Dear Mpala Safaris
Just home from another fantastic week in your little Paradise. This was our third visit – fourth week in total.
Though we did hear from closest hand that we were to visit a very special place, we really didn’t know what to expect – even then we had a lot of expectations! But when we landed in Hoedspruit Airport and saw Baboons and Impala running along the plane before it even stopped – we realized at that time that this could turn out to be very exciting. And before hitting the 45-minutes ‘driveway’ to the Lodge, Giraffes, Buffalos and Olifants was already spotted! During that week we saw much more than we had ever dreamed of. If not in Kruger National Park, then just outside our Chalet or next to the pool. What ‘hit’ us the most was the people making that week unforgettable. Words like devoted, caring, committed, friendly and still discreetly is describing for all the staff at Mpala. Together with a true love for the surrounding nature, the Lodge really makes a week with you guys fantastic. You have a statement saying that ‘you come as guests and leave as friends’ – totally true 🙂
Our second stay lasted 2 weeks – having the pleasure of enjoying each week with two different Rangers. Two outstanding weeks and so very different – for us it is not only about seeing the most and big animals, it is also about the stories, the facts, the small ones, funny ones. And there is no doubt that Rangers employed at Mpala is ‘hand-picked’ – not that they all should be alike, but their enthusiasm and love for nature is second to none. No matter if it is an Olifant dump with ‘creeps’, a march of Matabele Ants, the size of an Ostrich brain, small or big birds like the ‘Curry Monster’ or how complicated a Lion family can be – the details is told in a way that makes the words much more interesting due to their dedication. At this stay, we ‘came as friends and left with much more’
Third visit just a few weeks ago confirms all the above. Some of the staff changes naturally along the years, but even then we still feel like being a part of the ‘Mpala family’ and this still goes for first-time visitors also. But the hug received by well-known dear people (they know who we mean) just emphasizes the statement ‘you come as friends and leave with much more’. Also this time we had great Game Drives, Kruger Trip with Lions and exciting activity just outside the Lodge. Spend many good hours with fellow guests in cars, at dinners, pool hours. And the last night in the cozy and beautiful Boma with farewell-dinner all together with Rangers, managers etc. is always hilarious – those guys and ladies can really entertain with jokes, stories and anecdotes. Though almost everyone was nervous for the fist-sized Read Roman Spider to show up again – it was a fantastic evening to end the week’s experiences.
This year a new word was invented by Gabi – a fellow guest we had the pleasure of spending the week with. Beside Big 5, Small 5, Shy 5 there now is a group called Dead 5! Tragic – but big laughs anyway in the Car 🙂 Tragic because the lack of rain this and past years has resulted in small amount of food for many of the animals, we saw a lot of dead animals. Terrible sights, but it is sadly a natural part of wild nature – Mpala is not a Zoo.
Being so close to wild nature is very different and exciting experience for us, compared to living back home. We have seen so much during these weeks – Big 5 if Leopard in the dark counts 🙂 Still missing the Cheetah, but hundreds of beautiful birds, big herds of Buffalo, Wildebeests and Olifants, Lions up close, lots of elegant Giraffes, Rhinos, Hippos, Hyena and much, much more. Biggest experiences are no doubt the Lions and the last gamedrive on a Saturday in 2014 in the Lodges backyard, where Zebra, Olifants, Giraffes, Buffalos, Wildebeest, Impala, Warthogs and Baboons was seen at the same place/same time – magnificent and unforgettable.
Mpala Lodge is a Luxury Lodge – without Tuxedos, extravagant behavior, golden water taps or anonymous staff. It is an exclusive designed place, cozy and ‘down to earth’ atmosphere caused by the fantastic staff with a kitchen staff creating the most delicious breakfast, lunch and dinners with local recipes, food and game meat. Also with possibility to stay private in the Chalets overlooking Olifants River or watching our favorite TV Show – ‘Bush TV’ – together with other guests on the Main House’s porch, perhaps with a glass of wine or G&T. Same program can be seen from the pool area J. Watching wildlife so close in this atmosphere is one of the main reasons why we have come back 2 times – and will be back again. Total relaxing with fantastic people and fantastic nature.
All the best and BIG hugs from Else and Flemming