When I found out that I was going to ring in 2017 in the middle of the African bush, I was ecstatic. Africa was a place that had been on my bucket list for years, and I couldn't believe that not only was I finally going to be able to tick it off my list, but I'd be spending the holidays with my entire family as well.
After spending Christmas in Zimbabwe, we opted to head to South Africa for a safari adventure. We stayed at two different lodges, which is what they recommend when going on safari as it'll increase your chance of seeing different kinds of animals. The second lodge we stayed in during our trip was the Narina Lodge, which is within the Lion Sands Game Reserve. Styled like a luxury treehouse, the Narina Lodge is made up of nine private suites all connected by raised wooden walkways.
My sister Mariel is my constant roomie. We had a great time in our beautiful suite. The staff would even leave a blackboard with a personal note for us everyday when we came back from our safari.
In between game drives (we had one in the morning and one in the afternoon), we enjoyed laying out on the sun beds as each suite had its own private pool (which we never swam in though because bugs and branches tended to get in there first) and deck. It was hard to close your eyes and take a nap because at any minute, you could see an animal walking by!
The bathroom was actually another place to where you could go animal watching. I actually spotted a hippo walking by the bathroom window one morning!
The entire lodge follows the theme of wide open spaces to allow guests to get as close as possible to the natural surroundings.
Despite the fact that it was a rather quiet New Year's Eve (fireworks are a major no-no with so many wild animals nearby), the lodge made sure that it was a memorable one for us. They told us to get back into the safari vehicles after our afternoon drive and soon we were driving in the dark and had no clue where we were heading.
Suddenly, we heard drums beating and light coming from some torches in the middle of the bush.
We had a wonderful feast of local delights like kudu and ostrich skewers, and our guide Ishmail joined us as well.
Apparently,t he surprises weren't over yet! The next morning, on New Year's Day, in the middle of our morning drive, Ishmail asked us if we wanted to go down to take a look at an eagle's nest that they had found. We jumped off and went under some trees to look, but alas, there was no eagle, but instead, the lodge's staff had set up camp by the riverbank and treated us to a surprise breakfast of crepes, pancakes, bellinis and bloody mary's!
We even had a guest joining us from afar!
Going on a safari is an amazing experience in itself, but spending the day under the hot African sun or the sudden rain during the wet season can take its toll on you. So if you'd like to be able to enjoy your safari with the knowledge that you'll get to return after a big day out to a comfortable and luxurious abode, then make sure to check out the Narina Lodge at the Lion Sands Game Reserve.