November of 2019 was one of those travel moments for us that we will carry in memory for the rest of our lives. It was a time where, to be completely honest, the stoke for life on the road was dwindling. We had been chasing light and location for more than a year straight and we were beyond exhausted, ready for a bit of permanence and routine. We caught a flight out of Cairo toward the end of the month bound for South Africa, a country that we know and love, for what would become the most amazing safari experience that we could have ever had... one that would reignite the flame to keep us chasing the next shot.
Mhondoro Safari Lodge and Villas is a property of dreams. It is settled in the Waterberg District of Limpopo in a pristine reserve where the focus of all associated safari lodges is the uttermost care and conservation of the animals they share with their visitors. This place is stunning… and that may be an understatement. The reserve is absolutely gorgeous and with minimal jeep roads running through it there are massive expanses of land set aside for animals to live a perfect life, protected from the heaps of poachers that attempt to ruin the African ecosystem through their greed and ignorance. The security provided here for the animals is impressive to say the least.
We believe that everyone dreams of experiencing a safari at some point in their life. It is hard not to, especially after watching a magical documentary about the wildebeest migration or even cartoons during childhood that feature these amazing animals as characters. The difficult thing about safaris is that, relative to other travel experiences, they aren’t cheap and even if you live in Europe the trip is hardly a quick one. If you are thinking of taking a safari in the future you HAVE to pick this place and we are going to tell you why.
Reason 1: Location
When most people think of safaris, without even knowing it, they are thinking of Kruger National Park. There is nothing wrong with this, don’t get me wrong here, but there are so many more options for safaris. Kruger is beautiful (never been but we know that it is) and it is enormous. You have an option here… large park with a lot of visitors or smaller, privately owned reserves with more curated experiences and far less crowds. We always prefer the more private experiences, not because we are fancy or anything like that, but because they are just more intimate and serene - plus we take a ton of photos all the time and that tends to annoy other people. Kruger offers self drives, which is pretty cool but here at Mhondoro that is unnecessary. The daily safaris are included in your rate and you have the option of taking private drives. I say let the professionals show you all the best spots to see the wildlife you are interested in so you can just sit back, relax and be ready with your camera to capture the beautiful moments unfold.
Reason 2: The Property
You just have to look this place up when you are done reading through this. It has pools, private villas, shared villas, and absolutely gorgeous common spaces. The food served here is outstanding and the drinks are equally tasty. They have a gym as well in the front of the lodge with floor to ceiling windows so you can see the wildlife roaming around while you try to work off last night’s cocktails. At Mhondoro you get the feeling of being on your own. You are just far enough away from everything that there is such little light pollution and you never hear cars driving by… no sounds aside from the animals that surround you.
Reason 3: The Staff
When a place has an amazing staff you just have to rave about it. Everyone that works at Mhondoro is absolutely incredible at what they do. The safari guides are legendary, the chef’s are masterminds, the bartenders are very knowledgeable, and the management team is hands on. They all seem to hold each other accountable for maintaining the standard they have there. We were extremely impressed with how this place is run. We have been to some gorgeous properties that we have not enjoyed because of staff - Mhondoro is not that way at all. The staff is perfect!
Reason 4: The Price
We can honestly tell you that you get your dollar’s worth here, no doubt about it. We have been to a few other properties for safaris and this one takes the cake. We know that safaris can be expensive and they can easily range from a few thousand to insane prices that only a small percentage of people can afford. Mhondoro does a great job keeping it fair and making sure that you get the experience you came for without breaking the bank. Look them up on their website to check their booking options!
Reason 5: The Animals
This is probably the most important reason for us in the election of this property as our absolute favorite. We saw EVERYTHING we wanted to see and more. Elephants roaming all over the place, rhinos WITH their horns (so amazing), giraffes, lions, lion cubs, a lion take down its prey, loads of birds, owls, hippos, zebras, buffalo, cheetahs and leopards… what more could you want?
This was a daily event for us as well. Two safaris a day yielded incredible close encounters and astonishing footage for us. All due to the high level of protection and conservation that Mhondoro works hard for, every single day.
Reason 6: The Elephant Pool
Ok, ok… maybe this is the selling point. Perhaps you have seen our video circulating around on Instagram and other various sites, the one of us in the pool with a bunch of elephants around it. If not, head to our page (@positravelty) to check it out. If you scroll down a bit you will find it. Anyway, the elephants come to the pool off and on, sometimes a couple times a day so they can get a drink of some clean, crisp and refreshing water. The pool is not treated in any way and is perfectly safe for them to drink - and they love it! The best part about it is that you can be in the pool while the wild elephants are stopping by for some refreshment! This happened multiple times while we were there and it was such an unbelievable experience.
If you haven’t added this to your itinerary yet, you need to. We have a large highlight reel on our Instagram page that has all our stories from the safari saved to it. Definitely check that out if you want to see all our close encounters and some BTS from our shoots on the reserve. If you have added it to the itinerary already, head over to @everseensa on Instagram for assistance with booking. They helped us organize our experience and we couldn't be any happier with the service that they provided.