Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ndaka Safari Lodge, Nambiti Private Game Reserve – by Jeremy Williamson

The Ndaka Safari Lodge in the Nambiti Private Game Reserve, just outside of Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal is a gem in the making. The Nambiti Game Reserve was farmland which was bought up and consolidated into what is now an 10,000 ha Big Five Malaria free Game Reserve, that produces some really good game viewing with its rich diversity of species.

At Ndaka Safari Lodge the original farmhouse had been converted into a modest 6 bedroomed game Lodge, “Nambiti Falls”. Mark and Tracey visited the Nambiti Game Reserve, fell in love with it and started on the journey which has culminated in Ndaka Safari Lodge in the making. With the change in name, came many changes, with their dream being the creation of a super, child friendly luxury tented Safari Lodge in the Nambiti Private Game Reserve. Children of all ages are welcome at Ndaka and will be allowed on the guided game drives there. This has started!

The first six of the individually decorated luxury tents are up. With panoramic views over an extensive plain and some hills beyond, Ndaka has a rather wonderful outlook that regularly has animals passing by. When we were there, we had a lone bull elephant come and inspect the integrity of the electric fence which surrounds the Lodge. The fence held, the elephant departed, allowing guests to continue enjoying the freedom of roaming the Lodge grounds.

Lana and I recently spent some time at Ndaka Safari Lodge and were rather impressed with their tents. These are not the conventional Safari tents one is accustomed to, here we have the main bedroom and what is tantamount to a separate Lounge in a double adjoining tent.

Leading off the bedroom is a brick and roofed structure housing the backdrop to the bed and the sides of this section,

an entrance foyer, a cupboard and then a luxurious bathroom which has a private loo,

a large bath and an even larger shower,

then there is a door leading out to an outside private shower with a view,

in fact the entire siting of these tents and design is about the view, the lounge, bedroom, bath, indoor shower, outdoor shower all have this magnificent outlook.

The view from the bed is enhanced as the doors leading out are large windowed panes of glass vs the mosquito netted other openings. The netting can be rolled up but we found that not necessary. Imagine waking up to this from your bed!

or step outside and look south

The tented camp is presently serviced by the old infrastructure, waiting on the construction of two family tents and the main lodge facility. Once these are completed the logic of the location of the new structures all falls into place, as that new complex would then be more closely integrated, with the farmhouse and its facilities more distant and becoming rather excellent staff quarters. Presently guests may take advantage of booking the luxury tents, or the less costly lodge bedrooms.
The public rooms comprise a lounge, dining room,

a lapa leading onto a fire pit area as well as a dining deck with a view over the plains, 

with a swimming pool on the sunny side.

In the lapa there is a rather space age hot drink producing machine – from a variety of teas, chocolate, a couple of coffees and probably a variety of concoctions, this wizard answers to a press of a button, rather handy, it made me an excellent cappuccino without complaint.

On visiting Ndaka one needs be aware of the two variations in standard between the new and the old, this however hardly detracted from the good service, food, and what we are all here for, the wildlife experience.

Ndaka is located close to the Memorial Gate in the Nambiti Game Reserve which affords easy access to Ndaka Lodge on arrival, one parks ones transport at a covered parking area and your guide will collect you there and transfer you to Ndaka Lodge. Well located to easily access all roads in the Nambiti Game Reserve.
Arriving at mid-day, we were collected by our host / guide and shown around the Lodge facilities and to our very comfortable abode for the duration our stay. Lunch in the lapa,

time to sort our cameras etc for the afternoon guided game drive and we were off.
Lana and I have visited the Nambiti Game Reserve on numerous occasions and each time we generally have excellent game viewing experiences, this was to be no exception. 

Four of the Big Five in one game drive and seeing these high profile animals so closely, these along with the so many other animals that proliferate here. Then there is the birdlife 

Greater double-collard Sunbird

Grey Heron

and of course the flowers.

Verbena aritigera Fine-leaved Verbena from South America

There is much to be done at Ndaka Safari Lodge and Mark and Tracey have some really wonderful ideas. These folk have already created an amazing venue, that is luxurious, functional with super food and friendly experienced staff. The facilities and staff make for a very family friendly venue. The lounge area in the 2 bed Safari tents can comfortably house an extra bed or two, making these units suitable for families with younger children.

The Lodge is presently able to accommodate 24 guests in their current range of accommodation types. Presently the 6 Safari tents then there are 3 double bedrooms each with private bathrooms en suite in the main lodge. Two of these rooms could be utilised as an adjoining family suite. Then there are three suites in an annexe.

With adequate vehicles and guides Ndaka Lodge and the Nambiti Game Reserve should provide an excellent wildlife experience.

All photographs taken by Jeremy and Lana Williamson

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