PictureDrakensberg Mountains with baobab tree in forefront.
We’re back from a weekend safari to Tshukudu Bush Camp (http://www.tshukudubushcamp.co.za) near Hoedspruit, in the province of Limpopo. The game reserve was separated from Kruger National Park – the place everyone goes to see the Big 5 – by a fence. We went on a tour arranged by Big Tau Safaris (http://www.bigtausafaris.co.za) with co-workers of my husband, and it was SO easy!

Louis owns Big Tau Safaris and he is certified to guide in every province in South Africa. Very knowledgeable as to wildlife and African life in general, he really kept us entertained from the moment he picked us up. It’s about a three hour drive from eMalahleni to Hoedspruit, but Louis drove us through Dullstrom (Emnotweni) and a few other fun places along the way, all the while sharing information about the countryside we were traveling. We went up and down the Drakensberg Mountains – the Ndebele people live at the top. We passed two rivers, the Oliphants and the Blyde, that were flooding over their banks because officials had opened the sluice gates on the local dams.

PictureSteven & I by the baobab tree in the orange grove
We’ve had a lot of rain and it was even raining when we left eMalahleni. But we urged Louis to drive toward the patch of blue sky we could see through the clouds, and ever obliging, he got us to the sunshine! We stopped to see a Baobab tree, which are HUGE trees that were brought to South Africa by elephants, who ate the fruit elsewhere and pooped the seeds in Limpopo. Louis told us the trees are 80% water. One of the trees we stopped to see was in the middle of an orange grove – quite a difference in size!

After lunch at the Baobab restaurant and a quick stop at the PicNPay in Hoedspruit for meal supplies, Louis drove us to the Tshukudu (which means rhino in the Sotho language) Game Reserve. The Tshukudu Bush Camp is self-catering, which means you’re responsible for your own food and refreshments. It is not the most luxurious game reserve accommodations we’ve enjoyed. There were no warm cloths to wipe the journey’s dust off your face or tiny shampoos and lotions in the bathroom; no wi-fi or TV. But the thatched cottages are clean, the beds are comfortable, there’s hot water AND air-conditioning. There are two other accommodations, the lodge and the tent camp in the reserve, which undoubtedly create a different (not necessarily better) experience.

There’s a pool, an indoor dining room with a satellite TV, a community outdoor dining area, a community kitchen, and a boma. A boma is an enclosure; in this case just outside the kitchen, with tables and chairs around a big fire pit. The staff keep the fire going, and use a shovel to bring coals from the fire to the braai (grill) for cooking the food. There is also a dormitory area where learners stay on educational field trips. Behind the boma there are two sets of stairs. One leads to an elevated observation deck. The other leads to a suspension bridge that takes you to a blind overlooking the dam.

When we got there we were greeted by Deon, the park ranger and man in charge of the bush camp; his miniature dachshund Flinters (Afrikaans for tatters); and his favorite cheetah, Ntombi (Zulu for little girl). We had a few minutes to carry our luggage to our cottage before we went on our first game drive. When we came out to join the group, everyone was getting their photo taken with Ntombi. Of course we wanted our turn, too!
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Deon getting loved by Ntombi
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Nothing like a cup of coffee with a cheetah!
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Something caught her attention just as the shutter snapped
 


Comments

03/14/2014 11:00pm

Rosanne,
Happy to see that you are back to doing the FYI bit. This is truly great! Keep up the good work. Love you always!

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09/23/2015 8:45pm

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05/10/2016 7:33pm

I love the adventures and I want to say that these type of adventures are always great for me because in this way we all able to enjoy our life with these type of natural things. The pictures are great and I wish that I would be with you in this adventure.

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