Wedding anniversary at Makweti Safari Lodge
Nicole and I celebrate our wedding anniversary next week. We got married on 7/7/7. Ten years and 2 kids later she still laughs at my (same) jokes and we still hug and kiss each other every day. Being a big milestone, we decided to leave our young girls with gran and have a few days alone together to celebrate the 3650 days. What better way to connect as a couple than in the bush. No cellphone signal. No ability to check what’s happening on Facebook. No television.
If you live in Johannesburg (or are a tourist and arrive at OR Tambo airport), there’s a great “Big 5” game reserve only 2.5 hours north of the city called Welgevonden. We’ve been there a few times before, stayed at various lodges and love the proximity of it as well as all the animal sightings.
This time round, being our anniversary, we decided to spoil ourselves by staying at the 5 star Makweti Safari Lodge. With only 5 secluded villas (and more staff than guests) you know you’re in for a pampered time. Believe me, we were not disappointed. From the sounds of the African drum being played on our arrival to the warm hospitality of the staff throughout our stay, it truly was a luxurious 3-night excursion away from home.
It started with a rope bridge walk to the villa..
The villa itself was luxurious as you would expect from a 5 star lodge:
We had our own pool (but being the middle of winter was way too cold to swim):
We had romantic baths prepared for us on our return from evening game drives...
Without any fencing, there’s always a possibility that animals roam right past your front door. There were often zebra and smaller animals at the watering hole in the camp. We even had an elephant swing past to say howzit one morning.
What makes the experience 5-star for me though, besides the world class amenities, is the service. The hosts Neil and Jessica are kind and attentive without being in your face. It’s as if they appeared when needed and melted into the background when Nicole and I enjoyed romantic lunches and dinners for two on the viewing deck. And the food… oh my lord, each meal was carefully crafted by the hands-on chef and was probably some of the best meals Nicole and I have eaten in a long time. In fact, it’s probably what I’ll remember the most about the experience. Since I also had pudding at every lunch and dinner setting, I probably walked away slightly heavier than when we arrived.
Even the table decor was always laid out with careful preparation:
Whilst we had one "communal" dinner with fellow guests, Nicole and I preferred dining alone, and we had a romantic table set up for us every day:
When it came to the game drives, we went on a 3-4 hour ride every morning and afternoon and saw some truly spectacular sights, the most memorable was a cheetah and her 3 cubs feeding on a fresh kill (pic blurry due to my iPhone zoom!):
There was also the lion who was having a morning nap in the bushes...
What I found equally enjoyable was our game ranger’s imparting of knowledge (without being one of those in-your-face cocky types). With an honours degree in botany, Neil even got us fascinated in the fauna and flora as we drove along the gravel roads.
Being the middle of winter, it got pretty chilly on the game drive vehicle, but Neil and Jessica had that covered with hot water bottles, warm ponchos, hand warmers and… and some much enjoyed Amarula on ice at sunset. Being the boy scout that I am, I had come prepared and just donned my own kit, so I looked like a cold ninja burglar…
Nicole and I loved our time there. Thank you to our hosts Neil and Jessica for making our anniversary so special. We look forward to coming back again soon! If you want to have a 5 -star bush break, we highly recommend Makweti Safari Lodge.
This was a paid-for holiday and not a sponsored post.
In today's age of always moaning about bad service, its great to give praise where due.