As I sit here trying to find the words to explain Mabula, I look up from my laptop to a striking face of an Nyala while the sun rises on my cheek and the wind gently flows trough my newly formed bush curls. It may not seem like your generic idea of paradise, but to me this is as good as it gets.
We arrived at Mabula last week Thursday to a cozy home right at the end of the lodge called Modjadji – this meaning ‘Queen of Rain’. As most first days go it was a matter of unpacking, feeding the masses and getting an early night.
My first day started slow, with some hot water lemon and our newly found animal friends – a family of warthogs and a wise old Hornbill I proudly named Zazu. We basically found ourselves living with The Lion King creatures every day! #LivingMyBestLife
Once I had spoken to the animals and enjoyed the view I headed up to the tennis court for a quick 10 minute Candibod #ProjectBodback workout. To keep the fitness side of this blog post short – those who follow me on Instagram @candibod will know that I have committed to sticking through my workouts while being on holiday.
Now back to the important stuff.
MY VERY FIRST GAME DRIVE! Sho, I cant really explain how incredible it was to be meters away from these animals; and to be honest I’m not going to try – so here are a few photos I captured on 4 of the game drives at Mabula.
*Tips for game drives:
I highly recommend the sunrise game drive
Don’t forget your binoculars
It may seem warm – but ALWAYS bring a jacket or blanket
Don’t drink tones of water before hand – toilets are a rare commodity in the wild, unless you are happy to improvise with a bush
Bring some light snacks, sometimes they go on longer than expected
Where a hat – your face gets crazy burnt, even by the wind
Settle for #PjSheek aka pajamas – as comfort is key
After each game drive my partner and I found ourselves at one of the four swimming pools, to wash off the dust and soak up some much needed vitamin D! Each swimming area was magnificent; however the pools at Sunrise lodge has a view that will leave you breathless.
If you are looking for some snazzy cocktails and a bite to eat, then head to the main lodge. Everything you need is also located here – spa treatments, restaurant, a small café with essentials and a bar in the middle of the pool – yes please!
Another experience to not miss at the Modjadji lodge is their Monday night braai. Now don’t shrug it off, as something you do at home – this is THE braai of ALL braai’s.
The preparation starts from sunrise where broken trees are built into a magnificent fire pit to burn throughout the day. At 6pm you can head up with your meat and veg, where you’re allocated a braai pit around the fire.
While getting your master chef on, a local mama is brewing a massive pot of traditional pup that looks like magic potion as she churns it with your gigantic wooden spoon. This is also a great opportunity to connect with community and enjoy a night under the stars.
Apart from the game drives and pap potion, we were fortunate to experience something magical – a lion drive!
Now this is NOTHING like a game drive; firstly you are 4×4’ing over bushes like an elephant – I felt like a kid being in a car for the first time, so much fun! You’re also the only vehicle in the reserve, so there is no rushing from a sighting where you might loose the perfect shot.
The journey starts with first having to track the lions, this takes some time – so don’t loose hope! While tracking the location of the lions you’ll also get to see some of the big five A LOT closer than if you were on a normal game drive.
While enjoying the bush bashing and big five sighting, we had suddenly found the tribe of lions – oh man, what a sight.
You think it would be similar to seeing a big cat and that’s it, but their nature makes everything stand still in awe. I managed to capture some incredible shots – my favorite being two of the males playing with the new cub of the tribe.
So I sit here on my second last day of the trip just allowing myself this view and these words to create some kind of justification of its beauty. I cant seem to grasp how I am going to leave you Mabula, but one thing is for sure – you will always have a piece of my heart.