Have you ever dreamt about experiencing the African bush the way the likes of James Stevenson-Hamilton (the first warden of Sabi Nature Reserve, which under his watch was expanded and eventually became the Kruger National Park) and his contemporaries did in the early 20th century? I have. Oil lanterns, canvas and dapper men in khaki easily come to mind.
But then, giving it a bit more though, I have abandoned the idea thinking that there will be way too many inconveniences. Sure, there are some pretty fab looking khaki outfits available these days that would go perfectly with my g&t. But do you know what else goes with my g&t? Lots of ice and a couple of tasty canapés, preferably followed by a fine meal and a good bottle of wine. I don’t reckon that there was much of that available when good old James was in the bush. And then there is the small matter of a swimming pool, a decent shower and a comfy bed.
But I have found a place that lets you feel like an explorer in (stylish) khakis AND have all your creature comforts! Motswari Private Game Reserve, an unfenced camp deep in the Timbavati where nothing but lines on the map separates you from the mighty Kruger National Park (Timbavati dropped their fences with Kruger in the early 90ies). It is a “safari classic” all the way from the 15 beautifully decorated bungalows down to the stylish library and the oil lanterns lining the pathways. Ah, and there is a pool with possibly the best views in the land! At the same time, the feeling of being in the middle of wild Africa has not been lost. All rooms have exquisite views of the nearby river, and most central buildings are open to let the sounds and the smells of nature in. Since the camp is unfenced, wild animals are free to roam and especially at night you need the company of a ranger to walk to your room in case you cross the path of a lion or a buffalo. Now that is what I call a truly authentic bush experience!
But there is another, and perhaps more important, parallel with Mr Stevenson-Hamilton at Motswari. Just as Stevenson-Hamilton worked tirelessly to conserve the nature and wildlife in the reserve (he is widely accepted as the father of the Kruger National Park, together with President Kruger who first proclaimed the Sabi Nature Reserve in 1898), so has the Geiger family, who founded Motswari and gave the lodge its name – which means to conserve and protect, spent close to 40 years working to conserve the wildlife and environment. They are also ensuring a longterm legacy by employing local people at the lodge, and teaching them all there is to know about protecting and conserving this unique environment through providing a top-quality tourist experience.
Their dedication to both nature and people is evident in their Fair Trade Tourism and (Gold Class) Heritage Environmental Management Company certifications. As for the quality, I think that over 20 years in Portfolio Collection says it all!