The monkeys at our lodges are a source of entertainment for all guests, most of the time. The playful antics and family relations including scenes of both love and aggression are similar to those of us humans. It gets even more similar when naughty monkeys steal.
When our guests arrive at our lodges, they are advised by the hostesses to be careful with food items and to keep the doors and windows of their units closed to keep out the monkeys.
From time to time while guests are relaxing around the swimming pools, our staff hear a shriek of surprise/indignation when an item has been stolen. If it is a chocolate bar or packet of crisps, all our staff can do is wait for the stolen meal to be completed and collect the discarded wrapper so as to keep our grounds clean and tidy.
Sometimes it happens that a pair of expensive sunglasses or a cell phone are taken and then the “bomb squad” staff are called out en masse in an attempt to retrieve the stolen item without allowing too much time for the monkey to inflict damage.
Mentioning “bomb squad”, I think of the replacements in the Springbok rugby side that won the World Cup last Saturday night. It wasn’t pretty and the Springboks were extremely lucky to win by one point, for the third successive time. It has brought a welcome positive psyche to the nation that has suffered many problems related to corruption and theft. I hope the positivity lasts long enough to further improve relations between the differing population sections of our rainbow nation !
GAME VIEWING REPORTS FROM OUR GUIDES
Luke, Head Guide, sent the following report and photos :
A memorable bushwalk along the Olifants River
This month’s highlights are mainly from one particularly exciting bushwalk along the Olifants River. We left the vehicle and headed down towards the river on foot, discussing the tracks and signs left behind by the animals.
A herd of elephants had been in the area not long before we arrived, their dung was everywhere and fresh. The sound of hippos drew us towards the river, by this time they had all moved back into the water. Hippos leave the water at night searching for grass to graze, returning to the water before sunrise.
We viewed the hippos relaxing in the water, while a large Nile crocodile lay basking in the sun. It was time to make our way back towards the vehicle, a casual half an hour walk turned into an exhilarating experience.
The elephant dung we had found early was an important clue, the herd had not gone far. We walked towards the sound of breaking branches and the fresh smell of elephant dung.
At first, we could see one young bull, breaking branches of a marula tree. We used a pushed-over tree as cover, an incredible feeling being so close to these magnificent animals.
It turned out the young bull was only one of many elephants in the valley, the rest of the herd had spread themselves out across the valley.
We zigged and we zagged our way through multiple elephant encounters, changing our plans as we walked. As we arrived at the vehicle, we all realized how incredible it is to be on foot with these massive animals.
The lions showed up again on a sundowner drive, we had a wonderful view of the pride alongside the road. One of the females stood up and walked towards her fellow pride member, nuzzling up to her as she lay in the grass. A wonderful experience for my guests and me.
GEORGE sent the following:
QUINTON sent the following:
NADINE sent the following:
VICTOR sent the following:
RAYMOND sent the following:
ELIAS aka SMILEY sent the following:
ANDY sent the following:
The lion and the dogs were spotted on the Orpen road between the boom gate and the reception.
Buffalo herd at the waterhole on the S12 as well as on the H7 after Phelwana bridge from Orpen direction, Lions on a giraffe kill on the S41.
All of these sightings were experienced in the Kruger.
ROCKY has recently qualified as a Nature Guide. Congratulations! You are certainly a great credit to Viva Safaris.
NEWS FROM OUR LODGES
We were pleased to host Rob and Linda de Marco from the USA once again. They have always assisted and supported the Acornhoek Catholic Church. We appreciate their efforts before Covid, during the trying times of Covid and now again. We were pleased to upgrade these good people to Katekani Lodge.
Father Chico is back as parish priest and is very grateful for the upgrades done at the church.
CHARL has sent the following report and photos :
The month has been a quieter month at Katekani with a few guest through the doors. Giving us a chance to get stuck in with some maintenance work that we couldn’t get to while we where so busy. Like painting out the floors in the kitchen as well as putting a fresh coat of paint on the kitchen walls the staff also received new uniforms both Mandla and Margaret where very excited to receive their new uniforms. Even trying them on immediately one they received them.
