High Tea with Hippos
Put me next to a waterhole in a game reserve and I am happy. Put me next to a waterhole in a game reserve in a luxury tent and I am a supremely ecstatic little camper. I sit drinking my coffee on my deck overlooking a dam where mother and baby hippos splash about. I may soon join them for an afternoon wallow in my own plunge pool - there is a certain permissive sloth and appreciation for life that they impart.
Phelwana Game Lodge has been taken over by enthusiastic new owners who understand a girl like me. Creamy floors, white linen and cream curtains are perfectly balanced with wooden and leather safari style chairs and an old travelling trunk. The waxy green central wall adds flair to this calm and spacious tent.
This is glamping in true style, with airconditioning and a spacious glossy bathroom with double basin and vanity, indoor and outdoor shower and modern fittings.
Meals may be taken at one’s own tent, complete with white table cloth, silver service and romantic oil lit lamps and candles. The main lodge has a large dining area and freshly upholstered lounge looking onto a fireplace.
High tea at Phelwana is a sumptuous affair. A layered cake stand is brought out to the lapa overlooking the dam, and is filled with freshly baked scones, carrot cake (with the good icing), koeksisters, tartlets, sandwiches and deviled eggs. While I am eyeing out the lavish spread, two hippos come closer for a look – not 10 meters from the lapa in the water below. I have never been so close to hippos within such safety and decadence. I can almost count the chin hairs on the hippo’s broad jaw as he yawns. This is a high tea I will always remember with excitement, as a great serendipitous privilege.