The last stop on our safari holiday near the Kruger was at one of the more affordable safari options in the area. Klaserie River Safari Lodge offers accommodation in private riverfront chalets that overlook the fish-filled waters of the Klaserie River.
The accommodation is located on a small private nature reserve where game such as antelope and giraffe roam freely and daily walks are offered as an option for guests keen to get closer to nature.
Game drives take place in the Big 5 Thornybush Game Reserve just across the main road while those looking for more guaranteed game viewing might like to book a day-trip to the nearby Kruger National Park (Orpen Gate). The lodge also is able to arrange other outings to areas of interest in the region such as the Panorama Route, Blyde River Canyon and various endangered species centres.
We spent 2 days at Klaserie River Safari Lodge but didn’t opt to take on any of the extra day trips, we chose to rather relax and unwind and really soak up the last few days of our family holiday together.
Safari’s can sometimes feel quite full on with 5am wake ups and 3 hour game drives twice a day. At Klaserie there is only 1 game drive and the morning is spent walking in the bush (more about that in the next post!) which meant we were able to really slow down here.
We spent our first day poolside, overlooking the bushveld and relaxing – reading for mom, bomb-dropping from the awesome rock feature for the kids. This was the ideal way to enjoy a day in the bush as a family. We all felt really rested and refreshed.
A safari holiday is about spending time in nature. Yes, animals are important and seeing the Big 5 is on almost everyone’s bucket list but it’s important to remember that animal sightings are never guaranteed when heading out on a safari game drive.
Game drives can deliver incredible spontaneous opportunities (like our lion kill at Thornybush) or they can offer up nothing at all…
What’s important to remember is that these are wild animals in a wild setting. This isn’t a zoo! This is the real deal!
One way of thinking about going on a safari with your expectations in check is to compare a safari to a scuba dive…. I went on 2 discovery dives in Zanzibar a few years ago (and have been on a number of snorkelling missions too) and the expectation when going out on a dive is always that you’re lucky to see what you see. No one can ensure that you spot dolphins, or manta rays, or an octopus or turtle on a dive. You go down beneath the ocean into the animals territory and hope for the best. The same can be said for a safari game drive. You set out into the animals territory and hope for the best…. And appreciate what you do find.
This in turn should be how you set out on a game drive. The best attitude to have when setting out on a safari game drive is to enjoy the experience as a whole.
The warm air against your face, the earthy scents of different plants, the beautiful bird calls, the colours of the changing sky, the intriguing insect life and the multitude of much smaller creatures we can be tempted to whizz by.
Stopping to take the time to observe all animal life in it’s environment, is as much a part of the safari experience, and this is what we discovered at Klaserie River Safari Lodge.
The game viewing at Klaserie River Safari Lodge took place in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, but over a more restricted area and with no contact with other rangers or trackers, this meant our game viewing was quieter than our previous experiences.
What we did appreciate here though was the time the rangers took to share their knowledge and passion for the bush with us.
Ben, my future ranger, had loads of questions for them… and despite what you might think about kids only wanting to see the Big 5, he was enthralled by the small things…
He wanted to ask questions about termite mounds and seed pods, animal tracks and dung. He found ALL aspects of the bush fascinating… and us adults could learn a lot from that.
We stopped to watch an incredible crab spider (a very venomous one at that!) capture it’s dinner in an elaborate web that we almost rode into in the dark! We spotted a tiny wildebeest calf – still light brown in colour – feed from it’s mother. We learnt about some of the fascinating ways the indigenous people used the plants of the area for their food or medicine. It was a classroom in the bush!
And nature never let us down…
Our last evening game drive found us enjoying a glorious sunset one minute, followed by a huge clap of thunder and a lightening show in the sky the next, heavy drops of rain bringing life to the bush once more.
We headed back to the shelter of our private patio and sat down to watch the rest of the thunderstorm while enjoying an equally impressive firefly show just over the water in front of us!
It was an incredibly fitting end to our time in the bush: the majestic wide-skyed wonder of the lightening display and the fleeting flashes of the delicate fireflies reminding us that all of nature is important and beautiful.
Klaserie River Safari Lodge
Tel: +27 15 793 0259/ +27 82 562 1842
Email: [email protected]