Chill time in the bush

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We’ve been thoroughly spoilt over the past week spending some time in the bush. We spent a few days with Ashley at the family game farm in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve and then met up with a group of friends from Johannesburg for a weekend in the Thornybush Game Reserve. It was a real treat from start to finish!

For most South Africans, the bush is their soul place, a place to relax, reflect and enjoy the wonder of nature. In the bush one appreciates the extreme privilege of living in Africa and being close to wild animals like lions, leopards, elephant and rhino. Even when the Big 5 are scarce and hard to find there are so many other beautiful birds, trees, insects and plants to admire along the way. The bushveld was looking beautiful with the grass turning green after the first summer rains and wild wisteria and magnolias blooming all over the place!

A beautiful moth.

Since he was little, Quentin has spent family holidays in the Klaserie. It is a very special place and he took me there on our first weekend together as a couple and again on the weekend we got engaged. At the game farm my husband is in game-ranger mode: driving the game vehicle, spotting and tracking animals and birds and cooking food over an open fire. It is glorious to see him in action! His gorgeous blue eyes don’t miss a thing and he usually spots animals and birds that most people are completely oblivious to. On our first day he spotted a leopard sitting on an anthill behind some trees. At first he thought it was a warthog, but on closer inspection a leopard was revealed! It did not stick around long enough to take photos, but it is this kind of opportunistic game viewing that we absolutely love. It is even better when there are kids with us, because they are so eager to learn about nature.

Knock-knock Mr Tortoise, is anyone home?

A family of elephants stopping for a drink.

Quentin taking charge in the outdoor kitchen – lamb chops, beer bread, and fire-roasted veggies.

We were thoroughly spoilt at Thornybush staying at a beautiful self-catering lodge overlooking a riverbed. The weather was a bit rainy for most of the weekend, but we still enjoyed some wonderful game drives led by our ranger Aurela and his tracker, Philip. There were plenty of kudu, elephant, buffalo and lion. In a Reserve like Thornybush one can really get close to the animals because the game rangers are experienced and generally know the animals well. The elephants come much closer than we would dare go in the Klaserie. On our last morning we spent time watching three lionesses walking along the road. They were extremely relaxed and let us follow them for a while. Ashley was really excited to see lion for the first time, but she could not help be a little bit nervous when they walked right past us in the vehicle! Overall, a very special time shared with great friends. Please can we go back soon!

Stylish River Lodge.

Horsing around in the pool between game drives.

Aurela and the Dingo crew ready for a ride on the Land Rover.

Yikes, the elephants are so close!

Buffalo in the rain.

Looking back towards the cloud-covered escarpment.

Waterhole reflections.

Zebra crossing.

Decadent sundowners.

Boma fire.

Relaxed lions.

Spoilt on our last game drive – how we will miss the bush!

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