The loss of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino #ripSudan, has got me reminiscing about our South Africa Travels in 2016! What an amazing trip! Definitely a trip of a lifetime! We found affordable flights to South Africa and without thinking twice, we booked our tickets; not realizing most of the safari hotels are booked at least 6 months in advance.
We had about 2 months to plan our trip before we departed, which is no easy task when planning alongside 5 year olds and 60 year olds.. :) making sure we would be able to accommodate everyone’s needs.
For my husband and I, our biggest concern was trying to find a Safari that would entertain kids under the age of 6 and give us an "authentic" experience. Not to say that a safari would ever be considered boring, but things such as only being able to go during certain hours, one of us having to stay behind or not being able to go in an open jeep. We didn't want to travel around in a minivan/closed vehicle. We wanted to experience the Safari in it’s truest form and wanted the kids to experience it the same way as this was also their trip of a lifetime! Finding a safari location was really tough since most resorts had limits on how young children had to be, also we wanted to ensure that were in a malaria free zone.
We looked on every website for the perfect lodging and via booking.com we stumbled upon a reservation for Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. Kwandwe is one of the largest private Big Five game viewing areas in South Africa and in a malaria free zone. We got lucky and were able to book the last private villa named the Melton Manor and this was the most magical place and truly made our trip to South Africa unforgettable. The location was breathtaking, the accommodations were royal, the staff was ever attentive, we didn't have to lift a finger, they wouldn't even let us open a can of soda! The private chef made the most delicious meals all day long and catered to everyones unique dietary restrictions! Oh, I could go on an on!!
One of my absolute favorite things about staying at the Melton Manor is that we had our own private safari driver and tracker which made our Safari trip experiences unforgettable! We were able to decide when we wanted to take our outings and what animal we really wanted to see. The best part was that the kids were able to come on all of them regardless of the time of day, and even were allowed in the open jeep! Kwandwe even had onsite babysitting services if the kids didn’t want to go on any of the safari rides which was a true blessing! The babysitters entertained the kids with all sorts of activities. My youngest (by 3 minutes) still says the babysitter was her favorite part of the trip. Fo me, knowing that they were taken care of and one of us didn’t have to stay back was comforting because every safari trip was a completely different experience and you never knew what you would see out there in the wild!
We got to see Giraffes, Zebras, Elephants, Rhino’s, Hippo’s, Cheetahs, Lions, Lionesses and even triplet baby cubs, just to name a few! I couldn’t believe how close we were to wildlife - it was simply amazing!
The feeling I got when driving around was so surreal! We were there for about 4 days and not once did I crave watching tv or felt the need to check my email. Being out in the open, in nature, in it’s purest form was a feeling I just can’t explain! It was so peaceful and so calming! The hustle and bustle of daily life just got swept away while driving around looking for the animals.
If you are considering taking a trip to South Africa, I highly recommend it and recommend checking out Kwandwe to have an experience of a lifetime!!
Oh, I can't wait to go back one day.....!