A Travellerspoint blog

Thanda 6.4

This is the title because originally we were planned to go to a reserve called Thanda, but they were all booked, so Rhino River Lodge was the second option, but for the longest time we weren't sure if we were going to be able to go on the safari.

sunny 78 °F

It’s Sunday night, and I’m back at the Lodge after going on a weekend Safari at Rhino River Lodge. It was…one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. It’s impossible to capture the experience, but I’ll try to give a description of our schedule to try and give a picture of it. All in all, it was about a 24-hour experience; we left the Lodge at 11AM, arrived by 1PM, then left the next day (today) at 11. We got there and immediately were greeted with lemonade refreshments and cool towels to wipe our faces with. That’s when I first sensed this safari experience was going to be better than I imagined. The property was gorgeous. I roomed with three other people and our “Chalet”, as it was called, had two floors, bath and shower, coffee/tea/biscuits, and a huge living room with plush couches. We did have a couple of visitors being many crickets and a gecko in the bath tub – the real wildlife experience. Now, the rooms we stayed in were on the game reserve, so when night came, we had to be escorted by guards because there was a risk of wild game (which we saw impala and many warthogs). At 1:30PM we were served an amazing lunch of cheeseburgers/cheesecake and then went on our first safari at 3PM. We were on the drive for about 4 hours. I have never been so content and calm in a car for that long. When we finished I thought it had only been 30 minutes. It was nice because we stopped halfway on this grassy plain by this rock that looked like Pride Rock from The Lion King. We were given free drinks (I had a tequila mixed with Passion Fruit granita) and snacks. Our guide’s name was Stuart. We are now following each other on Instagram. He was amazing. His specialty is the Big 5, so we ended up seeing every animal from the Big 5 except a panther. My favorite favorite favorite animal we saw was a momma cheetah. She was a queen. So gorgeous. I made sure to take notes on every animal we saw as Stuart explained facts about them. When we got back, dinner was chicken or lamb and then a dessert.

This morning, we were served muffins and coffee/tea at 6AM before leaving for our morning game drive at 6:30. It was insanely cold! Right off the bat we saw a hyena, which was a big surprise because they are nocturnal. It looked mean, but it was pretty stocky, which is different than how The Lion King portrays them. We were out another four hours and our goal today was to spot a rhino. We saw momma cheetah again which was cool, but I was worried we wouldn’t see a rhino because we were heading back to the lodge and had only seen outline of two from a long distance. Suddenly, over the radio our guide got word of a White Rhino. We were lucky enough to see it! It had its horns cut to help prevent poaching. Our guide was such a daredevil. He went off the path and got way closer than they are supposed to get. Our car was full of girls and we all trusted him at that point and were like “get closer! Go Stuart!”. When we got back, we were served another huge breakfast. I swear, I could never in my wildest dreams imagine how amazing that safari was going to be. And to think, I wasn’t going to sign up to go because of the price, but all of my friends told me that if I never had the opportunity to return to South Africa, I would regret not going on one. Really, this safari was super cheap for everything that was included. I swear, if the doctor thing doesn’t work out, you’ll be able to find me on the safari being a ranger. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, beyond expectations experience that no one should miss out on.

Posted by kfkeane 09:37 Archived in South Africa Tagged sunset queen breakfast dinner safari lodge chicken drive cheetah game coffee rhino tequila volunteer cold cricket hyena golden_hour big_5 muffin

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Wow! That sounds amazing!! When we talked before about safari, I thought you mentioned something about tents, so I wasn't sure about how it was going to be. But that sounds super luxurious! It sounds like a great final trip for your experience, as the days wind down for you to come home. But, it's nice to end on a high note!

It reminds me a little of when we went whale watching and saw so many dolphins. You would love that and when you come out to CA, we should definitely try it. It doesn't include a luxury hotel or meal, but it's an awesome experience.

I just got back from Chicago - had some Portillos, seafood, italian, walked around the parks and water for hours - it was really nice soaking up some gray weather in the Midwest. Now I'm home. Sunmin's sister is expecting to come out and stay with us as early as next Friday, so we have a lot of work to get the house ready for guests. We still have to figure out some of the logistics of her stay, as she is still vegetarian, so I'm not sure about meals, as we normally eat something with meat for dinner. Anyways, all to be worked out soon. Can't wait to see your pics from the trip and talk to you soon as you get ready to come home

by kaitlin

Kaitlin: It was so fancy! I expected like a tent or something but it was full-out like a lodge from Boyne Mountain. I have pictures I'll have to show you

Actually, some people went on whale watching tours here. I hear they are pretty intense because the water can get pretty bumpy. I'd love to do it with you :D

Ooooh portillos! Hope it included chocolate cake! That's all I remember about it because of Uncle Dennis and Aunt Gretchen. Sounds like the weather was nice (?) Sounds like you'll be busy meal prepping -- you'll have to channel your meal mindset from when you were a vegetarian. I'm sure whatever you come up with will be better than anything she normally eats. miss you <3 can't wait to catch up when signal is better.

by Kayla Keane

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