An African adventure is filled with a myriad of wonders – people, wildlife, food – landscapes which stretch to the horizon. It ticks a variety of boxes – adventure, history, culture, and for some, the chase of adrenaline. The geography is rugged, wild and untamed, vast areas of seemingly endless space and beauty. Each moment feels enveloped – sounds of sunrise, animal action by day, and in the evening… stars. Billions of stars.
A recent guest experience at Elephant’s Eye, Hwange, had our Golden Safari Circuit competition winners opting to sleep at ‘The Eye’ – our star bed built in the middle of the bush. A stilted wooden structure, raised high above the ground gives the ambience of sleeping in your own personal treehouse – at one with nature.
Being from Johannesburg, Ronald and Storm already have Africa running through their veins. However, one simply never gets enough – especially of its wild spaces. Those of African origin seek to immerse, connect and explore as often as possible, finding any opportunity and excuse to disappear into the bush. Having entered and subsequently won our competition – Ronald and Storm packed their bags and flew into Victoria Falls at their first free moment – ready to soak up the wilderness!
The Golden Safari Circuit is a combination of three of our properties in Southern Africa, Elephant’s Eye, Hwange, Nantwich and Camp Kazuma, Chobe; satisfying cultural, experiential and conservation-based encounters. Each property emanates its own unique character, founded on the ideals of highlighting distinct qualities of the different areas. This 9 day itinerary was crafted with connection at its core. Absorbing the energy from the mighty Victoria Falls, exploring Chobe National Park and wildlife encounters in Hwange; a truly encapsulating an African excursion.
Elephant’s Eye, Hwange is a boutique eco-lodge on the border of Hwange National Park, situated on its own private concession. It’s 8 tented rooms are designed to blend into nature, raised on stilts and camouflaged in the trees. One already feels part of the surroundings, sharing space with a pair of cranes living at the waterhole, moving around the camp to the sound of the weaver birds nesting above the kitchen as well as the occasional large herd of elephants which come to drink from the pool. However, in true Hideaways style, we like to go the extra mile and offer a fully wild experience by spending a night in our star-bed.
‘The Eye’ is 3 km away from the main lodge, situated next to a waterhole on a busy wildlife corridor. Nestled in the trees and raised for safety, you have a birds eye view over the pan, quietly and respectfully observing the animal action. Having enjoyed your activities for the day and dinner at the lodge, the Eye awaits to show you the wonders of the pure African night. En route to their overnight stay, filled with delicious food and nervous anticipation, the guests already had their first sighting; hyena. To see a predator moments before sleeping on an open deck is quite the welcome to an outdoor evening!
Greeted on arrival by a gorgeous ‘room’ set up with mosquito nets, champagne and an explosion of stars, the guests quickly forgot any fears and settled into the experience. With zero light pollution, the stars seemingly envelope the night – the definition of off the grid allure. Between being mesmerised by the sky and the delicate sounds of the night, intervals of louder noises enter the stage. A large herd of elephants graced the pan with their presence early in the evening, only to return at two o’clock in the morning for another drink! The couple woke up to their low and gentle rumblings, made a cup of tea and shared their pre-dawn hours with the herd!
Amidst the elements while amidst the elephants is a simply sensational safari experience. Savouring the milky way beneath and infinitely dazzling sky is truly where nature meets magic. These are the ultimate ingredients for a starry eyed romance – the couple leaving more in love with the bush than ever! Engulfed by the night with ancient constellations above with elephants leaving footprints deep in the mud makes for an unforgettable evening, embedded in memory.