Our tour guide was Isaac. He picked us up from Stellenbosch at around 7.30 am. The ticket we purchased was supposed to cover breakfast for us but I’m not sure whether Isaac knew about that. We said we ate from our hotel already ( so glad we did!) but he wanted to stop for a quick bite. This took about ½ hour which could have been avoided. He did get us 2 English teas though. The second stop he made at a local curio shop was a bathroom stop which we didn’t need but then I decided to go in anyway. We ended up buying a lot of stuff to take home. There seemed to be a commission system for bringing in tourists at the shop and honestly that’s fine. We stopped at a couple of scenic spots to take some pics and Isaac happily clicked some pics of us which was very nice of him. We arrived at Buffelsdrift Lodge pretty late in the afternoon at around 1.30 pm. We had a rushed lunch (that took forever to arrive but was superb when it finally did ) and quickly got ready for our afternoon bush ride. We were rushing so only had time to drop our stuff at the tent we would stay that night. The ride was about a 45 min one and even though this was a private ride we seemed to have another couple join us. We were told by Isaac that the booking is private (ie. the drive to and from) but the bush rides weren’t. That didn’t seem to happen to the other couple in the car next to us. Theirs was ‘private’ all the way. The young lady who was our guide was knowledgeable and kept us informed and entertained all the way. She was a very skilled driver too. There was not a huge amount of animals to see here- giraffes, springboks, kudus, zebras, water bucks, etc. The drinks on the scenic look out point top was amazing though. Our guide informed us about the Karoo vegetation around us.
Coming back to our tent later that afternoon - our tent was large, very clean and had everything one would need. The shower was outside connected to the beautiful bathroom. Remember to take a shower before the weather goes cool and colder on the evenings. Otherwise there is a stand alone bathtub in the bathroom too but there’s no heating there. There is heating in the room though that works like a charm, heated blankets and lots of additional blankets are also provided if needed. On the evening while we were away someone came and gave us some ‘goodnight’ candy in our pillows which was sweet although I’m not sure whether I like the idea of not being able to lock the room from outside or having a key to do so. We were told the area is safe and there is a safe in the room in case we needed to store valuables. I would still have liked the option of a room lock- just saying. Other than that, there are no complaints about the room. The toiletries provided was adequate. There was even bath salts near the bathtub and a room freshener for the bathroom! (Hotels in the US need some lessons! )
Our package included dinner that evening and breakfast the next day. We came back and had a good dinner at the restaurant. The food was very well prepared and the service was excellent. The dusk scene with all the bird sounds was simply amazing. The eland and the deers in the early morning grazing around added to the natural beauty of the place. We also purchased the Walking & Feeding the Elephants in the morning. This was an absolutely fabulous experience. I recommend it 100%. The three orphaned elephants Bolero, Jabari and Malaika were gentle giants and apart from walking with them and feeding them, we got lots of hugs and cuddles from them too. Our guides on this activity were very good. The breakfast after we came back was good too but nothing could surpass the experience we had with the elephants. We drove next to Mossel Bay to Oudtshoorn and Botlierskop. This was a much bigger operation. The space was a lot more expansive with electric gates protecting the animals from presumably poachers. On that game drive we saw the Big Five. After the hippos, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, springboks and ostrich, we were nearly giving up on seeing a lion. Then we saw two lionesses- so majestic and beautiful. Our guide Mandela was lovely and had a great sense of humor. This was a trip well worth it. I would recommend it 100%. Throughout the entire trip we felt safe and would do it again in a heartbeat. PS. Planning to go to Cape Town again next year :-)
Note: Bring your own water. None was provided.