Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kololo

If anyone can direct me to a road anywhere in South Africa that is not currently undergoing major reconstruction? I will use it no matter where it might lead me.
The reason for the question is that when my wife and I recently visited Kololo in the Waterberg we first had to endure the “parking lot” that the N4 near Pretoria has become…but in the greater scheme of things, it was only a hiccup on what was a relatively uneventful drive.
Kololo, which was opened in 2005, is situated near the metropolis of Vaalwater. 
You don’t know where that is? 
Don’t feel bad, until my TomTom GPS guided me there, I did not know where it was either! 
(I have to say that Simon, the voice, is getting better at pronouncing Afrikaans names!)
Once you turn of the R33, you have to brave 29km’s of Bakkers Pass gravel road
 to get to the main gate. 
The road is in good condition, but I should imagine that during the rainy season
 it could be a problem.
On our arrival we were not met with the ubiquitous fruit drink and hot towel, but the friendly staff certainly made us more than welcome.


There are several types of accommodation on the property and our family chalet, 
which was set apart from the main camp and restaurant gave us a spectacular view of the Waterberg and a stunning sunset. 
This chalet was one of the largest that we have stayed in and almost rivaled our own home for size and number of rooms!

As we had arrived later than expected we barely had time to unpack before we had to head back to the restaurant and dinner. 
As it was already dark we had to save our exploring for the morning.
Over drinks we were introduced to Ton and Yvonne Jansen, the owners of the property and to hear what they have planned for this part of South Africa.
(Currently there are more chalets being built as well as an extension to the actual property)
It was a little colder than expected so dinner, consisting of kudu potjie 
and malva pudding with custard were served inside. 
Both were delicious and the portions were more than adequate. 
My wife’s inbuilt ‘coffee meter’ rated the coffee as the best she had had in along while.
Even though Kololo is in a malaria free area, our chalet was equipped with a mozzie net, and we both agreed that sleeping under it was very romantic!
Fresh air, a great dinner and the promise of an early morning game walk had us in bed early…




Kololo does not have the “Big 5”, but it does have several species of plains game and we were able to spend about 90 minutes before breakfast exploring the property on foot in the capable hands of our ranger. With around 300 bird species the property is paradise for twitchers.
The buffet breakfast was excellent and the appetite that we had built up during our walk was soon assuaged.

We discovered that the restaurant, which looks somewhat like a sailing ship, is set in an indigenous succulent and rock garden. The day was unseasonably cold, which was a welcome change from the excessive heat we had endured on a recent trip and after wandering around we decided to spend time reading in front of the fire in the lounge. The tea and coffee station was close at hand and my wife discovered a cache of biscuits to which she very quickly became addicted!
Before we left for our afternoon game drive, we were presented with the dinner menu and asked to make our selection, not an unusual occurrence in some of the more up market lodges we have stayed at.(my wife discovered you are allowed to change your mind and your order!)




By the end of our “Big 5” drive at the neighboring Welgevonden property it was only leopard that had eluded our binoculars and camera lenses. However the drive was spoilt by the constant and loud nattering of the other guests on the vehicle. We ended the drive with a cheetah sighting that made the drive special, in spite of the constant noise on board!
In today’s age of total electronic connectivity it was refreshing to find that at Kololo there is NO cell reception! There is an ADSL phone system should you need to make contact with the outside world and there is also Internet connectivity, which was pricey.
We ended off our stay with a game drive on Kololo and we were rewarded with a sighting of a day-old Zebra!
On our drive back home we decided to take a closer look at Vaalwater were there was not much to see. We did find a curio seller who had a carving that we liked, but all three ATM machines were offline, so for once we came home empty handed. We did find a curio shop on the outskirts of Nylstroom, unfortunately it is closed on a Sunday.
This area of South Africa seems to be relatively undiscovered and I hope that more locals will make the journey to this wonderful lodge.

Contact details:
Telephone/Fax: 014 7210920
Web-site: www.kololo.co.za

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