Last weekend, we decided to do something quite unusual for us! We went camping…but before you feel awed by my adventuring spirit let me clarify a little bit. I found a safari lodge that has a luxury camping stand option. This comes with a fully equipped kitchen and a private bathroom. So, it was pretty much the ultimate definition of glamping – glamour camping!
This particular resort, Monateng Safari Lodge is a mere 35min from home, but during the drive I was amazed at how quickly a sprawling city turns into rural Africa! When we arrived, we were greeted by exceptionally friendly staff, who even gave the kids popcorn and juices while we sorted the paperwork. The caravan park, has staff on hand to help you erect the tent, and once that is done, the fun can begin!
I had seen pictures of the luxury stands on their website, but I must admit that this exceeded my expectations. The resort itself boasts a few swimming pools, jungle gyms and play areas for the children, trampolines, a games room, and an amazing superslide! For more details, check out their website. After the tent was set up, the kids naturally wanted to go swim immediately. Later that evening, after we had eaten, and prayed maghrib, we took a long walk around the area to see all of the facilities. We spent the rest of the evening, at our campsite, talking, telling jokes and just reconnecting.
Early the next morning, long before fajr, we were woken up by natures own alarm clocks. I’ve woken up to birdsong before, but never have I experienced it, the way I did that Saturday morning. It was a cacophony of different types of chirps, and squeaks and squabbles, and absolute song! It reminded me of the lyrics of a nasheed ‘…Just like the birds who feel the sun, and sing before the dawn has come, have faith, have faith…’ I can’t quite describe the emotions I felt that morning, as I performed my fajr salaah under the morning sky, with this soundtrack in the background.
Soon after breakfast, the skies got cloudy and rain threatened, and we quickly escaped to the games room at the main lodge area. This area is semi detached from the caravan park, and also boasts a putt putt course, a restaurant(not halaal unfortunately) and a viewing deck with the most amazing views. Oh, I’ve forgotten to mention that the resort also offers game drives, and if you’re patient enough, you can eventually see a giraffe gracefully walking amongst the foliage. Later, whilst the children enjoyed retro style arcade games, husband and I played table tennis!
Later that afternoon, the rain stopped and the sun was out again, and this time the kids wanted nothing more than to go on the superslide! You can buy a weekend pass, or opt to pay just R2-00 per slide. That was the option we chose because I wasn’t sure firstly if they would actually enjoy it, and secondly if the weather would hold out long enough for them to actually put the weekend pass to good use. Little Man thoroughly enjoyed this, and then Little Miss said she wanted to try as well. However because of a height restriction for safety, she had to be accompanied by an adult, but insisted it had to be both myself and her dad!!! We went once and it was enough for both of us, husband and Little Man however enjoyed it throughout the afternoon.
We returned to our tent just in time for Asr, and began preparing supper. Little Man had an exam on Monday, so this particular trip, was very ill timed, but he brought his books with, and studied in bits and pieces. I think though because he was so relaxed, he somehow managed to absorb more info…or so I hope…We’ll see when the results are out InShaAllah! And then once again, nature showed us her amazing beauty, with a most spectacular African highveld sunset, Subhanallah!
Early the next morning, we got a repeat performance by the stellar bird choir, and then spent almost 20 minutes watching a millipede make his way across the sandy rock and over a few small rocks before he disappeared into the bush. This day too was filled with as much fun and adventure and activity, and all too soon it was time to pack up and leave. Once again, the caravan park staff helped us to dismantle and take the tent down. Not only that but they washed it and packed it away for us too!
I know, I was very skeptical about the idea of luxury camping. Is it even considered camping at all with all these facilities available?
However, if the end result is a break away from routine, spending quality time with your family, making memories, and still reconnecting with nature, then surely it must count!