To view a video of a day in the life click here.
A typical day at Notten’s begins at dawn with a 05h30 wake up call. Guests gather either on the wooden deck to watch the sun rise or in the “boma”, under the Marula trees, where tea and coffee are served. Monkeys peer from the branches and watch one’s every move with intent curiosity.
After tea the guests are taken on an early morning game drive in the open Land Rover with an experienced game ranger and Shangaan tracker.
The game drive traverses the bush on the Notten’s land, following the spoor and scent of animals and avoiding trees which have been trampled by elephant, but sticking predominantly to the dirt roads that make their way through the bush. Morning tea and coffee and a bite is served relaxing next to a waterhole.
On returning from the morning game drive, guests are treated to a hearty “bush feast” on the deck.
Freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice are on offer, as well as coffees and teas and a colourful fruit salad, consisting of all the delicious and succulent “Eastern Transvaal” fruits of the season. A variety of yoghurts and cereals accompany the fruit as well as freshly baked cheese or bran muffins. The glorious smells of the hot cheese muffins always seem to entice all the vervet monkeys in the Sabi Sands but somehow they never seem to get their grubby hands on them. A choice of eggs are on offer accompanied by grilled tomato with oreganum, crispy chips, giant black mushrooms done with thyme, crunchy bacon and our world famous sausages. Brown or white toast is on offer with a selection of home-made strawberry, gooseberry and marula jams and marmalades.
With very full and satisfied bellies, a walk with a game ranger is an option for those wanting a closer encounter with the bush, while the day is still cool.
The less energetic relax around the pool with refreshments or one of Bambi’s famous Pimms, from the bar, or enjoy the solitude and tranquility until tea time and you can treat yourself to a deeply relaxing massage at the Notten’s Nature Spa.
15h30: A high tea is served on the open plan deck before leaving for another game drive. Enjoy this tea whilst watching zebra on the open plain, or an elephant taking a “bath” in the waterhole, or a troop of baboons just being their normal selves!
High tea consists of Gilly’s selection of tea, coffees, and iced teas. Notten’s famous breads, Notten’s nutty wheat, spinach and feta, or a delicious cheese and sundried tomato accompanied with cheeses, figs and preserved ginger. A variety of meats and pickles. Savoury delights are produced, a courgette and corn phyllo strudel, home-made pizzas, broccoli and mushroom quiche, roasted pepper quiche, sausage rolls and wonderful works that leave the guests in awe. Home-made patés and mousses. Delicious freshly baked cakes are always welcomed by the guests. Cinnamon nut cake, moist orange cake, rich ‘to die for’ chocolate, crumpets with strawberry preserve and whipped cream. Satisfied, guests leave the the tea table and board the Land Rover for the evening drive.
As the sun sets it’s time for “sundowners” in the veld (meaning “bush” in Afrikaans). Listen to the silence of the bush, the hum of crickets and cicadas, nocturnal birds, the cry of hyenas or a jackal in the distance. Watch the moon rise, the Milky Way, the night sky and sit in wonder.
Driving through the bush at night in search of nocturnal predators, eyes are captured by the tracker’s spotlight as he scans the bush. A leopard, a herd of impala, a wary hyena, a ‘nag apie’ in a tree …. the element of surprise always there. Every sound, every movement captures one’s attention. The bush at night has a life of its own.
On returning to Notten’s Bush Camp, a delicious dinner is served in the boma around a log fire, under a canopy of stars in winter, and in the summerhouse or dining room with a huge blazing fire in the summer.
All meals are hosted by the Nottens and their staff, and are a social occasion. This gives the guests the opportunity of hearing the bush stories and learning more about the local Shangaan culture.
To end off the day one can enjoy a relaxing candle-lit bath while listening to the call of the hyena in the background.