A Stay At RockFig
After touching down at Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit – an easy one-hour flight from Joburg – there was no doubt we were in safari country. The short transfer to RockFig Safari Lodge segued into a mini game drive as we entered Timbavati, and in no time we’d spotted some antelope. Being greeted cheerily by the entire staff complement as we pulled up in front of the stone-and-thatch guest area lifted our spirits even further.
Our bags were whisked away as glasses of refreshing iced tea materialised in our hands, and we drank it gratefully as the lodge manager gave us a quick tour. Then it was a short walk along a succulent-lined path to our room, which had everything we could have wished for, including our favourite drinks in the minibar fridge.
After freshening up we discovered a light buffet awaiting us back on the pool deck. Too lazy even to swim, we simply idled around after lunch, enjoying the view.
The afternoon tea trolley appeared, along with our ranger, and soon we were leaving the lodge on a fully equipped safari vehicle. Time spent with elephants (and punctuated with a sundowner stop) had us surprisingly hungry again, so it was back to the lodge for dinner in the boma as stars rotated above us.
Our room had been...
… turned down for us the previous evening, and now the softest of knocks announced the arrival of the coffee tray. The light strengthened as we stood together on the verandah, becoming golden as we left on our game drive. Watching a leopard feed provided the prelude to our own bush breakfast, served under a spreading Jackalberry tree.
We were unable to resist the Bloody Marys, or the opportunity to walk back to the lodge with an armed guide and tracker. After the blood-pumping excitement of our adventure the cool air of our room washed over us, as did the azure waters of the pool when we took a post-lunch dip. While reading on the loungers we were delighted to be visited by monkeys, as well as a pair of zebras, quenching their thirst at the waterhole in front of us.
After dressing for dinner we found another poolside surprise: evidently a little bird had given away the secret of our anniversary! My partner pleaded ignorance of the private table for two and of the bubble bath, candles and Cape bubby waiting for us back at our room.
Beguiling aromas drew us...
… to the main area the next morning, where we found a breakfast spread fit for royalty. Happy for the chance to work off a little of the feast, we decided on a second bush walk, where we came across hyaenas squabbling over the remains of the leopard’s meal.
The summer temperatures proved no match for the ice-cream sandwiches that appeared at teatime, back at base, and prompted a discussion as to whether our tracker or the chef was the greater magician.
We were adjusting to the rhythms of safari, but when our afternoon game drive ended with a lantern-lit bush dinner cooked over a roaring fire we were simply blown away. Although seemingly decadent out here in the wilds, having a choice of South African wines wasn’t at all out of place at this veritable banquet.
Our final day...
… came all too soon, but there was time for one last pre-dawn cappuccino, after which we put our newly learnt tracking skills to the test on a short walk. My partner joked that although we couldn’t properly identify all the tracks we came across, we had no trouble tracking down an al fresco breakfast back at the lodge.
The farewell we received mirrored the warm welcome we’d had not so long ago – but happily now the smiling faces were no longer unfamiliar to us, but those of friends.