ADVENTURES | PHOTOGRAPHS | LIFE IN AMSTERDAM


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

South Africa: Safari at Tremisana Lodge

After spending a few days in Johannesburg, we packed up and headed east to Kruger National Park. Personally, this was a part of the trip I most eagerly awaited. We ended up having chilly autumn weather which was perfect for spotting animals. I still can't believe we had such amazing luck!

Planning this leg of our trip was a bit confusing, there were just so many tour companies to choose from! (Some of the tours cost thousands or more a night per person, personally I’m not heading into the wild bush to get a massage at a fancy spa...) We love the outdoors and wanted to stay somewhere relaxed, exposed to nature and most importantly budget friendly.

I’m so glad we chose to stay at the Tremisana Lodge at the Balule Reserve, which fit perfectly to our needs and catered towards the budget conscious or backpacking type of traveler. Fortunately, a round trip drive from Johannesburg was also provided. This five-hour journey (each direction!) took us through a long stretch of farmland and with many twists and turns we headed up through the mountains. Such gorgeous views! Aside from catching the scenery and a few cat naps the way, those drives gave us a fun chance to get to know our fellow travelers.

Catching some sleep on the road...

Making our way through the mountains...

Upon arriving we found the lodge was run by a team of friendly local staff and knowledgeable guides. We stayed in one of the thatched roof chalets with all the basic amenities surrounding a pool and lush scenery. If you’re up for it try staying in one of their tree houses! An electric fence kept the wild animals from wandering in but every morning we caught the monkeys leaping from one budding Poinciana tree to another. Our stay there was exactly what we had imagined for a safari experience and I'd happily recommend others to say here. 

Safari time, yippie!

During the course of our stay, the guides took us out on multiple safaris to Kruger Park and surrounding game reserves. They shared loads of information about the animals, local flora and fauna and happily answered millions of our questions. An early morning was reserved for a bush walk, one of my favorite parts of the tour. After a long day of animal watching we’d return to the lodge in the evening with a delicious braai (traditional South African bbq) waiting for us. Sharing a beer and braai every night was a great way to relax and connect with other travelers while sharing stories and travel tips.

The meals were delicious and they happily catered to vegetarians. Everyone at the Tremisana Lodge was friendly, staying there felt like the most fantastic summer camp. I made some nice friends on this leg of our trip and eventually met up with them later in our along the Garden Route drive. After getting to know the employees and our fellow safari buddies during that week it was actually a bit sad to leave!

Remember these colorful miner's helmets from the World Cup in South Africa!

Awkward braai photos happen after too many beers...

Heading out for an evening safari...

Safari sunsets...

Next up: More safari adventures and lots of animal pictures. Prepare to be inundated, it took a while to edit them down from about 1200 images...

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