Roar Africa, a South African tour agency booked our two week trip to SA, and because we had never been there before, we had no idea how a safari would really be, what the hotels were like, the people, etc.. But they chose the absolute perfect hotels for our trip (Pondoro for the safari, the Peech for the stop over night in Joberg, and Colona Castle for shark diving, Penguin watching, Mandela’s prison & a glorious trip to Table Mountain).
Pondoro Lodge is staffed with people who literally love their jobs, love nature and make you feel as a guest that you just made their day when you arrived so they could show you all the things of nature that they have loved about animals. When we flew into the small airport just for Kruger Park it was decorated with safari gifts and photos of the bush. The moment you arrive at Pondoro you are greeted with a shot of Rum and a tour of the facilities. Its like being a cartoon in the Lion King – but all come to life. The sun is the brightest orange we’d ever seen, the air is crystal clear and the scent of Jasmine and grass is everywhere. Our room was like one of those rooms you see movie stars stay in – I had never seen anything more beautiful in my life. The deep sunken claw foot tub was in the middle of the room, the king size bed had a gorgeous silk blanket on it and silk pillows, and our balcony faced the river where animals drank and grazed. The meals are spectacular and the bon fires set up at night next to each table make it so romantic.
We got up at 4 AM, so that by 4:45 AM we would meet the other couples and our guides in the dining room. It is pitch black outside so they send a guide with a flashlight to your villa to bring you to the main area. Look up on that walk because you’ve never seen stars shine so bright and plentiful as they do in Africa. After coffee and scones, we all sit in the open top jeep, in the black morning hours and cover up with the thick blankets they leave on the seat for you. We drive for hours, watching the amazing sun come up, seeing lions, elephants, giraffes, owls, exotic birds, rhinos, and so many more kinds of animals I could never name them all here. When you leave in the darkness it is freezing and when the sun rises it is very warm, and beautiful. The guides know EXACTLY what they are doing, what to look for and even when you think you are just driving aimlessly for a long time you are not. Our driver slowed the jeep down, turned the engine off, got out and placed his hand into a bush. He was so good at his job that he had seen hiding on a shrub a chameleon lizard, no bigger than his hand. The drive itself, is so peaceful, so necessary in a world full of noisy cell phones, Blackberry’s, and non stop noise. Being in the bush twice a day for several days made my husband and I realized how beautiful the world and nature really is and how important it is to do things like this to remember what is important. We would get out after sunrise, and eat a light snack and coffee right there by the jeep, knowing at any moment an animal could walk by. It humbles you like nothing else can. Then we all go back for a day away from the sun to relax at the lodge but bring a good book and dvds to watch on your laptop because there are no phones or televisions – which is actually a good thing. Then from 5 pm until 9 pm we go back out for a night time drive and once again, you are thrilled, scared, fascinated and overjoyed with what nature shows you. An elephant was near us one night and as our jeep turned a corner in the black night, the headlines revealed the most incredible sight – the elephant ripped a full grown tree out of the ground with its trunk and began eating the roots. You wont see that in New York City.
We did not want to leave, especially after they built a bonfire and table for 2 on the beach for us as a romantic treat one night, set up by the wonderful African ladies wrapped in traditional Kente cloth that took care of our meals daily. We will go back again and again and this is where we will stay. If you really want to have your trip to South Africa organized extremely well, look into Roar Africa because we would never have found this place or any of the places we went to on our first SA trip without them.
- Date of stay March 2009
- Visit was for Leisure
- Traveled with With Spouse/Partner
- Age group 35-49
- Member since November 14, 2006
- Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? Yes