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Sunday, 12 March 2017

One night In Camp Nguni - a trip to be remembered

Sunrise over Camp Nguni as seen from the lapa

Today's blog is jam-packed with exciting events and sights. I am going to take you on a 4x4  ride in the Great Karoo, we are going to stand only a few meters away from a couple of rhinos, and I will invite you into a luxury bungalow. I am also going to introduce you to good food and excellent company. We will giggle at less than brilliant company and stand in awe of a faithful God. We fit all of this into less than 24 hours.

The chalets at Camp Nguni 

Luxury accommodation at Camp Nguni

Our trip takes us to a wildlife reserve, called Camp Nguni, a short distance from Victoria West in the Great Karoo. You still find me travelling with L. This time the trip was undertaken to finalize some business arrangements that L's late husband had with the owners of Camp Nguni. You can make reservations for a stay in Camp Nguni by booking online through a number of online booking services. Simply Google Camp Nguni for more info.

The owners' dog keeping guard 

The landscape

It is not difficult to become immediately enthralled with Camp Nguni. The Karoo landscape has enchanted many people over the years, including artists, songwriters and poets. I am not sure that a photo can ever do it credit. You have to stand in the middle of the Karoo, with the earth stretching out all around you and the sky expanding over your head, to understand the sheer vastness of space. Yet, when you focus on the small area of ground around your feet, you will immediately be struck by the variety of fauna that toughens out the dry conditions to bless the earth with beauty.

The sables coming to the watering hole 

The rhinos had the same idea as the sables

Though the landscape may have been rugged, there was nothing rugged about our stay in Camp Nguni. On the contrary! Camp Nguni has some of the best accommodation available. The service is excellent, the condition of the rooms superb, and the facilities an absolute pleasure to frequent, from the restaurant to the lapa, swimming pool, and more.

 The giraffes made their way over to the camp

The zebra proved a little shy and did not pitch at the watering hole

We arrived at Camp Nguni in the early afternoon. This was the first time that L would see her friends after J's passing, and I wished to give them some space, as I was sure they would have a lot to talk about. I was right. L later told me that her friend had confirmed a word of God that I had shared with L on our way to Camp Nguni. I found it interesting that the confirmation came in the form of a vision that repeated the words I had given her through the insight God gave me.

There was nothing shy about this young Kudu bull ... 

that light footed tread over the electric wire and came to feed at the swimming pool!

However, all was not bliss in Camp Nguni on this day. As is the case too often in life, we had a guest present who'd had too much to drink and he had turned into a bit of a brute. Not only did he force his loud opinions and observations on all present, but he also managed to tarnish his own character by attempting to put his partner down. All this loud and boisterous drunkenness is not my idea of a good time, and I opted to put even more space between myself and the others. Fortunately, the animals were starting to come down to the drinking hole, in front of the lapa.

The view taken from inside the lapa 

Some pics of Camp Nguni

I was able to take brilliant photographs of the sables, the giraffes, the kudu, and more. I must have taken a few hundred photographs of the pair of rhino that came to feed and drink across from where I stood. What a breathtaking experience to be so close to these majestic animals! Aside from a thin electrical wire, there is nothing to keep them from straying into the camp. Words can not express the thrill of sharing a space with these gigantic creatures, where you are not hidden inside a vehicle, or behind some barricade. If there is nothing else that would entice you to visit the Great Karoo, this single experience would nullify all other objections you might have.

Camp Nguni pics 

More Camp Nguni pics

I managed to while away most of the afternoon with the camera, breaking off from taking photos only long enough to kick ball with a bored little toddler. Despite the many photos, I was reluctant to leave this tranquil scene when our hosts called us to late lunch/early supper. The food, however, made up for any regrets I may have harbored. This was my first introduction to skaapstertjies/lamb tails. These were marinated and braai-ed over the fire. Simply delicious! Of course there was Karoo lamb as well, along with pap and a tomato and onion relish, as well as an array of salads and pudding. This is how we roll in Africa! I should return to the pap, though. This was truly fabulous, as it was made with cream and the smooth taste was enough to have me return for seconds.

Not a brilliant camera to take a video with, but a short one showing you the feeding rhino

By this time the sun was starting its descent, although it was still quite light out. Our host then said he wanted to take a drive in his new hummer and invited everyone who wished to go, to come along. Who am I refuse such an offer? L, myself and Janneman, practically jumped at the opportunity. Janneman is a Capuchin monkey who traveled with L and me. We went on a route that had us staring into space one moment and diving into the depths of the earth the next. It was thrilling, exciting, entertaining and quite simply exhilarating! You really should ask about the 4x4 trails when you get there. Notice my use of the word 'when', instead of 'if'. Do not skip Camp Nguni on your travels through the Karoo! Life is too short to miss out on these kinds of experiences. I also understand that they have mountain biking trails, for those of my readers who prefer this mode of travel/adventure. I did not try these out, but the people in the group who had, were very excited over it.

Heading towards the clouds on the hummer 

Diving into the earth, the next moment

That night I slept like a baby in a luxury air-conditioned room with all the trimmings. The water pressure in the shower was great - something I'm always thrilled to find. I could make myself a late cuppa at night and the lighting was good enough to read by. The only drawback, was that I could not get cellphone reception here to use my data, and the lodge had no WiFi. Is this a drawback, though? At first I found this rather annoying, but when I thought about it, I changed my mind. It was good to be able to simply get away from it all; to take a break from the communications world that seem to dominate our lives so much these days. I took a page from this book, that I would incorporate in my future travels. There is nothing so urgent, that it can't wait for my return to civilization. These days, I put my blogs on hold when I travel, even though I keep gathering the memories and the photos. There will be time enough to blog about it when I get back.

L, Janneman and myself after our trip with the hummer in the background

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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