Friday, 20 March 2009

Authentic safari style

If you’re an animal lover, you should definitely visit an authentic African game reserve. I’m usually quite timid around animals, especially when confronted by those pesky little dogs that nip at your ankles when you’re out jogging in the park - but this completely blew my mind away (though thankfully not my body).

In October, I spent some time at Singita Lebombo lodge in South Africa, which is named after the Lebombo Euphorbia (slighty different from the Candelabra Euphorbia, as pictured in the previous blog).

The safaris were out of this world, though not for you if you don’t like an early start, as you’ll get a wake up call at around 4.30ish every morning. The best thing is that you’ll see big game animals from as close as a few feet away in an open-topped jeep, or even on foot if you’re ballsy enough to walk through the bush.

The rangers are certainly brave, but also very experienced and, if you follow their instructions carefully, you’re unlikely to be pounced upon by a wild animal that’s feeling overly territorial, hungry or hormonal (men, does this remind you of anyone?)

There’s luxury accommodation at the lodge and the rooms are really stylish with floor to ceiling windows. You can relax in the enormous bath and watch the hippos dancing in the river before you eat a superb meal in the comfortably laid back surroundings of the open air restaurant.

I wasn’t certain about sleeping on the bed that was beautifully made up outside on the terrace - just not quite sure what was lurking in the undergrowth, but the outdoor shower was certainly very refreshing and welcome.

Of course, the whole reserve is totally eco-friendly, right down to the natural products used in the bathrooms and the spa – and there are even a couple of chichi little boutiques selling safari-style fashion and exotic African curiosities for the home.

I was lucky enough to see all of the ‘big five’ game animals apart from the leopard – though we do have a unique hand painted leopard pendant at ShopCurious, along with other handmade safari-inspired pieces of jewellery, like this giraffe necklace and the rather original dangly zebra earrings (above).

One day we travelled about 100 miles out to get a view of some black rhino near the border with Mozambique, which was very dangerous for a number of reasons. I’ll definitely go back, especially as I’m curious to spot that damned elusive leopard, and I'll keep my eyes peeled for other rare flora and fauna too.

Will you?

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