After sticking to the 20km/h speed limit restriction for the short drive down the main tarred road, leading through the Dinokeng Game Reserve, I turned off for the two-minute drive onto the dust road to Tshikwalo Lodge. When I pulled up at reception, I was met by the superfriendly reception staff and then made my way to the campsite. My campsite overlooked the volleyball court and the swimming pool, and was the perfect spot from which to view the rest of the campsite. After putting up my trailer tent and a quick unpack of my photographic gear and duffel bag, I finally connected up the power to the fridge, which had been supplied with the trailer tent, and then went for a much needed swim.
The main campsite at Tshikwalo has many large trees that offer ample shade for camping, caravans and motorhomes. The stands are large, ensuring that campers are not right on top of their neighbours, and all the camping stands are equipped with power points. The ablution facilities are excellent, offering great hot showers, clean tiled surfaces, hooks to hang things, stools in each shower, numerous basins and large mirrors. There are sinks outside the ablution buildings for washing cutlery and crockery, and bins for campers to dispose of their waste.
The sparkling pool offers welcome relief from the heat, and large umbrellas surrounding the pool protect swimmers from the sun. The lush green grass found at the camping stands, and around the entire pool area, makes this a little oasis. Tshikwalo Lodge is perfectly suited for families and groups who want to get out of the city and enjoy a true African adventure. The chalets are named after the various entrance gates to the Dinokeng Game Reserve – Ndlovu (elephant), Tau (lion), Ts’ukulu (rhino), Njathi (buffalo) and Yingwe (leopard).
There are five en suite, self-catering, two-sleeper chalets, each offering a private stoep and braai area, and all with views of the bush. The en suite ladies’ and gents’ dormitories offer seven bunk beds each, thus sleeping 14. The fullyfitted kitchen/dining hall, with a separate conference or games room, makes it an ideal venue for large groups. Weddings, conferences, birthdays, family gatherings, school groups, church groups and yearend functions are all welcome. The private family chalets are 2-bedroomed, 4-sleeper chalets, fully kitted out for self-catering.
There is a game-viewing tower that overlooks the waterhole, thus offering guests the opportunity to sip sundowners and take photographs while watching the resident game. Visitors can enjoy a braai at the central boma, where there is enough space for a good party with friends.
Later in the evening – after a scrumptious braai – I lay awake for awhile, being serenaded by the cacophony of crickets, before I realised that if I listened carefully, I could hear the low, guttural roars of distant lions between lulls in the insect conversation. I woke at about 05:30 the following morning, and was showered and dressed before the sun started to show its face above the Acacia thorn trees common to the area. By 08:30, my trailer tent had been packed up and I was ready to go. Tshikwalo Lodge certainly has a lot to offer visitors in the form of neatly-grassed stands, clean ablutions and a variety of activities for young and old. It’s the perfect oasis for holidaymakers.