Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Samara Private Game Reserve, a return visit.(Part 1)

I love windmills!
Given half a chance I would probably have photographed
each and every one I encountered along the R75.
Needless to say that the 3 hour journey would then have 
become a 6 hour road trip...something that my wife would not have enjoyed.
So they became GPS way-points along this stretch of highway 
that runs from Port Elizabeth, through Jansenville, 
and onwards via the R63 to our final destination,
Samara Private Game Reserve.

The R75 that goes on forever...or seems to.
Unlike the main Provincial roads that connect major cities,
this straight road offers no respite for weary drivers along the way.

The exception being the only "major" town on the route, Jansenville.
You cannot really count Kirkwood, as that is 15km off this main road.
But be warned, check the fuel levels in your tank, 
as you do not want to be caught short.
This Peugot reminded me of a similar one that an aunt had back in the '60's.

From the R63 to Karoo Lodge lies 21km of  well maintained gravel road.
Not a stretch to set any land speed records, but more conducive to enjoying the scenery

An interesting sign...
"Noodhulp" is "first aid" in Afrikaans...
I can only assume that would be at the lodge

And finally...
Karoo Lodge comes into sight.
It was exactly a year to the day that I last paid this reserve a visit.
The staff were still all the same, and I was warmly welcomed back.
I suspect that their attitude is why the Lodge enjoys such a high rate of return guests.

The main reception area.
Here guests can check in and out.
Browse in the shop...or just chill on the veranda.

Look around while you wait to be taken to your room.
there are interesting art works on display

The main building has a wrap around verandah,
which means that all the rooms in this building have their own outdoor seating area.
There is stand alone accommodation that is situated a short walk away.

This was our "private" seating area that could be accessed from our spacious room

After our 3 hour drive from Port Elizabeth,
the bed did look most inviting.
But I wanted to share the property with my wife,
who was not with me on my previous visit.

A quick visit to freshen up...
The bathroom has both a bath AND a shower.

As a working travel writer,this corner became my "office".
Pity it faced the wall...however I did eventually re-arrange the furniture
in order for me to enjoy the view. 

A comfy chair to relax in.
There are no TV sets in the rooms,
but as far as I am concerned they are not required when you have great views.

And speaking of views...
The Sneeuberg Mountain Range almost surrounds the Lodge.
Looming large through the mist, they are a quiet presence that can be enjoyed.
no matter what the weather conditions are.

One of the wagons that did not complete the Great Trek from the Cape to Transvaal (Gauteng)?

Although the pool did look inviting,
the weather was not conducive to testing the waters.
It was cold and rainy for most of our stay.

Afternoon tea is sometimes served on this side of the main building.
Game drives depart from here as well.

This is the first wildlife that we spotted.
Somewhat slower than a Leopard tortoise,
they tend to make a hissing sound when you approach them.
Needless to say they are NOT carnivorous
and hence guests are not in danger of getting "attacked"

On the other hand...
Lie on the grass for any length of time and there is the likelihood
of having a close encounter of the Ant kind...

This is the review that my wife wrote on Trip advisor:
"Samara is very special. We stayed in the beautiful old farmhouse (Karoo Lodge) that has 4 spacious bedrooms and a wrap around veranda. Beautiful mountain views and scenery that is hauntingly beautiful. The vegetation is different from the other game reserves (such as Kruger Park, Madikwe etc). The game viewing is not typical of safaris, sometimes guests will need to drive all the way up to the top of the surrounding mountains to see herds of mountain zebra, gemsbok, wildebeest and so forth. Cheetah tracking was fun and its the luck of the draw that you come across these beautiful creatures. We found one on our 3rd day , thank to the perseverance of our ranger Jan.
Cheetah were last seen over 125 years ago and by reintroducing them, they seem to have flourished.
Samara is not recommended for those who want to see the BIG 5 , rather this is for seasoned safari travellers who have been there and done it, and just want a different experience. 
I just loved Samara.The staff are truly incredible warm and friendly . 

The food is simple and delicious, and it is truly a balm for the tired soul.
It is a 3 hour drive from Port Elizabeth and at least 3 nights is advised.
 I look forward to returning to see what else has been achieved. The land was bought 20 years ago and 11 farms taken down , and all the foreign vegetation and fences were removed.

The land was allowed to rest for 10 years for the natural vegetation to grow back . A definite must do for those who love nature and to see what can be given back to the land and the community" .
To find out more about what this property has to offer,
visit their website:

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