Avis car rental came in handy with their best-roads campaign.
It evaluated 10 roads using a scientific formula, calculating the radius of the bends, acceleration and the length of the straights.
Enjoying the sights, sounds and smells at Mathekenyane Hilltop.
We were loaned a 4×4 Toyota Fortuner, with all the creature comforts and nice trimmings.
The drive on the N4 was a breeze in the Fortuner.
We did two stops only – for coffee and a quick snack – as we had a game drive at three in the afternoon and we wanted to be fresh and well-rested for it.
In my matric year in 1995, our setwork was Jock of the Bushveld.
The book was published in 1907 and had an enthusiastic reception.
Nestled at the confluence of the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers at the southern tip of the Kruger Park, the presence of Fitzpatrick and his trusted dog, Jock, can be felt at every corner in this rustic luxurious lodge.
We were welcomed by two smiling staff members. One had a very interesting name, Carrot, which I preferred not to call out in case I burst out laughing.
The two offered us warm face towels to refresh after the long drive to the lodge.
We were then taken to our breathtaking thatched suite, which, veiled with lush trees and reed walls, offered us much-welcomed peace and quiet, not to mention privacy.
Each chalet leads onto a private deck with plunge pool and a Sala (an outdoor day bed), all with a spectacular view of the riverbed.
The river was dry but it is still a beautiful and relaxing sight to enjoy.
There are two game drives a day, one at 5am and an evening one, and about four all-inclusive meals a day.
We arrived just in time for lunch. We sat on the deck at the main lodge overlooking the riverbed.
Kudu and a few buck were strolling by and all you could hear was the chirping of birds.
30pm we all met in the main lodge again.
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We were introduced to our own personal ranger for the weekend.
After high tea, we all hopped on our truck and made sure we had our blankets for the chilly night drive.
We had a quick stop after a short drive for some wine and biltong while watching the sunset.
We saw a lot of elephant, rhino, buffalo, even a huge pack of hyenas taking advantage of the meal that a group of wild dogs had just killed.
We thought we had prepared enough but, boy, were we wrong.
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On the game drive.
We were presented with a birthday cake and a traditional song and dance. We joined in and sang along since they were singing Tsonga songs and my friend and I felt right at home.
After that freezing ordeal I did not even attempt the 5am game drive. We went back for round two of the Saturday game drive with our fingers crossed for a lion.
There were none out and about, but we did see a leopard. He was not interested in us as he seemed to be preoccupied with finding something for dinner and we looked like we were disturbing him.
On Sunday morning, we bid our farewell to Carrot and his colleagues with heavy hearts because the weekend went by so fast. But we had created beautiful memories of our 40th and I had relived my matric literature setwork, Jock of the Bushveld.
Transport was sponsored by Avis: www.avisbestroads.
For more information on the Lodge: www.