You know when you’re told to “expect the unexpected”? Well that’s exactly what I’d like to recommend to all intrepid travelers considering Roam Private Game Reserve in the Karoo for their next great adventure.
From our early (and by early, I mean well before that bird even thought about catching the worm) start, right through until the bitter-sweet end, this trip was totally unexpectedly magical.
By 6am on Friday we were well on our way out of Cape Town, with a group of individuals in the travel industry who soon became friends in the travel industry. Our mini-bus shuttle seemed to be on auto-pilot as we got out onto the open roads, heading toward the unknown. The constant chitter-chatter between the group seemed to keep us occupied most of the way, and before we knew it the scenery had completely changed, and we were beginning to get excited!
After about 5 hours, we turned off into the reserve entrance, and tested the vehicle suspensions as we bobbed along on the ol’ Karoo dirt road to the Manor House, where the most beautiful view and a delicious lunch awaited. Dotted along the road were some friendly Springbok grazing away, totally undisturbed by our arrival.
Greeted by Don (the reserve manager and stand-in game guide) and his lovely wife Abigail (the incredible cook for the weekend, though usually Abbie heads up the admin department), we immediately felt welcome and right at home! We did a quick site inspection of the modern yet minimalistic Manor House; which is a free-standing self-catering house, with a large open-plan lounge/dining room/kitchen with all the necessary amenities, and the 3 large suites are beautifully decorated with simple, understated luxurious touches and linens. This would be the perfect spot for families and groups of friends alike, looking for complete tranquility and time to re-energize out in the vast-open Karoo. The Manor House is pet-friendly, because the main reserve which houses the Main Lodge is fenced off separately from the Manor House, to keep the 3 recently-introduced cheetah (and various other big game) from roaming outside of the 5000ha designated reserve. So those who aren’t ready to leave their fur-babies at home can rest assured and bring them along to join in the relaxing weekend away! The back garden is lush and spacious, and unless your fur-baby is an avid escapee, he/she will be perfectly safe and happy. Don recommends walking with dogs on a leash if you want to explore the reserve during your stay, to ensure the resident buck and other small animals don’t feel that they need to find a new home on the neighboring farms!
The pool at Manor House was so inviting, sparkling in the sunshine even on a cool winter’s day, and if it wasn’t so chilly, I think we might have jumped in for a quick swim! We were told that the end of March is the perfect time of the year to visit the reserve, after the rains but before the winter sets in – so for those that try the pool out during their end-of-March-getaway please let us know how warm the water is!
After our site-inspection and delicious lunch prepared by Abbie, we took our seats on the open game-drive vehicle (a sturdy ol’ Land-rover) and off we set, once again, on the next unexpected adventure!
We entered the main gate which separates the smaller reserve from the larger reserve, where the Main Lodge is situated, and immediately were blown away by the rolling hills, stark yet beautiful landscape, the plains-game going about their daily lives, and most importantly Don’s excellent driving whilst we inched down the side of the hill into the river-bed, which at this time of the year was completely empty, but home to lots of game, and before we knew it we’d come across an inquisitive heard of Cape Buffalo and a shy family of Giraffe.
On we drove, for about 45 minutes, right into the heart of the conservation reserve, and then arrived at the Lodge. A very understated U-shaped set of buildings from the outside, but once you step into the courtyard (a door separating the parking area to the courtyard to keep those inquisitive Buffalo from munching on the gorgeous green lawn by the pool) you can feast your eyes on a view that would never get old! The deck at the edge of the garden is the perfect spot to sit quietly and watch the game come for a drink at the watering hole just down below (with a delicious glass of Amarula in hand, obviously!)
There are 5 suites at the Lodge, 4 of which can be either doubles or twins, depending on the capacity of your family/group of friends, and each suite has a lovely shower and toilet en-suite, a dresser with a mirror (to ensure your safari gear looks good to go for all the game-drives to come!) and again, decor is understated, with simple luxury. There is 1 “Honeymoon Suite” which is bigger and more private – with a big bath tub, shower and toilet en-suite.