If you are looking for an amazing adventure holiday - this is it!
Entabeni is a 12,000 hectare private game reserve with several different accomdation spots - we stayed at the Wildside Camp, which is located on the plains for 5 days, arriving on Christmas Day - and it was one of the best we've ever had!
The camp was small and delightful - accomodation is in a "tent", which actually is a wooden structure with tent walls. Comfortable bed, nice bathroom (but not much hot water - shower together!). Room was clean (if a bit buggy - to be expected as your in the bush!), and temp stayed comfortable with the ceiling fan running. You need to be escorted back to your tent at night by a ranger as the animals do stroll thru the camp - our first night there was a small herd of impala blocking our path... and we were told that they were less benign locals that occasionally stroll thru (read Lions...). There is a small pool in camp, a nice open air lounge & bar area, an open air "boma" - a fenced in area with a big open fire pit, cosy in the evenings - and a communal dining room. Also a teeny gift shop at reception and a children's program area I think (we didn't travel with small children, but we met several making rhino dung paper!)
Food was good - basic and hearty, with a fairly good selection. Dining is buffet style, and you sit with those in your guide's vehicle. I'm a picky eater, so I did struggle a couple of meals...
Enough of the general stuff - that's not why one comes to Entabeni; one comes for the safari experience, and oh boy what an experience! There's not enough room to share all of our amazing trip, so I'll just hit the highlights:
1. The guides - all wonderful, incredibly knowledgeable, and a very diverse group. Our guide - Banie -was absolutely the best!
2. The game drives - 2 a day; one at 6 am (which is not as bad as it sounds - we found ourselves up and ready to go every morning!) and the other at 4.30ish. Each lasted 2-3 hours and the time just flew by. Game drives are in what is basically a Land Cruiser pickup - so there's nothing between you and nature.
3. The animals: Lions and Giraffes and Hippos oh my! Saw the lions - very up close and personal - giraffe, zebra, rhinos (perhaps more personal than they would have liked, as they were maiting!), cape buffalo, baboons, hippo, wildebeast, impala, blessbock, kudu, warthogs, hartebeast, etc. Only things we missed were the elephants and leopard (we're going back to look for the elephant). It was truly awe inspiring seeing these animals in the wild...
4. The extras: Do them. Go on the horseback game rides - you'll see the animals in a totally different way, up very close. Take the helicopter tour - you'll never realize how HUGE the park is until you do. I surprised my husband with a helicopter picnic for our anniversary and it was the most magical experience ever! Go swim in the swimming hole...do it all! It's so worth it!
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this place - we cannot wait to bring our 16 year old son back next year...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled against the majestic cliffs of the Waterberg Mountain lies Wildside Safari Camp where you can experience the wild side of the bush. Stay close to nature in tented chalets on wooden decks. Traditional South African hospitality and superior cuisine await you in the informal dining and bar area extending to the boma. Here, in the warm atmosphere around the campfire, you will experience an African night at its best. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Wildside Camp Hotel Entabeni Game Reserve