By Charleen Clarke
It’s not often that one watches a live sex show after breakfast. But that is exactly what I am doing. Two mongooses are at it. They’re having a blast and my mate, Corinna, and I giggle like teenage girls.
We have just had a delectable breakfast at Mokuti Etosha Lodge, our “home” for two nights. We have already decided that we wish we could stay longer …
There are just so many great things about this place. Where do I start? First and foremost is the friendly welcome you get on arrival. Honestly, I felt as though I was visiting close friends – not arriving at a hotel and meeting strangers. I felt the need to hug all of the Mokuti staff members (but wisely abstained; they would have thought I was barking mad).
Then there is the location. If you want to visit Etosha, it’s utterly perfect – because the lodge is about 200 metres from the gate. Even if you don’t want to visit Etosha (although this would baffle the mind), the lodge is still a great place to visit. There are many animals that trawl through the property (we spotted the bonking mongoose, the cutest little squirrels that welcome scraps from your breakfast plate, lots of antelope and even warthog within the grounds of the lodge). There’s also a reptile park (if you’re into that sort of thing; I would rather watch bonking mongoose), an awesome spa (terrific massages, I’m told), a couple of swimming pools, a children’s playground, tennis courts, a pool and billiard room … oh, and should you have your own plane, the lodge also has its very own airstrip.
If you opt to remain at the lodge all day every day (and hey I’m not judging), you will eat and rest well. First the food. If you want gourmet or you’re into chefs with Michelin stars, go somewhere else. You do not get fancy, posh at Mokuti. Instead, you get the sort of stuff your mom or gran used to make. I l really enjoyed the grub, especially the casseroles at night. Oh, while I think of it, I have a tip. There are only a handful of tables outside the restaurant. We always booked one – because really? Why would one want to sit inside when one can sit outside and enjoy the glorious fresh air – and the company of aforementioned cute squirrels nogal?
Once you have gorged yourself on home-cooked food (well, that’s what it tastes like), a nap in the room could be in order. This too I can highly recommend, and not only because I am an addicted napper. I say this because the rooms are elegant and comfortable. My bed was great! I loved the peace and quiet … I could not hear a peep when I closed the door.
Many of the rooms have recently been refurbished; request one of those when you go. Corinna and I had luxury rooms, which had yet to be refurbed. They were nice but, en route to the restaurant one day, we peeked inside a standard room (there are 90 of them). Wow. They are great! You can see that everything is brand new … and it’s really tastefully done.
But now. Onto the real reason why Corinna and I went to the lodge: Etosha! We’re both bush fanatics. Especially Corinna. Whenever we go on our little jaunts, the crazy woman always tries to drag me out of bed at some ungodly hour to go into the bush. She normally fails – because my bed is my god. She failed at this time around too. In the mornings we ate, watched the animals and chilled. But then, in the afternoons, we explored Etosha!
We did this in two ways: with a professional guide and on our own. When we travelled into the park with our guide, Anna, we saw practically everything. When we went in on our own, we saw very little. So I think it does make sense to pay the N$720 or R720 per person fee (that includes park entrance fees, water and – in the morning – coffee/tea & rusks). Strangely, no alcoholic drinks are served during the sunset drive; you only get water. We missed a GnT or cold beer …
Still, we really did have a brilliant drive with Anna, who is knowledgeable and professional. The highlight was a long stop at a waterhole. Eight lionesses were lying next to the waterhole, their bellies nearly bursting. It was clear that they had recently fed – rather well (much like us). A whole entourage of animals made their way to the waterhole, saw the lionesses and stopped in their tracks. We could see that they were utterly desperate for water though, so they waited (we could see they were praying that the lionesses would leave). Suddenly a massive herd of elephants arrived (including some babies!) They chased the lionesses away. We could see the relief in the eyes of the other animals. I think they felt the same way about those ellies as I felt about the staff at Mokuti (they too wanted to hug them).
That night, after yet another gorgeous meal courtesy of the talented chefs and a wonderful bottle of South African wine, I lay in my four-poster bed. And I made a solemn promise to myself: I will be back.