three chee­tahs look­ing for a place to lie down. They even­tu­ally de­cide on a ter­mite mound and we are able to take pho­to­graphs of these ma­jes­tic crea­tures, stand­ing three me­tres away from them. Def­i­nitely one ex­pe­ri­ence, a thou­sand mo­ments.

Thank you to Bryan West from Karongwe Port­fo­lio for ar­rang­ing our stay at Becks Sa­fari Lodge.

Views ex­pressed are the au­thor’s own. https://www.karong­we­port­fo­

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