Right before the lockdown (I literally slipped home on day 2 of the tough lockdown) I was invited on a trip with andBeyond. While it was the last safari I went on, it is by no means my last safari! Now that we can travel locally, I am planning a trip to a collection of out-of-the-way objects that I have in mind.
andBeyond Tengile River Lodge in the Sabi Sands
The new andBeyond property everyone is talking about! What a wonderful lodge with one of the most impressive entrances that offers a truly spectacular main area once you walk the stairs to paradise. The idea of recycling items and bringing the outside world into the lodge area has been well implemented and the team running this show is a well-oiled machine that has obviously been doing this for many years. The team spirit was very evident. Not that it was missed anywhere else. It was just very obvious here and if it’s supposed to be anywhere, Tengile is where it needs to be! The rooms are quite far apart which is great for privacy. A sleek golf cart is provided and a fun way to get from the common area to your suite. I loved the boma food and the food in general was superb. A big thank you to the resident mixologist !! He was excellent.
and beyond Ngala treehouse
Then it’s off to Ngala Safari Lodge in the Timbavati Game Reserve. Nikki and Fanny, the ranger / tracker team here, were by far the highlight of our stay. Nikki should never do anything other than be a ranger and interact with people forever. He is passionate beyond passion and every sighting he “stumbles” across is like seeing this animal for the first time. You can’t help but be caught up in his enthusiasm and really enjoy the experience of nature with him. It will be my first choice for families in the future. He is animated and full of knowledge.
White lions are unique to the Timbavati and so it was great to see the white lion cubs. We also had amazing wild dog and hyena sightings. In fact, it felt like they were following us! Driving through completely different terrain to Ngala was interesting and surprising, and it’s a bird watcher’s paradise.
What a pleasure to see the brand new Ngala tree house
It reminded me of my daughter’s books ’13 Story Treehouse ‘
I took a video of my walk through the tree house. Come and see …
& Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge
Having stayed at Phinda Mountain Lodge before, it was wonderful to see the “new” Mountain Lodge and the lighter colors in the rooms. The suites we were assigned were really spacious and beautiful. I liked the outside area and the pool in the suite but unfortunately I was never able to swim in the beautiful new lodge pool which has probably some of the most spectacular views of the Phinda Reserve. Loved it!
I really enjoyed my time with our ranger Ross and it was really spectacular to see the leopard after sitting at a lion death on our first evening drive. It was a privilege to meet Les Carlisle and Beyonds Conservation Manager. Les was responsible for setting up the first community relations and development committees for andBeyond’s partner for social development, the Africa Foundation. He played an influential role in obtaining the legal and conservation permits required to establish a Big Five reservation on private land. His enthusiasm is contagious and happy guests have the opportunity to join Les on his side Impact Journeys.
Get the opportunity to enjoy that Night Eye ExperiencIt was really amazing! Sitting in the dark, surrounded by all of a lion’s pride with only the moon and stars for light, was a bit “outside of my comfort zone”, but who doesn’t love an experience that makes your heart beat faster? Our ranger / tracker experience with Matt & Sipho was outstanding. Their enthusiasm and the way they interact as a leadership duo are contagious and of great benefit. They obviously love what they do.
Just an update to SA Airlink – they are operational and adding more flights as demand increases.
I’ve always found the Phinda connection inconvenient, but I’m happy to confirm that Airlink has officially changed my perception of routing and that it was nowhere near as awkward as I imagined. The transition was seamless and the pilots for every connection were friendly and professional.
The flights were comfortable and I was happy to learn that the larger planes are being used for your lodge hop routes. The inclusion of the Airlink lounge is a big plus and will be something I put on the itineraries to make people feel even more special about the Airlink experience.
I look forward to hearing from you! To get in touch
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