At Ekuthuleni Lodge and Tshwene Lodge in the Welgevonden Game Reserve, we work hard to offer our guests the very best service every single day. This is all made possible by our wonderful team – including our General Managers, Esemeralde and Van – who always go the extra mile for our guests. We chatted to Es and Van about their top wildlife sightings to date and their tips for first-time safari goers.
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY in Welgevonden…
Guests will meet their guide at just after five in the morning for coffee or tea in the lounge area and head off on their game drive by about half past five.
We then meet with our chefs regarding the menus for the day; check-in with Head Office for last-minute arrivals and plan the daily logistics. Van and our maintenance team often then fix water pipes that may have been damaged by ellies during the night. The elephants love paying us a visit for some fresh water.
Breakfast is served between half past nine and ten, depending on game drive sightings. New arrivals will be met and welcomed at the Welgevonden Main Gate by their guide just after twelve. Arriving at the lodge, guests will be welcomed with a cool, fresh lemongrass facecloth and homemade ginger beer. We then check-in guests and complete a short briefing before lunch is served.
At four in the afternoon our evening game drive departs, arriving back at the lodge just before dinner is served, when we have the opportunity to hear the exciting stories of the day from our guests and guides.
WHAT’S THE ANIMAL YOU NEVER GET TIRED OF SPOTTING IN THE WILD?
Cheetah and ellies (especially when in the water)… and all the birds. We will never be able to choose just one.
TOP SAFARI MOMENTs TO DATE?
Watching wild dogs in the Serengeti hunt and kill impala, then fighting about the kill with a spotted hyena.
A canoe safari on the Zambezi River with elephants, hippo and crocs all around and spotting a leopard drinking water on the banks.
Here in Welgevonden, the majestic elephant bulls that come and visit our house, sometimes they even play with some of our little boy’s toys that have been left on the patio.
TOP THINGS TO PACK WHEN GOING ON SAFARI?
Camera and binoculars.
Very comfortable, neutral colour clothing, plus a hat and sunglasses.
Any chronic medication you’ll need. We hate seeing guests miss out on activities because of this.
RECOMMENDED READING FOR THOSE PLANNING A TRIP TO THE BUSH?
TOP TIP FOR SOMEONE GOING ON THEIR FIRST SAFARI?
We love welcoming guests who are visiting Africa for the first time. Their energy is just contagious and they have so much to look forward to. Most importantly, we always say – do not confuse Nat Geo Wild with real life. They show you five years worth of videos in 45 minutes! Every guide will do their best to give their guests the best sightings and show you everything they can in that moment. Enjoy every sighting whether it be big or small, a bird or an antelope, the Big 5 or Little 5. Plus, make 100% sure lodges know if you have any disabilities, dietary requirements and which animals you are most interested in seeing so that we can do our best to make it a memorable trip.