We dropped Paula off at her second home (a.k.a her boy-friend Calvin's house in Empangeni) and set off on the last leg of our journey, arriving at Bushlands in the late afternoon.
Bushlands is made up of individual log-cabin style units. Our particular unit (No.6) was set right in the sand forest
The units are connected to one another and to the dining-room and reception area etc by raised board-walks.
Our room was very comfortable and the lodge was well laid out and pleasant, with a swimming pool, a bar area, a dining-room, deck and viewing deck, all easily accessible. There are walks mapped out through the reserve, which has no dangerous game on it, so is ideal for walking.
Meals are served in a central dining-room that, while not overly fancy, is quite atmospheric. The rate includes dinner and breakfast. We found the food really nice, with dinner including a starter, salads, and a choice of about 3 mains, vegetables and desserts. Breakfast consisted of a buffet with cereals, fruits, yoghurts and pastries and eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms,tomatoes etc available to order hot. The staff were all extremely friendly and eager to please.
A highlight for me was the bushbaby buffet that happens each night during dinner - there is a table outside the dining-room (i.e the Bushbaby Buffet) and one of the waiters would take a dish of fresh fruit out to the table, no sooner would the plate be put out and a greedy little bush baby would arrive to feast. Apparently there are normally 3-4 bush babies out there each night, but unfortunately we only saw the one little fella.
My only gripe with the lodge was the fact that we had issues with water supply to our unit on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. The lodge gets their water from a near-by river and it would seem that there have been some problems pumping the water from the filtration plant to the area that our unit was situated in. On Saturday the problem was resolved quite quickly after we alerted them to it, but Sunday's problem was more serious and we were eventually given the keys to another unit in order to use the bathroom facilities there.
All in all, we had a fantastic week-end. We saw lots of game at the lodge: giraffe (always my favourite) lots of different buck, Wildebeest, zebra and the cutest little croc who has a home at the reception area:
The "cherry on top" of the whole weekend was the visit to the nearby Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre. What an awesome experience! We were taken on a guided tour of the facility, during which we learnt lots about the various types of endangered wild cats and my absolute favourite part of the day: we got to stroke an adult cheetah. He was beautiful, he loved all the attention and purred away when he wasn't licking our arms (that bit nearly scared me to death!)
Please excuse the hectically bad hair.... it was hot 34 degrees C.....and really, my appearance was the last thing on my mind!
We really had a lovely week-end, that once again had me thanking my 21 year old self for having the sense to marry this man who I so enjoyed bonding with :-)