The big thatching job is finally finished just in time for the first heavy rains. The job was started by our teams of thatchers a few months back and we have completely topped the roof and put on a new ridge. The staff are all very happy with their new uniforms as seen in the pictures Ronny and Pieters two of our thatchers in their new overalls and work boots. The plan is now to hopefully paint out the main building giving the camp a new look. The usual nyala lamb has already fallen and is quite comfortable hiding in the corner of the building like they do ever-year. An amazing experience for our guests getting to see the Nyalas in and out of the camp daily they never disappoint.
NYARAI has sent her report and photos :
The month of October or as we used to call it in school the Jacaranda month is filled with so much beauty from all the flowers in bloom. The Jacaranda tree with its vibrant purple flowers stands out the most for me. It works on my allergies a bit but for the scenery most people are willing to endure. I feel I can really get back into bird watching hobby again. I don’t have to go far the Tremisana gardens get the job done.
I was away in break at the beginning of the month and I really missed home. Since I came back most of the days have been filled with confusing weather. In one day I have experienced all seasons. As I write this it’s cold and very windy outside yet yesterday we were in the pool because the temperature was close to 40 degrees Celsius. Essentials to pack for your safari must really include a swimsuit, sunscreen lotion as well as a warm jacket. You will need all of them.
Animal sightings around the lodge have been great as usual. From the usual hyena, elephants and the forever present impala. Our resident hippo at Tremisana Dam. My interest has really been taken by the pack of mongoose around and within the lodge grounds. The cutest ‘mob’ I know. My interest in them took me to a very interesting 1894 short story by Rudyard Kipling about Rikki Tikki Tavi in which a titular mongoose saves a human family from villainous cobras. Talk about bravery. This really could be an interesting read by the pool side after the bushwalk maybe with the mob running around in the garden.
I must say time is moving fast. We only have two months left before the year comes to an end. Tremisana has been busy as usual and the next two months will be the same hopefully. A special thank you goes out to the agents and clients that continue to support us. We have had many return guests and it is always a pleasure to make long lasting friendships.
Until next month stay safe and take care
NEWS FOR OUR TRAVEL PARTNERS
Viva Safaris has had another pleasing month in terms of guest arrivals. We are aware that there is always place for improvement and I am pleased that our management team of Luke, Charl, Nyarai and Quinton always give of their very best. I have nicknamed Charl “The Bankruptor” as he never fails to send a request that involves expenditure for some improvement. As I told him over 10 years ago, when he was doing his very first practical with Viva Safaris as a first year student at the Durban Hotel School, “if it is a necessity, it will be bought; if a luxury, we shall think about it”. Charl is a real star – keep up the good work !
One of the necessary expenses has been on our vehicles. We are fortunate in having Ricus, our talented mechanic. Not only are our vehicles in much better mechanical shape, but they are all looking a lot better than before. New canvas, new painting and better controls have resulted in our fleet experiencing no breakdowns for the past few months. Another necessary expense was the acquisition of a new Toyota Quantum for transfers.
Marco, our brilliant Webmaster, has selected the following reviews posted this month :
Incredible safari, amazing sightings and brilliant guides!
adamparsons13, London UK
Viva Safaris delivered an unforgettable safari experience! We did the 6 day safari, staying at Tremisana Lodge and loved every moment.
The game viewing was amazing, with Elephants, Lions, Giraffe and many more visible on drives from the lodge. We always expected to see a lot on the days in Kruger proper, but were pleasantly surprised that the drives on Balule were just as good (possibly even better). The bush walk down to the Olifants River was a real highlight, with plenty of wildlife to see on foot.
Our guides were incredibly knowledgeable and fun, especially Luke, Nadine, Smiley, Rocky and Victor. We stayed an extra day to include the rehabilitation centre in our trip, which was well worth doing. It was incredible to get up close to lots of birds and predators and the centre is clearly very focussed on conservation and re-releasing animals back in to the wild.
The rooms at Tremisana were nice and clean and we were well catered for as vegetarians.
Overall, the most amazing safari experience!
