The 4 things I enjoyed most about Dulini River Lodge
October 16, 2018
Okay, I definitely enjoyed more than four aspects of this amazing property but according to the experts a headline that says “the 7.8 parts I sort of liked” does not have the same appeal. Because I am determined to be relentless about this travel thing when the good people at Nicky Arthur PR invited me to visit Dulini River Lodge I said yes with a quickness. The lodge is on the Sabi Sands reserve, next to Kruger National Park. Getting there was a breeze thanks to Airlink who have direct flights from Cape Town to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport then another short flight to Ulusaba where we were picked up from the airstrip. Read on as I share the experiences that were the highlight of this trip.
1 The gorgeous food served around the clock
Blink twice if you’re not surprised that this is my first pick. In theory, one goes on safari to look at wildlife and commune with nature. Just like everywhere else food needs to happen at regular intervals. Dulini River Lodge has a wonderful team of chefs who not only produced the most delicious, Instagram ready dishes but came out to explain every meal to us in person. From sumptuous breakfasts to freshly grilled dinners served under the sky we ate like royalty.
2 The animals with their babies were super cute
Seeing animals in their natural habitat will always take first prize on safari. That will depend on several variables including season and migration patterns. We were so lucky because a lot of the game we spotted was with their young. I saw a leopard cub for the first time, the little hippo was chilling underwater and the baby elephant stuck close to its mother. We found the wild dogs at a watering hole close to sunset and the young ones were chasing each other and tumbling in the mud just like puppies. Clearly, we lucked out with the timing.
3 The staff are phenomenal
We were the last people to disembark and when we arrived at the airstrip there was a Dulini vehicle already waiting and a couple leaving. From the windows, we saw them hug the chap driving the vehicle. And again. Then another one, I counted five hugs between them. After we met Dyke, who was our tracker, I realised why people could not resist the urge to fling their arms around him. Justin the guide knew EVERYTHING from animals to birds and even astronomy. He showed me the stars that made up the Scorpio constellation and did not seem the least bit perturbed by our raucous laughter during game drives. Marissa made sure everything during our stay ran like clockwork and made that effortless hospitality look like the most natural thing. Ronnie Ronnie, no that’s not a typo, ensured all mealtimes ran smoothly, found spare phone chargers and provided insect repellent when it was most needed. I’m not a morning person but I’m going to say the 5am call I received from Sbu was the best wake up call I’ve ever had in my entire life. He greeted me by name, asked me how I slept. I really cant remember the rest of the conversation because it felt like that man was crooning in my ear and I was in danger of swooning. You’re getting the photo here, everyone was lovely.
4 Giving back is a real thing
If you have ever been on safari one of the constants other than magnificent beds draped in crisp white nets is CSI projects. Nothing gives the warm and fuzzies like kiddies at a feeding scheme or graceful ladies making beaded trinkets. The cynic in me was very pleased after chatting to Sue Garratt, one of the owners who was sharing her two passion projects. The first was a scheme that gave over 4000 schoolgirls reusable pads that would last them 5 years, the other is a digital-learning centre providing rural children and adults with access to anything they can learn online through tablets. This is in addition to the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust which is a joint initiative between all the lodges in the reserve and the community. I’m so fascinated by the community outreach projects that I’m planning to write a follow up article about it soon.