Deep inside continental Africa sits a small Safari lodge surrounded by savanna woodlands. Nedile Lodge, pronounced [Neh-dee-lay] is situated in the Welgevonden game reserve in the Limpopo territory in South Africa near the borders of Botswana and Zimbabwe. Although a five star lodge, you would be forgiven for thinking wide screen televisions, wi-fi and background music at every turn.
No; Nedile is a fresh and real outdoor experience.
"not to be missed for the world"
My partner and I spent three nights at Nedile during a longer stay in South Africa. It was to be my first Safari and although a great fan of Sir David Attenborough and his countless naturalist programmes, I wasn't sure what to expect. The only thing on my mind was the prospect of some cracking imagery rather than an encounter with a lion or an elephant.
20 hours of travelling including tube train, 11 hour flight and 4 hour drive saw us arrive at the reserve where we immediately 'signed our lives away...' Great.
Here we met our ranger, Barend and his mighty British Land Rover—Hurrah. Once at the lodge we had a couple of hours to freshen up and have lunch before heading straight out on our first drive—beyond tired—but not to be missed for the world!
"we keep our distance, quietly, in a canvas topped Land Rover"
Our first drive not only introduced us to 'sundowners' and an amazing sunset, but gave us our first glimpse at 'three of the five.'
As I took this shot of two lion cubs I awoke a new passion.
SAVANNA (AFRICAN) ELEPHANT
A large bull elephant stares back at me while we keep our distance, quietly, in a canvas topped Land Rover.
SQUARE-LIPPED (WHITE) RHINOCEROS
This little fellow—half the size of the vehicle—stands quietly among the grass of an open plain.
It was not until my last evening at the lodge that the fourth of the five was spotted. A Buffalo. An old male with sores on his front legs, probably ejected from his herd.
AFRICAN (SAVANNA) BUFFALO
South Africa boasts a great variety of wildlife and is home to the famous 'Big Five.' These are the Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino which were said to be the most dangerous animals to hunt back when we knew little about the damage we could cause the world. Each year people travel from around the globe just to see them, often not interested in the other wildlife on offer.
Although I did not see a leopard, we will most certainly have driven passed several. Oh well; just one of many reasons to head back out there.
ROCK HYRAX (DASSIE)
A BIRD IN FLIGHT
DUNG BEETLE DUNG
LION PAW PRINT
"big smiles and a hearty breakfast"
Nedile Lodge sits in the heart of the Welgevonden game reserve and boasts some of the best panoramic views the area has to offer. The lodge can house up to ten guests with seven amazing staff who really know their stuff.
The days consist of a 0600 wake up call with coffee and 'crunchies' (biscuits), then in the vehicle by 0630 for the morning drive. The first drive lasts for around four hours with a fifteen minute stop for bush coffee and crunchies, arriving back at 1030.
Upon your return you are pleasantly greeted by hot face towels, big smiles and a hearty breakfast on the balcony of the lodge overlooking a watering hole. Your time is then your own to use the pool, watch the many animals and admire the views, or have a drink or three until a beautiful lunch at 1400.
Your evening drive sees you in the vehicle at 1515 to catch a radiant sunset—whilst sipping 'sundowners,' eating dried fruits and meats with crunchies before breaking out the spotlight for some nocturnal wildlife.
Finally you return after dark, greeted in the same manner and treated to some of the best food South Africa has to offer.
"an experience not to be missed"
Nedile has been one of the best experiences of my life. The relaxed and highly skilled staff should be highly commended and although I did not get to know everyone personally, I would like to express my thanks to all at the lodge.
I also had the privilege of meeting the owners—who built the lodge just over ten years ago. Amazing, down to earth visionary people who have brought the wonders that are Nedile into being. It is an experience not to be missed.
I now have the Safari bug. Who knows what the future may hold...
Bush Coffee made with Amurula, Coffee and Hot Chocolate