Brilliant Safari – Highly Recommended
Richard Heeringa, New Zealand
This was a thoroughly enjoyable safari tour and lived up to all expectations. I have to say that the staff were great. Very welcoming, knowledgeable, approachable, and friendly, and all with a sense of humour; all of which made it easy to relax and enjoy the surroundings. The accommodation wasn’t luxurious, but who cares – I didn’t go on safari for the accommodation. The daily “load-shedding” power outages were quirky, but not overly inconvenient (and beyond the control of the Lodge). It was a privilege to see the animals that we did – from the elephants that greeted us as soon as we entered the park, to rhinos, lions, buffalo, giraffes etc. etc. Did I mention elephants? Plenty of those amazing creatures – one of which almost joined us in the dining room on the last night.
The whole 6 days was extremely well organised from first contact with Patti, and special thanks to Rai and Tuney for keeping things on track (not easy with customers coming in with different length tours – anywhere from 2-7 days – and requirements).
The guides/drivers were great – I’m still not sure how Andy spotted that pride of lions 200m off the road and snoozing in the shade. I should also mention Smiley, (King) George, and Nadine (seeing that group of 6 lions on the move was unforgettable). I also enjoyed Rocky’s explanations and knowledge on our early morning bush walk.
And last but not least many thanks to Mama Dee and her team for keeping us more than well fed throughout.
H B, Dubai
Excellent service. This is my first safari and I did the 4 day, 3 night tour at Tremisana lodge and saw lions eating a buffalo at night, Cheatah from a far, 2 rhinos, and alot of giraffes, zebras and even a family of elephants. An unforgettable experience.
The team of tour guides, cooks, and of course people managing the lodge were all kind, inviting and helpful.
Special thank you to Tuney, Nadine, Smiley, Lucky, King George, Victor, George and other managers on site.
Can’t forget the ladies that cooked, every dinner was tasty and you can tell they made it with love.
R Jacob Gilbert, USA
Where can I begin?
First off, once we arrived at camp, we were greeted by the friendliest person on the planet in Tuney. She went out of her way to make sure every guest of the camp had an incredible experience. She was very knowledgeable, helpful, friendly, and just a genuinely awesome person to be around.
The Safari itself was awesome. We saw the Big Five. The guides were also awesome and very friendly (cross your fingers and hope you get “Smiley”/“Hakuna Matata”).
The camp itself was very nice and just what you’d want to have an authentic safari adventure. The food is good. The drinks are reasonably priced.
I cannot thank Viva Safaris enough for a truly magical three day adventure. I plan to visit again.
Greatest 4 Days Ever
My stay was Tremisana was absolutely perfect.
From the food to the staff to all the wildlife we saw, I don’t have one negative thing to say.
As a female solo traveler I was hesitant to book this trip but I’m so glad I did.
I was picked up and dropped off right from my hotel/airport, always felt safe. I met so many great people along the way.
Only negative thing is I wish I stayed longer than the 4 day safari!
This was my first time on safari. Because of that I did not know much about what to expect. I wanted to experience a little bit of everything. Naturally, I decided to rely on experts – tour organizers. I found some info on the internet about the 4 -day Tremisana lodge/Marc’s tent safari. Lodging option included a combination of solid wall lodge and tent accommodations, which I wanted to try.
The tour operator appeared to be Viva Safaris. From the very beginning I did not have any issues with the company. All my questions were answered the same day via email by Patricia, who made all organizational issues resolved quickly and efficiently. The safari itself matched my expectations.
Our guides managed to show us almost everything we could hope for. And we had a chance to see wildlife in different light conditions – we had morning, day, and night game drives, we had bush walks.
One night in a tent was especially memorable – it was a windy rainy night full of sounds. It was hard to sleep while howling hyenas roamed 200 feet away from my tent, or monkeys went crazy around my tent. But that was my choice, I cannot blame organizers for sleepless night. The company can tailor accommodations according to your preferences.
After all, it was a great experience, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Four unforgettable nights
We spent four nights in tented camp, and it was the closest to nature experience in my life. Nyalas, buffaloes, monkeys, genet cat… and many other creatures, surrounding us. That was great! And that cosy boma fire… And cooking of Mamma T and Mamma Conny… Thank you for your hospitality! Simon, thanks for your stories, they were really interesting and useful!
Truly recommend this place to nature loving people – you won’t be disappointed!
Until next month,
With kind regards,