Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Notten's Bush Camp - Sabi Sand

On the 21st Taryn and I drove back to Durban from Thanda Private Game Lodge, where I met up with Tracey and we flew out to KMIA/Nelspruit airport and drove into the Sabi Sand Game Reserve (the drive from KMIA to Notten’s was about 2 hrs) - 11/2 hrs paved road and the last 30 mins on dirt track inside the Reserve.

Notten’s Bush Camp is really a great tribute to the original safari days - I liken it a bit to the East Africa camps and lodges, but with a very South African flair. The grounds and rooms are lit by candlelight and lantern (IMPORTANT: no electricity in the rooms other than ceiling fan, all candles and kerosene lanterns). I really
enjoyed the feel of this camp - it really retains the feeling of being family owned and owner-operated. It’s very family-friendly with 2 family suites and a big pool. The camp overlooks a beautiful grassland where we saw buffalo and impala, not to mention watched an amazing, nearly full moon rise. Public areas are nicely decorated and there are special spots to enjoy like a tree-top viewing deck and a cozy fire-lit library. They do have a small spa with two treatment rooms and a plunge pool. The 8 rooms are done up in cool colors and fresh white with polished concrete floors (keeping things cool in summer) and spacious en suite bathrooms with sunken outdoor showers. Each has a private verandah and sitting area.

The food was excellent and service friendly and helpful. Dinner was served, once again by candle light, in the outdoor boma. Dale, one of the Notten's family, cooked delicious steak on the braai and it was served with a smattering of veggies, salads and hot off the grill potatoes! After dinner everyone hung out by the fire and sipped Amarula before turning in for the evening. Our room was glowing with candles and lanterns when we returned and the staff member made sure to tell us not to venture out of our room at night (hyenas are regularly on the prowl! This is the bush, after all)!

The game drive at Notten's was impressive - an excellent sighting of a pride of 8
lions on our morning game drive. The camp's game is reliably top-notch as it is part of the Sabi Sand Reserve and guiding is also quite good - the original local tracker’s family is still actively guiding and involved in the property. I really can’t say enough about Notten’s. It felt very personal and classic. For travelers looking for a more adventurous and authentic bush experience, this is the place. Families with children age 6 and up are welcomed and the owner’s young children are often on site swimming in the pool, too. Everything about this camp is welcoming, relaxed and authentic - the Kusini Collection and New Frontiers highly recommend Notten's Bush Camp!

Photos by Lyndsay Harshman

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