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Mar 13, 2016

The latest News & Events From Samara By African Travel Solutions “Another Day in the African Bush”

A Day in the African Bush

There’s nothing more wonderful than spending a whole day out in the bush, where the usual parameters of space and time become almost artificial. Last Saturday, we experienced one such day.

Setting off mid-morning, we left the comforts of the Manor behind and began our trek up Kondoa Mountain.  Almost as soon as we had left, dramatic clouds began rolling in from the north-east, creating beautiful patterns in the sky.

We drove at a leisurely pace towards Wolwekloof, taking in the sights and fragrant smells of the bush whilst a flock of Blue Cranes called their magical, eerie cry overhead. We normally see them in the winter months in groups of up to 200, but this summer they have congregated in little groups around the water points on the reserve. We have also been seeing dozens of Secretary Birds, stalking the veldt like sentries on duty with quills tucked behind their ears.

Once we had made it up the steep slopes and onto the mountain-top, a new world awaited us. Acre upon acre of sweet grasslands unfolded ahead, made even more dramatic by the ever-changing weather. We meandered across the plains, watching as Black Wildebeest cavorted and snorted, running around in circles to prove their fitness, as the stately Eland looked on.

Soon, we decided it was time for a drink. We found a spot overlooking the entire Western side of the reserve, all the way to Tanjiesberg, or ‘Tooth Mountain’.  Tendai, Samara’s Head Ranger, was quick to provide welcome refreshments – nothing tastes as good as a G&T in the bush!

Once our thirst had been quenched, and our eyes had taken in the spectacular view, we set off again, this time to Eagle Rock. Around a bend we came across two Cape Mountain Zebras sunbathing – what beautiful creatures! Many people tend to liken them to mules but to me they are far more refined in their appearance than their counterparts on the plains below.

Arriving at Eagle Rock, we were surprised to find Gemsbok dung right on the edge – it seems we are not the only ones to appreciate the view! After scanning the veld below for signs of animals, we took to the vehicle once more, tummies grumbling and excited for some lunch.

We found a picnic spot under a wild olive tree with views stretching for miles across the Plains of Camdeboo. What a treat. After a delicious meal of gourmet sandwiches, spicy lamb koftas and bean salad, followed by a decadent chocolate cake, we sat in the shade and contemplated such varied topics as the ongoing rhino poaching crisis and the Proteas’ cricketing prowess.

Fully sated, we clambered back into the vehicle and followed the track down the mountain. We passed through at least 3 distinct vegetation biomes, from plateau grassland on the mountain top, through valley bushveld on the thick mountain slopes, to the scrubby landscape typical of the Karoo.

We spotted a group of Giraffe from miles away, and continued to wind our way in their direction, finally finding them quenching their thirst at Tshkudu Dam, named after one of the Black Rhinos.
It being almost Valentine’s Day, some of the giraffe were in a playful mood… We decided to leave them to it, and drove on towards Paardekraal Dam, remarkably full compared to many other waterholes on the reserve.

It was here that we were privy to a most remarkable sighting – a herd of over 400 Eland, loosely divided into smaller groups including a nursery herd with this year’s and last year’s calves.  Everywhere we looked we saw eland – we were completely surrounded!  What a magical experience to stop the engine of the car and listen to the clip-clop of hundreds of hooves across the rocky terrain, and witness the clouds of dust rising behind them. And so we drove back to the Manor, tired, but happy.

Sibella’s Daughter – the next generation.

Samara Update.

February has been hot!  And happening!

We have averaged temperatures in the thirties and quite frequently onto the forties so our European and UK visitors who come to South Africa to escape the Northern Hemisphere February have been truly rewarded!  And for the  Karoo bush we have even been blessed with some much needed rain.

Both the Lodge and the Manor have been packed with guests  many of whom have chosen Samara as a destination to celebrate – some significant birthdays and some anniversaries.  Our staff love these special occasions and use them as an opportunity to show off their creative talents with romantic turndowns and table decorations.

The consistently good weather has also allowed for guests to enjoy our famous Kondoa picnics, bush dinners, boma dinners, al fresco lunches by the pool and dining under the stars.  The last with our old buffalo standing nearby in attendance.

So as we move on into March and towards Easter may we continue to enjoy the halcyon days of summer and hope for a bit more rain.

Karoo Three Fruit Marmalade

Home made preserves have always been a tradition in the Karoo with farmer’s wives not having access to supermarkets!  Citrus trees are renowned for needing lots of water but thankfully access to good underground water generally enabled the farm houses to have a few precious fruit trees and hence the wise housewives of the Karoo would preserve and bottle all the produce.


• 1 grapefruit
• 1 orange
• 2 lemons from the garden at Greentrees! (our vegetable garden)
• 2 quarts pure Karoo water
• 6 3/4 cups sugar


1. Scrub fruit, place in a large bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let stand 2 minutes, then drain. Remove peel in thin slices with a sharp knife and cut into strips (thickness to personal preference but we generally like the very thin strips), Tie peel in a piece of cheesecloth; set aside.

2. Chop remaining pith and fruit into small pieces. You can do this with a food processor, but do not puree.

3. Combine chopped fruit, cheesecloth bag, and water in a 4-quart stainless-steel pan. Cover, and simmer 1 1/2 hours over low heat, until reduced by almost half. Remove cheesecloth bag, and set aside.

4. Strain contents of pan, pressing to extract liquid. Discard solids, and return liquid to pan. Add sugar and dissolve over low heat. Bring to a boil. Add peel from cheesecloth, and simmer over medium heat, until mixture reaches 221 degrees on a candy thermometer or test on a saucer until it sets.

5. Pour into sterilized jars  and store the marmalade in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Great Reviews

Rupert & Antonia Cadbury– A magical stay, we feel very lucky to have seen the beautiful black rhinos so quickly! Thank you Samara we loved it and hope to visit again soon.

Judith & Nigel Lubbock– Samara was beautifully relaxing. The staff so attentive and helpful! We saw amazing wildlife thanks to Jan and his enthusiasm. Thank you everyone.

Clive & Linda Fletcher– We had a wonderful game drives especially of course the cheetah.

Livio, Leandro & Claudia– The best hotel in South Africa. Great food and wonderful staff. Safari with Jan was fantastic.

David Batzofin– What a wonderful and special space. The Eastern Cape might be the Cinderella of Tourism, But Samara Will put in on the Map. Thanks for everything.

Hugo & Francisca Kellet– What a wonderful time we had. Three days of rhino+ Cheetah on demand, delighted kids and far too much food. Thank you.

Contact Mel @ for more information or to book.
Warm Wishes Sarah Tompkins and The Samara Team
Category: Blog

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