Our previous visit to Ithala was 7 years ago as newly weds, that time we stayed in a tent at a camp site and I have special memories of the experience. This time we stayed in a cottage at Ntshondwe resort.
Ithala Game Reserve is 75km from Vryheid in the battlefields area of Northern Natal. It hosts 4 of the big 5, the exclusion being Lion.
Our thatched self catered cottage was peaceful and secluded, surrounded by bush. The naughty vervet monkeys were a pest but Acacia loved them. One jumped into our car and pinched one of Fjord’s swimming armbands, he was most upset to see monkey at the top of a tree chewing on his armband which it must have been sorely disappointed after taking it to be a bag of crisps or something yummy. At night a bushbaby climbed onto our outside table looking for scraps, unfortunately I called to Cliff with such excitement that it ran off.
Normally I don’t want a TV intruding on a bush break but I was most grateful to have DSTV as an avid cricket fan I was able to watch T20 world cup games.
We went for a short walk to the top of a small hill and watched a troop of baboons on the opposite hill fighting and kicking up quite a spectacular din. Fjord and Cliff did a few longer walks which I could not do as we didn’t bring the hiking back pack for Acacia.
We self catered except for one buffet supper at the restaurant.
The children loved the swimming pool which has a lovely big shallow section for little ones. While I lay next to the pool taking in the peace and watching light and shadow play on rocks I resolved to try to make just 15 mins a day to do nothing but absorb my surroundings, it is so good for the soul to simply be. I’m not sure if I will do this but it is something to strive for.
We celebrated national braai day (heritage day) with a braai under a lovely Acacia tree at a nearby picnic spot.