I had spent the previous night in the very adequate but totally basic campsite that hosted most of the runners at the Wildlands Three Cranes Challenge. That’s part of the experience – a ‘million star hotel’, if you like. But a race village has never been described as luxurious. The nearby Karkloof Safari Spa is a paragon of it.
After some 38km running trails in a rainy Karkloof, I was thoroughly excited about some rest and pampering. That said, the winding country road heading north of Maritzburg didn’t seem to add up with the tales I had heard about the hospitality at my destination. Tired tarmac gave way to dirt roads, but still not hint of the magnificence I had been promised. Then a left turn, and another, a welcoming guard house and the sight of the reception building. And I knew the stories were true.
The rich timber finishes, tastefully African decor and hearty welcome set a tone. If it hadn’t, my own personal guide in a Land Rover certainly would have. Kenny had my bags loaded in no time and we were rolling through the reserve that leads up the hill to the lodge. Where else does check-in include a game drive?
Rhino, zebra, nyala, warthog, buffalo and several bird species were all part of this delight, as you may have spotted in an earlier post. Arrival at the hilltop was suitably exceptional. I’ll tell you more about it later on, but for now, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.