Friday, April 19, 2013

Bukela Lodge, Amakhala Game Reserve – Jeremy Williamson

Bukela Lodge is one of the Five Star Lodges in the Malaria free, Amakhala Game Reserve close to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. We arrived to a warm welcome and  after refreshments and a tour of the Main lodge facilities we were shown to our luxurious suite, one of four.  

 Linked to the main lodge by wooden walkways, each with an outlook into the bush where the animals freely roam. I noticed repairs had been effected to part of the boardwalk, some rather weighty animal had passed through here ! Well the camp is not fenced and the elephant, buffalo and other Big Game are free to access the Lodge grounds.

Tucked away in a ‘hidden valley’ Bukela Lodge is situated in the south eastern sector of Amakhala Game Reserve with easy access to any sector of the reserve. So the game viewing is good. Good too are the Lodge facilities. 

A lovely deck and swimming pool area leads to an enclosed gazebo that overlooks a nearby water-hole. An ideal venue at which to relax, have a meal or read. 

The main lounge dining area is large and comfortably furnished, conducive to relaxing after the game drive with a glass of wine as on warms up close to the fire.

The game drives from Bukela Lodge offered Lana and I some excellent sightings of eland, Africa’s largest antelope species. They thrive here, seemingly less affected by ticks than their unfortunate cousins in Kwazulu-Natal and the Kruger Park areas, they also seem to be fairly relaxed too.

A lovely feature with respect to the topography at AmakhalaGame Reserve is the relative openness of the veld and being able to scan vast areas from some elevated vantage point. 

We had one such sighting of elephant unconcernedly feeding in a valley below – they seemed oblivious to our presence. I find it such a privilege to be able to peep into a window of their lives, with in no way intruding.

Then there were more giraffe, some kudu, waterbuck, hartebeest, gemsbok, an ostrich or two and even some rhino. 

I would recommend a three night stay as a minimum – this to be able to get to see most of what  the Amakhala Game Reserve has to offer and that really is a comprehensive representation of the wildlife that historically occurred in the area. So there is quite an impressive array of the high profile animals to be found here,  lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and even leopard, although these large cats are rather elusive and are rarely seen. Cheetah have returned too and being diurnal, are a lot more easily found, they are not nearly as timid of man either.
On our early morning guided game drive we were fortunate to have a black-backed jackal pose for us as he enjoyed those first warming rays of sunlight, some warthog and birds too in that golden glow.

 the female black-backed jackal was a tad more shy

Bukela Lodges offers the discerning traveller, super luxurious accommodation, excellent service and sumptuous meals and all in one of the Eastern Cape’s finer wildlife destinations.

Photographs; Jeremy and Lana Williamson

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