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After a brief stay in Johannesburg, we caught a short flight to Skukuza Airport located in Kruger National Park. We were met by a charming local who explained that our safari camp was located just outside of Kruger in a private game reserve known as Sabi Sands. Our safari camp was Notten Bush Camp.

Notten is a luxury safari camp – one of the oldest, family run camps in South Africa. There are only 8 private suites – each boasting authentic African decor, king beds, verandas for wildlife viewing, indoor and outdoor showers as well as as air conditioning unit for comfort. Parafin lamps and candles create a romantic ambience in the evening.

View from the breakfast room.

Our particular suite was favoured by a troop of Vervet monkeys who scurried around, climbing on the roof and up the trees surrounding the veranda. Little thieves they were! I lost a bottle of shampoo to one particular curious little guy. Silly! Can’t eat that!

There are 3 thieves in this photo. Can you spot them?
Our veranda without the thieves!

Our morning wake up call happened at 4:45 am (you read that right). Just enough time to get dressed in the dark and grab a cup of joe before heading out at sunrise in our open landrover.

Our guide was a charming young South African named Riaan who had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the animals, birds, plants and was obviously passionate about the bush. Up front in a fold-down seat on the right bumper, the tracker sits, helping us to zero in on the game. Some of our most thrilling and unforgettable experiences on safari were with Riaan and I would highly recommend you ask for him by name if you go to Notten Bush Camp.

Riaan at the wheel with our tracker in front at Notten Bush Camp

A full breakfast/brunch was served in the main dining room upon getting back from morning safari. This included everything from fresh baked goods, fruit, eggs, meats, cereals, yoghurts and daily chef specials. In fact, if I had one criticism of this camp it would be that there was actually TOO MUCH food put on your table! Below is a typical brunch at Notten Camp.

Following brunch, you had an opportunity to do a walking safari with Riaan or take a nap, go for a swim, catch up on some reading, etc.

The afternoon safari started around 5 pm – just the time when the big cats were waking up and getting ready to do some hunting. We were lucky to see a pack of wild African Dogs as well as cheetahs, leopards and hyenas. The variety of wildlife here in Sabi Sands was excellent.

The food was quite delectable at Notten. In the evening, the guests would all gather around a communal long table to dine on a four-course feast by candlelight. Meals were accompanied by a great selection of beverages, wine, cocktails and spirits.

Our nightly dinner table

Some evenings we were outside around a beautiful bonfire. The atmosphere was friendly and there were lots of tales told by fellow guests about the highlights of their safaris that day. There were visitors from all over the planet and it was fun getting to hear about their African adventures thus far.

Outside dinner near the bonfire.

I would recommended 3 or 4 days at this amazing lodge.

For more information of Sabi Sands click here: SABI SANDS

Check out the Notten Bush Camp website to plan your safari!

Leopard with kill.
Leopard at sundown with his prize.

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