My first introduction to Makanyane Safari Lodge was a face to face meeting with an elephant at the door of my cottage. “I’ll just go and shoo him away, said the lodge manager, Garth Kew. So he walked towards said elephant and shouted “Shoo!” Elephant ignored him, so Garth ran towards him waving his arms shouting “Stop eating my trees.”
Ele got a fright and like a dog caught being naughty, tucked his tail between his squeezed-tight buttocks and took off at high speed down the path, straight towards me!
Oh shite! My self preservation kicked in and I screamed – the kind of scream I didn’t know I had in me (you aren’t supposed to do that). Then I took off across a patch of small thorn bushes, leaping each one like an Olympic hurdler.
When I looked back, my friend Michela on her first safari, was standing there looking bemused. I yelled at her to move fast, but being a well-built type, she didn’t so much as jump the needle-sharp bushes than forge through them. Her legs looked like someone had written shorthand all over them with a blood-red pen. Elephant was now heading at top speed for open savannah and Garth wondered what we were doing in the patch of crucifying needle-like Acacias. “This happens every day,” he said nonchalantly as he showed us into our suite.
He was right, because the very next day Elephant was back again. He was close enough to my front door that I could have pulled his tail, but I didn’t like to risk it. Michela was sitting at the viewing deck – a few square metres of hardwood on which a couple of deckchairs rested in front of the open plain so guests can while away time watching African wildlife – and I thought she was on her way back to the room. I peeked my head over the outdoor shower wall and yelled “Michela don’t come back, the elephant is here.”
No response. I really didn’t want to explain how she came to be solidly squashed by a rampaging elephant, so I tried the cell phone. It worked, so I frantically called her.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “I was just phoning my husband telling him that you were yelling at me about our elephant. I am sure he’s harmless.”
Elephant harmless ….I don’t think so. Take a look at this entry (http://www.safaritart.com/?p=237) then make up your mind.
Ok, so our ele wasn’t as big as him (I doubt if there is another living elephant that enormous) but he had a few tricks up his sleeve, so to speak. Garth told us about a woman who was taking an outside shower when suddenly a trunk reached over in search of water and started frisking her. She almost fainted from shock but not before legging it along the path to the main lodge absolutely starkers – at least that is how the story has evolved with a few tellings.
Makanyane’s sleep-out platform could be the answer. Raised high above the ground beside a waterhole, a plump bed is made up with a wafting mosquito net with meals and drinks ready. A spotlight helps with night game viewing (to identify who is making all the noise). Like several experiences at Makanyane this sleepout platform gives you a dose of raw Africa, with a touch of romance.
I loved Makanyane for it unpretentiousness, while at the same time offering great luxury. The suites are memorable with glass fronts so you can which wildlife is wandering by and each has several private outdoor areas, which doesn’t keep the odd ele trunk or passing monkey from stealing your biscuits). Food was great and staff absolutely charming.
Would I go back…without a doubt. Take a look at their website.