Very recently the Endumeni area became the recipient of Nambiti Game Reserve. This 20 000 hectare of animal estate has almost every African animal in excess, including the big 5. The owner of Chalets on the Park reported the following to the local newspaper (Northern Natal Courier) after a recent safari to Nambiti.

NAMBITI – The Big Five has arrived

All the ingredients for a classic getaway spot were almost stumbled upon by 5 battlefield tour guides last week. The rest of a larger party failed to pitch up which only made the experience richer and more exclusive. Within 2 and a half hours at sundown the game drive had served up the most marvelous variety of animals in the Endumeni Battlefield backyard. Who ever thought that tales of often dry and vacant battlefields with dead men’s bones, rifles and spears could be complemented with a vibrant bush teaming with the most dangerous animals on earth. Well, someone definitely thought about it. As Bret the game guide said, “Almost the most astonishing evening of game sighting in my life.” It began with two lions eating their evening meal, elephant, 17 giraffe towering over us, 2 jackal, Kudu, Eland, Gemsbok, Impala, Hippos, a Rhinosaurus, Springbok, many Zebra and all with the Endumeni mountain and Helpmekaar in the background. However, this was only preparation for greater excitement that night. Soon the spotlight started dancing around the bush as we held our breath in anticipation of a stunning discovery. Two big cats crossed the beam of light – the sleek lines and spots of the cheetah.They were unafraid to keep our company for about 20 minutes as the video camera rolled. Yes, the unique peace was somewhat unexpected on this private Bush retreat of 20 000 acres where the lion and the springbok lie down together on the same stretch of soil. Where some would say that our appetites for the bush were more than satisfied, I would say mine was discovered and excited for more by our friends in the bush. This short and sharp adventure had affected the tourism tonic called adrenalin. Evan and I agreed that this was ‘the one that got away’ from the rest who did not arrive and I suppose we thought of the rest of the community that could at a time in the future also capture this experience in the bush.

A different kind of light went on in my mind that same night and focused on some darting thoughts. This was the missing link between the Battlefield and the Berg – THE BUSH. From being the weakest link it has a high potential of being the strongest link. Nambiti Conservancy is more or less the only Big Five game reserve south of Imfolozi in KZN and it does not offer an opportunity to catch malaria as at the Kruger Park. It also has the address ’60 km from Dundee’. The canvas for tourism is not only becoming huge, but is possibly moving quicker than we think. The skeptics that settled for a diminishing cake are about to eat their words or preferably join the tourism momentum of the future.

Jeremy Krone – Chalets on the Park