Did you know?
The ancient art of tracking is being revived at Samara, through its Tracker Academy.
Samara Private Game Reserve is in the Great Karoo – a somewhat unusual setting to have a bush lodge.
In some ways it resembles the customary savannahs further north. There are flat-topped trees, there is waving grass, there are antelope roaming the plains. In other ways it is utterly different.
Instead of lions, there are cheetahs – plenty of them. Instead of hyenas, there are bat-eared foxes and cheerful, scorpion-hunting meerkats. Instead of umbrella trees, there are spectacular white-barked shepherd’s trees. And you'd be unlucky not to see an aardvark.
Crush the narrow leaves of Karoo bushes in your fingers and you’ll smell something resembling rosemary, lavender, sage or thyme. These are the bushes the sheep eat in the Great Karoo, and the reason why this land used to be a series of sheep farms until it was bought by Sarah and Mark Tompkins, and rehabilitated.
It’s a semi-desert, but with high levels of biodiversity. There’s a whole different ecology here, and it’s fascinating to uncover. What is equally enthralling is the spaciousness of it all. You’ll be pampered, you’ll sleep in crisp, fine linen and eat the best food, but the greatest luxury lies in resting your eyes on far horizons and to have nothing to do except exactly what you want.
The rhythms are different here. If you’d like to go for a wander instead of a game drive, why not? If you see one of the old farmhouses that still dot the landscape while on a drive, why not explore it? You could spend hours taking macro photographs of succulents, or just sitting in a comfortable chair on the shaded verandah with a book, lifting your head occasionally to watch the mountains change colour.
The Karoo, as you’ll soon learn to appreciate, is a profoundly restful place.