Monday, June 22, 2009

A Weekend at Sondela

This weekend we were away again. It wasn't exactly planned, on our way back from the farm last weekend BrotherSwoop called Varen and said his boss had let him use his place at Sondela Game Reserve and did we wanna join. It all came together pretty quickly after that and they arrived at our place just after 4pm on Friday afternoon. We stopped into the local Woolies and stocked up on food for the weekend and headed out.

Thankfully the Friday afternoon traffic on the N1 North past Pretoria wasn't nearly as horrendous as we were expecting. And the weekend was lovely :)

The accommodation was great, we were in a chalet in the Acacia camp, and we ate well :) We listened to music, played card games and chatted. We braaied, had afternoon naps and went on bush-walks. On Saturday morning we booked ourselves a Night Game Drive and a early morning Bush Expedition for Sunday morning.

I wouldn't recommend doing these sorts of things. It's not expensive compared with other places, the Night Game Drive was R55 per person. But they only have buck, giraffe and zebra. And when we arrived to join the Game Drive, they immediately started playing it down "The bush is so thick now it's very hard to see things" etc. And they were spot on, we hardly saw anything. On Sunday morning we dutifully arrived at the pick-up point at 7:15am (for a 7:30 start). Only to decide to give up waiting at 7:45 when still no-one had shown up (we heard later when we went to get our refund form reception that they'd changed the pick-up point, but none of their pamphlets mention the change nor did the person we'd booked with and nor did our receipt that specifically stated where & when to meet). But we were actually glad after our dismal night drive. So after doing their 6.5km Yellow walking-trail on Saturday, we did their 3.5km Red walking-trail on Sunday morning. It was very cool. We saw giraffe and zebra :)

And I think that's what we learned from this. It's a great place, a mere 90 minutes from Joburg, but is definitely more geared towards DIY game-viewing. Take a walk, drive yourself around.

We also loved the few tame-ish Nyala that we got quite close up to and got to feed as they wander the past the chalets at dusk begging for the R12 bags of pellets :) The other thing that was really awesome for us was their Wildlife Center. We used our Sunday morning Bush Expedition refund for a trip to their Wildlife Center and were not disappointed, I would highly recommend a visit there if you're visiting Sondela. I bottle-fed a baby Kudu. There were so many adorable baby animals: Wildebeest (too cute!), Zebra, Blesbuck and Giraffe. And that's far from all we saw there :)

I'll post some photo's once I've had a chance to download them from my camera.

On Sunday evening after a relaxing afternoon (it's nice to get back from somewhere and still feel like you have a little bit of weekend to sloth around the house ;) ) we went for Father's Day dinner at Adega with Varen's dad. It's not my favourite restaurant, in fact it reminds me of a Portuguese-styled Spur, but I will say I do enjoy their kilo of prawns!

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