6 March 2012
The first two months of 2012 have been pure bliss for an eclectic mix of international guests at Ngoma Safari Lodge – Africa Albida Tourism’s (AAT) showpiece eight-suite lodge at Chobe, Botswana.
It’s a period usually deemed to be out of the awe-inspiring prime season and yet many have thrilled to close encounters of the natural kind in one of Africa’s most famous and prolific national parks, featuring the largest wild elephant herds on earth.
Near the end of February three Canadian and four British guests were in camp and Jan McDonald and Dave Kings wrote: “It was pure sunshine from our first step into Ngoma. The landscape takes your breath away; no words can describe its natural beauty. Our elephant visitors throughout the night will make for some interesting dinner conversations back in Canada. Truly a highlight of our lives and we feel so privileged to be a part of this great adventure.”
During one 4 x 4 safari they encountered a lion kill on the side of the road and went to local weavers to purchase baskets. Their comments concluded with words of praise for Ngoma Chef Paddington: “I love a man who can cook and Paddy created such masterpieces. We enjoyed each and every meal.”
Three Americans were equally transfixed, Julia Monaco writing in the guest book: “This has been the best part of our trip. Everyone here is so kind and caring – thank you it’s been the perfect trip. I can’t wait to come back next year. Charles Monaco chipped in: “My favourite part was when Synack took us into the park and we must have seen at least 200 elephants.”
Then nine guests arrived in camp – four Portuguese, two British and three Canadians, with Daniella and Jose Sousa attesting: “We had the most amazing time. Service was outstanding. Shume, the game ranger, went out of his way to satisfy every single request we had and we shall recommend Ngoma to all our friends.” Abundant birdlife and spectacular sunsets captured their attention as outstanding features.
Zimbabweans Billy and Priscilla Dally “loved the rooms, excellent food and great staff.” They were startled by the “amazing view” and enjoyed seeing a new-born elephant “that was still staggering and fuzzy.”
One January night just one South African couple, Pam and Asha Mouhan, enjoyed the rare experience of exclusive use of Ngoma and wrote: “A truly African experience, what an awesome place, so tranquil for relaxation!! We enjoyed every moment and the Ngoma team’s kindness and hospitality will be highly recommended.”
On another occasion in January a Dutch guest was so charmed by the African wilderness that he proposed to his girlfriend while on safari in the Chobe National Park. Ten guests that night, from Holland and Italy, lifted a glass of wine to wish the couple well.
Ngoma general management couple, Gert and Doreen Prinsloo, also get their share of excitement at the lodge. One night a herd of more than 50 elephants ambled through camp, right up to the lodges and, said Doreen: “The guests were so scared we had to post our security guards outside their room.”
Doreen reported that during January and February “various huge herds of elephants and other animals passed through camp. At around 03h00 on morning I could not sleep and as I got to my lounge I was greeted by a large male giraffe just standing looking into our house. I sat there for 20 minutes looking at him grazing on a tree about 2m away from me. How awesome, even for someone who lives here every day.”