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Amakhosi Safari Lodge, the Big 5!  

The trio of giraffe posing

Tucked away just outside of Pongola is the authentically African Amakhosi Safari Lodge.  Cold towels and a fresh juice upon arrival were happily welcomed as the sun and heat favour Amakhosi.  The entrance into the lodge brings with it an earthy feel.  As one walks out onto the deck, the view of the Mkuze River is a sight to behold, and eating out on the deck at night, with such a spectacular view is a treat.

The room I stayed in was the River Suite.  The hammock was one of my favourite touches.  Reading a book and listening to the flowing Mkuze river is relaxing and unwinds a busy mind.  The bed has a net on it which keeps out the mosquitoes.  Comfort is an understatement… The bed is so comfortable with snug fluffy pillows that promise a great night’s sleep.  There is a lounge area with a well-stocked mini-bar and tea and coffee making facilities.  The shower is very spacious and there is also an outdoor shower for the more adventurous.  The rooms are so well decorated with African art and are well lit with the high glass doors and windows, allowing panoramic views.

Cheetahs relaxing in front of the game vehicle

There is no comparable feeling quite as exhilarating as watching a cheetah racing, and then hearing their adorable call.  It’s quite difficult to watch them without affection after hearing that precious and delicate call.  Then to the other extreme, a male lion roaring for his pride to join him, while parked a safe distance away, vibrating the entire valley with the resounding echo.

I was lucky enough to witness a baby elephant trying to use his trunk… cute doesn’t even begin to describe it!  While I would dare to call a baby elephant cute, a full grown one on the other hand is nothing short of magnificent.  The strength in their trunks embodies the strength of the beautiful giants.

Elephants grazing

The ultimate show in luxury was stopping at the top of one of the many hills, and viewing the landscape from above whilst sipping a crisp South African wine and snacking on biltong, crisps and nuts.  It’s a lovely break during the game drive and also a chance to take in the splendour of the game farm.  The game ranger and tracker were knowledgeable, well-trained and experts in their field, providing a great feeling of safety.

View from the snack stop

What would a 5* game reserve be like without mouth-watering decadence?  I am personally a lover of cheese, and there was what seemed like a never ending supply of exotic cheeses, as well as succulent fruit, delicious pastries and cakes.  For the fish lovers, salmon is a lovely touch with the morning breakfast, something I enjoyed.  The four course dinner left my belly full and my appetite pleased.  Not only was the food excellent, but so was the service.  The service is anticipatory.  By the end of the first night, the barman knew what I wanted to drink, as well as that I had a taste for biltong and provided me with a little biltong snack.

I splurged a little and decided to be pampered with a heavenly massage.  To feel the stresses of everyday life slowly melt away while having my shoulders and neck massaged, brought along with it my surrender to bliss and relaxation.

The absolute highlight of my stay at Amakhosi, as if seeing so much wildlife and having an abundance of cheese wasn’t enough, was getting engaged.  The location is so incredibly beautiful that it is the perfect place for a romantic weekend.

Click here to view our Amakhosi Safari Lodge packages.

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Amanda Sampaio

A bit about me: I am Rhodesian born, grew up in Zululand, South Africa. Post matriculation, I studied a 3 year Travel & Tourism National Diploma; I then spent 7.5 years (during the mid-90’s) working in various operational roles for SAA at the old Durban Airport; My husband, son & I then moved to the UK and lived in south-west London (Worcester Park) for 10.5 years – I worked for 3.5 years in Local Government (at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council) and then for 7 years for QANTAS as part of the Cabin Crew Ground Management Team based at Heathrow and later with Qantas Corporate Sales based in their London Hammersmith office. My family and I have been back in South Africa for almost 3 years now (having missed too much of our family, SA sunshine and braai’s) and during our time back, we are also delighted to have welcomed our 17 month old baby girl into our family! Travel is definitely my passion and is in my ‘blood’ as I am firmly back in the travel seat with my current role within Sales and Marketing at iGo Travel and look after this for our newly launched brand ‘iGO Africa’.