Leaving the Chitwa Chitwa behind us, we set off out of the Gowrie Gate and began our loop round the reserve to Newington Gate. Travelling by road is honestly one of the most fantastic ways to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside: journeying down bumpy, dusty tracks that seem to disappear far off into the horizon, we passed through village after village, friendly people waving us on our way.
Having passed a set of confusing road works, I mean this is Africa and they have their own way of doing things – but it works! We came to Newington Gate, another entrance to the Sabi Sands game reserve. These gates monitor who enters the reserves, where people are staying and making sure no one smuggles in any contraband – or takes any out for that matter. So, do not be surprised if the very friendly rangers ask to check your vehicle – it is ultimately to ensure your safety.
Not even one mile into the reserve we take a left along the fence line and arrive at Savanah Lodge. We were welcomed by Natasha one of the general managers. What a comfortable lodge and very warm and welcoming. The only problem is that it lies very close to the fence line of the reserve which borders a few of the local towns – although totally safe, you are able to hear the slight murmur of village life going on in the distance which slightly interrupts the noises of the African bush.
This camp is perfect for families and has a wonderful house that can house large families or groups of friends with the privacy of your own plunge pool and even your own cook and butler if required. This camp has a fantastic history literally on its doorstep – spoiler alert! – the lodge is still in possession of the dining carriage once used on the original train that ran from Mozambique to Pretoria, there is even 800 metres of the original track still visible. The dining carriage was confiscated in the 1970’s because it was smuggling ivory and the tradition went that whoever discovered the smuggling was able to keep whatever transport it was using to smuggle – hence how Savanah Lodge still have it in their possession – there are still the original tickets on skewers and the original menu with a main course of rump steak and beans.