Bush safari

Sleep-outs. Boma dinners. Sunset drives. The romance of a safari. We’re suggesting a Jock Safari Lodge getaway this February. 

Honestly. Is there anything more romantic than a bush jaunt? We think not. And this month’s lodge won over our hearts instantly.

There’s the romantic background … Jock Safari Lodge was founded by the descendants of the author Sir Percy FitzPatrick, and is named after his book, Jock of the Bushveld, the famous and much-loved story, set during South Africa’s first gold rush era, of canine hero Jock’s courage and loyalty.

Steeped in history, it’s tucked away in the south-western corner of the Kruger National Park, where the Mitomeni (Shangaan for ‘Jackalberry Tree’) and Biyamiti (Shangaan for ‘Place of many Trees’) rivers meet. It was the first private concession granted within our largest national park, and has 6000 hectares of exclusive traversing rights … so right up there with the best for animal viewing. And the bush was just teeming with animals when we visited. The Big Five showed their famous faces on the very first sunset drive – and there’d obvs been a lot of romance – or good old-fashioned lust – going on as there were babes every which way we looked, including a dozen lion cubs between three mums, and half a dozen or so newly born ellies, tripping over their feet and slapping each other with their out-of-control trunks.

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Talking babes, another reason this lodge won us over is because it allows – it welcomes! – children, who have their own Kids on Safari programme.

Back to romance … the lodge is all old-school safari – vintage-style furniture, leather travel trunks, wooden decks with comfy chairs and an elevated bar and lounge with a fire pit and river view.

Our hearts did a little flutter when we were shown the suites, too. Just 12 of them, each with an outdoor Victorian bath and shower, a private plunge pool and an enclosed sala day bed, where you can laze away your days watching the ellies pass by, or ask, as we did, for the beds to be made up and have a sleep-out. Sweet, sweet dreams.

There’s a special rate of locals at Jocks, starting at R4525 a person, sharing, which includes two daily game drives, guided wilderness walks, all meals and non-alcoholic beverages, game drive beverages and VAT and Tourism Levy but excludes the SANParks Conservation Levy. Children between six and eleven pay a supplementary rate, littlies five and under stay for free. If you’re travelling with a group, a fabulous option is Fitzpatrick’s Lodge, which sleeps only six guests … perfect for families. There’s a SA resident special there too. Details: jocksafarilodge.com or 013-010-0019. 

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