Hillnek Safari Lodge – Amakhala Game Reserve – Eastern Cape – South Africa
Being particularly spoilt when it comes to fantastic getaway’s – although I am often thrilled with accommodation I book – it isn’t often that I am completely blown away. However just 70km outside of Port Elizabeth in the Malaria Free Amakhala Game Reserve lies a little piece of heaven called Hillsnek Safari’s. On arrival we were met by the Manager, Warren which was a welcomed surprise and a very familiar face from the past. We were immediately taken to meet our Game Ranger, James the other lovely guests Freda, Delia & Alan and we were whisked off on our afternoon game drive. Game drives are conducted in an 8 seater OPEN Landrover 4 X 4 vehicle. Game drives in open vehicles gives you the whole experience of being in the bush especially if you are bird lovers and of course you are more exposed to all the elements – a little more authentic! Just as we were getting used to the smells and sounds of being back in the bush James took the landi off-road to an open plain and there sat two very contented male cheetah. With full bellies these two very healthy looking specimens were enjoying the warmth of the day’s last rays of sun which made the lighting spectacular.
Other game viewing activities include Bush Walks and Boat Cruises. Amakhala Game Reserve not only has the big 5 but also plenty plains game and bird species and although very impressive it was the diverse landscapes that made the biggest impressions. Large open plains led into woody Acacia bush that led up to God’s Window – a picturesque view of the reserve with the Bushmans River meandering into the distance. As the sun was setting we stopped to watch the sky turn crimson offered a drink which for me was the inevitable G&T and served some yummy snacks! When we arrived back at the camp we were greeted with warm hand towels, a roaring fire and very welcome mug of Gluvine.
The lodge is tucked away in a corner of the reserve with panoramic views of Amakhala . The intimate lodge is beautiful – built around a pool with a huge deck, an outside seated area, lounge, bar and dining room all very tastefully decorated by the owners – Brent & Chantelle.
The camp consists of 3 huge tented rooms. All rooms are very secluded and join to the main lodge on raised wooden walkways with individual wrap around verandahs. One of the rooms is a Family tent which consists of two adjoining rooms and accommodates a family of 4. All tents have King sized beds, en-suite bathrooms with double basins, huge baths and a rustic outside showers (for the brave in winter!).
Dinner was another 5 star affair and they cater for all dietary requirement.
After a great night sleep we were awakened to coffee in bed and our call for our morning game drive. The air was very crisp outside which you would never have known in bed with your hot blanket keeping you warm all night. As we embarked on our morning drive each with our own hot water bottle and a very warm poncho the excitement is always in the air to find out what secrets the bush is prepared to share with you that day. Of course we were treated to sightings of Waterbuck, black Wildebeest, red Hartebeest, Oryx, Eland and Elephant. The most enjoyable for us was watching a journey of about 20 Giraffe acting awkward as they always do but just enjoying life in the reserve.
Heading toward camp after our 3 hour game drive we saw the Buffs about 20 meters away from the lodge. The whole experience was ended by a delicious “bush” breakfast of your choice. I will not hesitate to recommend Hillsnek to all future clients as everything about the lodge was 5 star including the friendly staff. When supporting this lodge you are not only being treated to an experience but the good work that the owners Chantelle and Brent do for the Rhino is incredible. They started up Chimpembere Rhino Foundation in 2010 which is a privately run, non-profit organization committed to assisting in the protection and conservation of Africa’s rhino.
A big Thank You to the Chantelle and Brent for having us!
Winter Special is a pay for 2 stay for 3 night for R5,960 per person sharing fully inclusive which I can confirm is great value for money.
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