We left Knysna for a fairly long, but scenic drive to our final stop in South Africa, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. Along the way we stopped to watch crazy people jump off a bridge, a very high bridge. It turns out to be the highest bungy jump in the world. By the time we left my palms and the soles of my feet were dripping wet and I was only watching from a distance.
My visit to Kwandwe is unforgettable. One of the things that will stick in my mind the most is the memory of the lodge staff standing in the driveway to greet us when we arrived. It truly felt like a warm welcome to this special place and did not feel “staged” at all. They offered a cold, wet wash cloth and chilled fruit juice. It was just what was needed after the long drive.
But that’s only the start. The lodge and the reserve are both beautiful, it was truly a luxurious safari experience. Being just a few feet from two cheetahs in the wild is discomfiting but a marvelous, once-in-a-lifetime experience. They were brothers we were told; skinny as a rail.
But what I found most remarkable was the first course to dinner on our last night there. We went on the evening game drive with our Ranger, Doc and the Spotter, Cesa. It was a great drive where we saw the cheetahs and spotted another Rhino. On our way back to the lodge, just as it was getting dark and a beautiful moon lit the landscape we stopped the vehicle where the lodge staff was serving “Soup in the Bush.” There was a roaring fire, champagne, appetizers, and of course soup. It was magical. Once we had Soup in the Bush we were driven back to the lodge where we sat down to a wonderful dinner. Well done Great Fish River Lodge! I’m impressed.
And as if that wasn’t enough, on the way back we had a flat on the Land Rover…a huge vehicle. Doc and Cesa changed it with Formula One efficiency. I’m going to miss Kwandwe and the best staff I’ve ever encountered.