Guest blog: Our visit to the HESC

HESC_KhulaCottage_Lounge_Jul14_1Khula’s cottage

With all the news and the buzz around about Gertjie, the orphaned rhino, as well as Dingle Dell and Lions Den, the brave poaching survivor rhinos, it was a perfect opportunity for African Synergy to visit the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) for our marketing meeting, and at the same time refresh our ‘palates’ with a taste of Khulas Cottage and Camp Jabulani.

It was our first overnight experience at Khulas Cottage, and we are extremely glad we did it. What a little delight in the bush! Set in the perimeters of the centre, this self-catering, solar-powered, eco-friendly gem surpassed all our expectations.

DSC_8974 (Medium)Sue Howells and Adine Roode

DSC_8981 (Medium)Anke Paterson at the boma

Our evening entailed a private Boma experience, hosted by our “chef-a-la-ranger”, the African bush-buzz and a homely bonfire, just for us! Plus, we got to spend some quality time with Adine Roode and her lovely kids, Lente and Zander.  Just as we thought we could not squeeze no more into our full tummies that evening, we were tempted with “smores” (a bonfire/Boma tradition of taking a biscuit, squishing a melted marshmallow in between, lathering a layer of melted chocolate and topping it with another biscuit). DELICIOUS! Tim Noakes would not be impressed!

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The accommodation at Khulas cottage was extremely clean, very comfortable and ever so cosy, offering 3 bedrooms, which is a perfect size for a family or a small group of friends to stay together and reconnect with one other and their surroundings.

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We woke up to a fireball of a sunrise, and as it rose our eyes caught something moving at the waterhole situated right in front of the cottage.  To our delight, we saw Lions Den and Dingle Dell coming for a morning drink! Just ahead of them was a beautiful and strong Sable Antelope. This was just the bush cherry on top, what a way to wake up.

It is unbelievable value staying at Khulas Cottage, for only R600 per person sharing per night (based on minimum of 4 persons) and you get such an authentic bush experience, and it is definitely a unique offering.  Plus you get entrance into HESC included. Double thumbs up!

HESC_KhulaCottage_Lounge_View_Jul14_13Gertjie

Finally! The time had come to meet the “VIR” (Very Important Rhino), Gertjie; we couldn’t contain ourselves any longer. Gertjie is an orphaned rhino that has found a home at the centre after being found next to his brutally murdered mother, in May this year. The Centre will, for the near future, be taking care of him, it is essential during his weaning period, which is approximately 2 years.  Karien, the assistant curator who has a special bond with the little big guy took him for a walk and a mud bath with us, and it is something we will never forget. Definitely the highlight of our year! It is impossible not to fall in love with his character and his spirit.

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New to the centre, is the “cheetah run”, whereby visitors who arrive early enough in the morning (approx. 8am), may get the opportunity to watch a cheetah in its optimal form, at full speed. But best they get their cameras ready, as the moment is gone, quite literally, in a flash! We realised just how fast they can go, and almost missed the pic.

Another new feature is the “Cat Walk’, a new boardwalk linking a cheetah enclosure to the heart of the centre, giving guests a closer look at the cheetahs, but still respecting these beautiful animals’ space. The guests we saw there really enjoyed that opportunity.

DSC_8824 (Medium)Anke and Adine 

What a wonderful place HESC is, our souls felt re-energised after our visit. Mrs Lente Roode, and Adine Roodes’ passion for wildlife is admirable, and we are humbled with every visit we take there.  Thank you for everything you do!

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