Most people think us ‘bush people’ are quite strange, choosing to spend our off time on other game reserves or wilderness areas. This includes lodge staff, guides, managers and land owners already spending their working days on game reserves. You will never hear this phrase often from the likes of us – Oh, I am going to Johannesburg on holiday!’
‘Don’t you ever get tired of the bush’ is the question that comes to mind when we tell our friends and family we will be spending our off week or leave in Kruger National Park. The truth is that the bush & wildlife is our passion and when you have this deep passion, a need to explore and experience different wilderness areas, it comes easily and without hesitation. The more remote the better!
We are spoilt for choice in Southern Africa. From Coastal areas to inland sanctuaries, each offering a multitude and variety of birdlife, biomes, eco-systems, fauna & flora.
Namibia – A place of Wonder, Kim’s choice – ‘I have been fortunate enough to have visited most Game Reserves in South Africa as well as visit other countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe & Malawi.
The most special place for me is Namibia. You feel so insignificant in such wide open and untouched spaces. The desert is memorising and for me a very spiritual place. Star gazing on the dunes, with the sea below you in Henties Bay is something I will never forget. Not one night went by without me seeing a shooting star. Etosha Game Reserve has amazing game viewing, with the animals congregating around the rivers and water holes. I will definitely be back!’
Vaughan’s top choice is Honeyguide Tented Safari Camps. ‘In my opinion it offers the same quality as Sabi sands, has far less traffic and has more diversity to offer on drives. You can visit Honeyguide throughout the year. You would need a higher budget for this lodge but I would suggest that one save’s up in order to treat your family to a weekend at Mantobeni Safari Camp.
Gerhard’s enjoys visiting Mkuze in Kwa Zulu Natal – ‘This reserve has amazing waterholes and proper hides where game viewing is epic. Another pic for him is Manyane Restcamp in the Pilansberg game Reserve, North West province. This is for more of an economical conscious traveller who prefers camping or has an adventurous camper. It provides great game viewing opportunities. Madikwe is also very beautiful and have many lodges to choose from but this is more on the expensive side.’
Ben suggests Punda Maria, where anytime is amazing. ‘Due to the fact that in today’s touristic and capitalist world, the southern, more accessible parts of Kruger are becoming increasingly crowded and it is hard to avoid other traffic. The point of going to the park for me is to not chase sightings of high profile animals but to lose oneself in one of the largest conservation areas in the world. Not only does the far north of Kruger offer peace, quiet and solitude but it is also home to some of the most stunning scenery in the park. Towering baobabs follow your progress as you drive the deserted roads and as a birder, the north is home to a magnificent variety of species, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in South Africa! Keep your eyes peeled for specials such as Variable Sunbird, Racket Tailed Roller, Black Throated Wattle Eye and Pels Fishing Owl!!’
Sharin & Trevor would recommend the surrounding areas of Hoedspruit. This area in itself is a great bush holiday destination and very close to the campus. So during off weeks it would not be far for students to travel.
‘There are so much to do and the best time to visit is all year round as both winter & summer months offer different views to the landscape. Students can visit all the top bush destinations around Hoedspruit for example:
* Game Drives on private reserves or visit our top lodges around Hoedspruit, you are also in close proximity to Kruger National Park and stay over or go for the day.
* Moholoholo Rehab Center or Hoedspruit Wildlife Endangered Centre
* Blyde River Canyon & sight-seeing around the Canyon’
Nick’s top pic is Kgalagadi Trans frontier National Park – ‘It is evident by its increasing popularity, is one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. The harsh environment, extreme temperatures and contrasting landscapes make you feel alive. With very hot and dry summers and icy cold winter nights, Kgalagadi is a unique experience every time. In addition to the spectacular landscapes and wide open spaces, Kgalagadi rarely disappoints when it comes to spectacular big cat sightings. If your wanting a unique holiday experience, a taste of true wilderness, once in a lifetime animal sightings and star filled nights under clear night skies, a campsite in Kgalagadi is a good place to start.’
So good luck with your planning and we hope that if you chose to visit any of these special places that they resonate with you the same way it does for us!
Kim & Bushwise Team