Shopping for the trip away
I took off one Friday to do all my shopping the morning before I was due to depart for my much-needed weekend getaway. My shopping list looked the same as it typically does when I prepare for my iKhaya LamaDube retreat – did I mention I’ve been visiting for over 7 years? Here’s my typical shopping list and meal plan for my usual 2-night getaway to iKhaya LamaDube with my partner:
|Day||Meal||Item to pack/buy|
We generally leave Johannesburg around 12PM to get to iKhaya LamaDube. This is ideal because it ensures that we arrive just before check-in time.
Once we arrive it’s time to unpack the groceries which survived a short hour and a half trip in the cooler, unpack our bags for the weekend and pour a gin and tonic.
I’ve stayed in all the units at iKhaya LamaDube except the more recently renovated Pool Cottage and Log Cottage. I’ve loved all my experiences at the lodge – especially the Safari Tent and the Log Cabins which offer 180 degree views of the horizon – nothing beats waking up with the sun to the sound of birds with a fresh cup of coffee and a good book in your hand! This time, however, I’ll be writing about my time spent in the Luxury Villa.
The unit was immaculate with absolutely everything we needed for our stay. The TripAdvisor reviews don’t lie – these guys have thought of everything! You can even bring your own beans for the coffee machine perfectly located on the kitchen island.
It was the middle of summer when we visited last and after a hot car ride to the lodge, nothing beats the experience of an outdoor shower to cool you down as the sun begins to set. The outdoor shower, in fact the entire unit, offers an incredible sense of privacy and tranquility so there’s no anxiety about wandering guests and the staff are extremely respectful of the space.
On the first night we settled in with a nice and easy braai. The Luxury Villa is equipped with a built-in fireplace which ensures no quality time is wasted running up and down to the braai area. As the food sizzled on the flames, a couple of giraffes made their way towards the drinking holes – an incredible sight as the sun sets. The evening was spent talking about how much we love ‘our iKhaya LamaDube home’ and how blissful a peaceful evening in the bush is.
The night ended in small talks and the sounds of the bush lulling me to sleep while I cosied up in the luxurious crisp bed linen and wonderful turndown.
Sleep in? No way! I urge you to wake up just before sunrise (ask Tienie and Gerd – your hosts roughly what time that is), make yourself a cup of coffee and sit out on the deck. Whether you’re in the Luxury Villa, Log Cabin, Log Cottage, Rondavel or even the Safari Tent, you’ll have this option and should make the most of it!
Take a moment to be 100% in the moment – listen to the chirping birds, the calls of the animals as they make their way back from their evening adventures and watch the bush awaken – just like you, with the sun.
If you’re an early bird – like me, you’ve probably been up before your getaway partner and it’s time to get breakfast going! Again… These guys have thought of everything. I was able to make a full English breakfast without getting frustrated about not having the right ‘tools’.
At 8/9am we headed out to explore the self-drive routes within the reserve. As of late, Tienie Graf has taken the most magnificent pictures of the surrounding wildlife which really sets the bar! Knowing this quality of wildlife is out there made the day’s adventure so much more exciting with plenty to look forward to!
Our self-drive bag was kitted with:
- A route map (ask at reception if you don’t receive one from the reserve entrance)
- Some snacks for the road
- A camera
- Bird book
- Animal book
- Lots of water
When you immerse yourself in the bush, it’s really easy to lose track of time – and quickly. After an eventful sight-seeing morning, however, it was time to head back for lunch! On the menu? Chicken rolls enjoyed by the pool with a couple of cold beers, a game or two of Scrabble all wrapped up in an afternoon nap!
It’s so easy to doze off for ages in the afternoon after the excitement of the morning but I sprung out of bed knowing that I had a potjie to prepare – a tradition I’ve kept up after all these years and countless visits to iKhaya. The trick, I’ve learnt is to try to cut up and prepare all your ingredients so that you can pop out for one last drive in the area to see if any predators have started making their nightly rounds – exciting!
When we got back from our drive, Phillip had dropped off a complimentary bag of firewood for the evening. I lit the fire and started to cook the potjie. This particular weekend was my partner’s birthday and a special table had been set for us in celebration.
I cooked the potjie, we opened some wine and enjoyed our last evening under the african sky – vividly lit up with a canopy of stars.
Our unit was cleaned earlier in the day while we were out so we enjoyed another luxury turndown.
It was overcast on our last morning so I made a cup of coffee and enjoyed the stillness of the morning in a (very large) bubble bath.
On our last morning at the villa, we decided to enjoy a bitter-sweet (literally) breakfast of pancakes with bacon and syrup as we stayed warm and cosy in the comfiest high quality bathrobes! We lounged around for a bit and enjoyed our few final conversations in the villa before checking out at 10am. There was food leftover from our braai and potjie so we left a little bit for the staff to enjoy to thank them for their service and hospitality.
The wonderful thing about the early check-out is that you get to enjoy a slow morning in your unit on your last day before handing in your keys and spending the rest of your day exploring more of the reserve! So although we said goodbye to iKhaya LamaDube, the getaway was far from over.
We enjoyed a slow drive around the reserve before heading back to Johannesburg at around 3pm. This gave us enough time to unpack the car and settle in for the evening before returning to the hustle and bustle of the city and as I lay my head down, I fell asleep wondering when my next trip to one of my most favourite places in South Africa would be again.