Nyathi Rest Camp is Addo’s new magic hideaway, discover the Dirsuwei family on their most recent Chasing the Rainbow adventure.
As the sun beamed its low golden afternoon rays across the mountains, Addo greeted us with bright green fields teeming with wildlife – hundreds of huge eland, herds of zebra, red haartebees, kudu, warthog families and a large breeding herd of elephants, all having a gentle graze before bedtime. And we weren’t even inside the park gate yet. We drove in from Paterson with Addo’s Nyathi section to our right and judging from the plethora of game on display from the highway, we knew we were in for a treat once inside this remote section of the park.
Addo National Park opened its newest rest camp, Nyathi, a short while ago and we were thrilled to head there for a weekend of absolute bliss in the bush. The luxurious camp is located in the Nyathi section, across the road from the main game viewing areas.
We checked in at the main camp reception and were surprised to be told that we could enter the Nyathi section via the main reserve, rather than heading back on the highway. As we drove through the main camp into the reserve, it was clear as daylight why the late afternoon as the sun sets is called “golden hour”. It seemed like every Addo animal emerged from the thickets into the open spaces and it was really hard to push on past this impressive display of pure wild magnificence to get to the gate in time.
We did not know what to expect on the other side, but as the security guard let us out of the main camp and signed us into the Nyathi section, it was clear that we were entering a very special place away from the hustle and bustle of one of South Africa’s most popular game reserves. And that is part of the magic that we discovered at Nyathi. As we drove deep into the pristine mountains, we felt completely alone. There were no other humans or vehicles at all. We had the entire reserve to ourselves, and we meandered slowly on the red road winding its way through the valleys, across rivulets and over plains. We cut the engine to enjoy co-existing with elephants scooping up sweet green grass with their trunks, buffalos snorting and stomping their hooves at each other, troops of baboons picking fleas of their mates’ backs, kudu with horns that twisted around and around and around again and Vervets monkeying around in the thorn trees.
Eventually, but far too soon, the road curved to the left and some domed roofs became visible, positioned in an arch around the edge of what looked like a giant crater tucked into a circle of mountains. We drove up to the gate at Nyathi, and our kids were thoroughly delighted that one of them had to jump out of the car into the wild to push the gate open. We had to take it in turns during our stay, as each of them wanted the thrill of braving the jungle on foot, even if it was just for a minute.
Six sets of jaws collectively dropped as we walked into our family unit number 6. This was no regular SANParks accommodation. Charming, yes. South African, definitely. But this “rondawel” had every bell and whistle imaginable. Crisp percale linen on plush oversize beds with scatter cushions in tasteful fabrics. A kitchen fitted with Caesar stone and touch screen hob. Oval baths and tropical showers and a dressing room bigger than some people’s homes.
A bath with a view
But that was not what dropped our jaws. The entire bush-facing semi-circle of this uber-lux rondawel was made of glass and surrounded by a deep deck overlooking the most magnificent African plain, edged with the Zuurberg mountains. To top it all off, a free standing braai stood proudly next to our very own splash pool. We all declared over a sundowner that we were not going to leave this place. Ever.
And that is exactly what we did. We braaied, then lay back with our full bellies and gazed at a million stars fighting for their spot in the cosmos. We laughed, shared stories and chatted until our eyelids became heavy and the plush beds started calling our names.
Although surrounded by glass, Nyathi has block out curtains, so it is very possible to have a good sleep in. No way were we going to miss out on a minute of that view though, so Ralph and I opened the curtains as soon as our usual school day alarm beeped in imaginary silence. At first, it was just a plain plain. But as the first rays of sun summited the mountain tops and beamed onto the savannah, nature began to wake up. The warthogs were first – using their square noses as spades and digging up the dew soft soil. Then came the baboons – following the hogs and picking at all the things they disrupted. We were amazed to see a bush pig – right out in the open. We lay back in our soft bed and enjoyed all of this through binoculars until eventually the teens started stirring with the call of morning hunger.
We whiled away our day in seventh heaven, watching keenly to see how the hours unfolded for the creatures of the crater. The kids swam in the dip pool, we braaied again and slowly, gently the pressure of the city unwound and we started beating in time to the heart of nature.
Thank you Nyathi for opening your arms to our family. Thank you for pausing time and giving us memories that will last forever – a weekend of happiness, of laughter, of fun and of natural miracles, all wrapped up in a blanket of pure indulgence.
Game viewing from the deck
Nyathi Rest Camp has 8 two sleeper chalets, 1 four sleeper unit and 2 family chalets sleeping 6 each.
Rates range from R480 – R912.50 per person per night, self-catering.
More information from Sanparks at: https://www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/camps/nyathi/
The Dirsuwei family – mom Sarah, dad Ralph and their three sons – Jacob (17), Luke (15) and Cian (11), is a Port Elizabeth family is on a mission to explore the world together, spreading positivity about South Africa through their travel blog, Chasing the Rainbow
See more from the Dirsuweis at chasingtherainbow.net.