IT WAS only when she said Lolla, the lazy- looking cheetah next to us, could move from 0 to 90km/h in three seconds that I realised the foolishness of my being too scared to move an inch closer to her.
Whether I was one or two steps nearer didn't matter. The fact is I was in an enclosure with one the most cunning hunters in the African wild and although she is "tamed" , I was completely at her mercy.
Daniell Cheetah Breeding farm, about half an hour from Uitenhage on the quiet and scenic R75 was the perfect spot to whet our appetite for a good safari weekend. After a juicy cheese burger lunch and an enlightening wild cat lesson from animal keeper Maxie van Wyk, it was off to our destination: Two Waters Safaris lodge.
Nestled at the mouth of the small Kleinpoort town, just a little more than an hour from Port Elizabeth, this family-run home away from home is arguably one of the most welcoming we've been to. Be warned: they are feeders. As soon as we walk in and exchange greetings, co-owner Sheryl Seady quickly pours us ice cold drinks so we can cool down from the scorching 30°C Saturday afternoon sun. And then her husband, Brian, takes us on a tour of the lodge.
This stunning African- themed, seven en-suite bedroom lodge is the perfect weekend getaway for couples, a family or group of friends looking for doable adventures and beautiful surroundings.
It also has a cottage with two en-suite rooms, all with modern decor and a hint of Africa. As soon as we settle in, it's already time for our afternoon game drive.
We jump onto Brian's 4x4 and drive into the wild. No matter how many times you have seen it before, there is nothing like watching springbok, kudus, warthogs and giraffes stride across hectares and hectares of shrubby farm land to remind you of just how spectacular our continent is. On the back of the 4x4, we enjoyed chatting with farm manager, Ruben, as he shared with us his exceptional knowledge of the wildlife around us. "Check out the wildebeest," he says to which my husband, Lifa, chirps in: "black ones hey?"
"No actually those are blue ones, black ones have a white tail," our expert tells us. They both burst out laughing. As soon as we slouch on the couch to watch rugby next to the fire- place after wrapping up the game drive, the nibbling starts. Nuts, homemade biltong, crisps, all washed down with a 2011 bottle of Raka Quinary. "We're having steaks tonight guys, venison," Brian says.
He starts the grill and within minutes calls us to join the rest of the family at the braai area. The venison was superb. A thick cut, grilled perfectly on the outside with a juicy pink centre and topped with a creamy mushroom sauce.
The lodge also offers pork belly, sausages, salad and fresh roosterbrood. (I told you they are feeders). As the night progresses, I realise that nothing says South African like sitting around a table enjoying a good braai and a flowing conversation about anything from Julius Malema to taxi drivers.
As we drove away the next day, I thought perhaps we should do this more often, (wallet permitting of course).
Our province has so many beautiful, hidden treasures. You just need to explore.
How to get there
TWO Waters Safaris lodge is about 110km from Port Elizabeth and 90km from Uitenhage.
Take the R75 road to Graaff-Reinet, turn right into Kleinpoort and the driveway to the lodge is the first on your left.
CONTACT: Brian and Sheryl Seady (041)365-1169.Brian 082-570-6111; Sheryl 082-498-587.
NEARBY PLACES: Loubser lion breeding farm – 20 minutesDaniell cheetah breeding farm – 25 minutesAddo Elephant Park – 1 hour Valley of Desolation – 1hr 20min Also available for off-road fundis: Day trip by 4x4 over the Cockscomb mountain range.