Camping review: The African Game Lodge

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Chris took me camping for my birthday :). It was kept top secret until the day of my birthday, and he often gave me hints so I could try to figure out where we could be going. These hints included things like “Take your hiking boots” and “we’ll need a spot light”. Not much to work with.

We left after work on Friday, as as we had to drive to Montagu and then take a dirt road out of it, we arrived very late. Sia, who seems to run the accommodation, had stayed around to wait for us to arrive. He then drove us to the campsite and helped us to pitch our tent. Very nice of him. After a brief chat with him we found out that the water at the campsite was too brak to be drinkable. So he arranged that he would have a 5 litre of water ready for us at reception the next morning. So, lesson number 1, take water with when you camp here. You pay R20 for 5 litres if they need to tap it for you. We made sure we had enough water for tea and coffee the next morning, and went to sleep.

Only to wake up continuously through the night thanks to a whole in our blow up mattress from our last camping trip in April… Lesson 2, check your equipment.

Lesson 3. Don’t let Chris pack. We woke up the next morning to realise how many little bits and pieces had been left at home. Like a sponge to clean plates. And I actually cannot remember the list of things because it was just too funny at how many things had not been packed.

Anyway, we made a good fry up for brekkie and then headed up to reception to get our water. Also to see the cheetahs get breakfast. The African Game Lodge currently has 2 cheetahs that are part of their rehabilitation project. Sadly these 2 will never be released into the wild. The female, Thanda, was caught in a gin trap, and you can still see the damage caused to her legs. She will never be able to catch her own food in the wild and often experiences pain in her legs, especially if it is cold. Khulu, the male, had become a problem to farmers, as he was after their sheep. They decide to catch him and rehabilitate him rather than shoot him. He has been kept in rehabilitation for too long and now strongly associated people with food, so his sheeping problem could be worse if he is released, and maybe next time he wouldn’t be so lucky. It was great to see these wonderful creatures eat and hear the different sounds they make. We popped down for both the morning and afternoon feed.

We popped back to the campsite, packed a lunch and headed off on a hike. We must have done between 14 and 16km in total. We saw some amazing views, plenty of different buck, Wildebees and some ostriches. We even came across what looked like a leopards track and a possible hunt from the night before. Other animals in the reserve, brown hyena, honey badgers and apparently cape clawless otters. Did I mention we were in an unfenced campsite? By ourselves?

It was great to relax at the campsite a bit and then get a braai going. At about 8:30 I left Chris to tend the fire and popped back up to reception. The African Game Farm also has 2 bat eared foxes, and this is their feeding time. They have been released into the veld and they come back every evening for their chicken giblet dinner. It was amazing to see then about 8m in front of me without having to be in a car. It was also the first time I’d ever seen these foxes.

All in all a wonderful weekend and definitely a return again place!

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