– African Safari Review by Jonathan Sophie Ellaby
It’s easy to spot Gorah from afar, perched in rolling hills, each luxury safari tent with a commanding view of the bush and no fences to interfere with it. But it’s only when you get there that you appreciate how intense it can be and how different it is to anywhere else in Addo, or for that matter, South Africa. As seasoned bush hands, we were simply blown away.
First, a step back. The modern-day lodge is on the site of a farmhouse dating back to 1856, since lovingly restored, and the house oozes a sense of family history from the moment you step through its doors. Open verandas, lots of wood and old furniture and giant fireplaces are designed to conjure up images of hunting parties and colonial splendor.
The farming history is apparent in the large swathes of grassland previously used for cattle grazing, now the domain of larger herbivores such as zebra, kudu, hartebeest and eland. And elephant of course. Ironically, these open grasslands (which ought naturally to be thickets) make you feel more than ever like you’re in Africa, evoking the great savannah plains of East Africa.
We sit out on the colonial-style veranda for a ‘light lunch’ gazing out onto the plain, with herds of elephant just metres away and no fence in between – this comes close to many people’s vision of what a safari ought to be like. And we have to say, having spent many months in the bush, that this is pretty damn good. With a waterhole a stone’s throw away, you have a good chance of observing most of the plains game as well as elephant, at close range, while enjoying every gourmet meal Gorah’s superb staff lay on for you.
There’s little to fault the service either – from the meet and greet, waiting staff, guides and tent escorts – there’s everything you’d expect for a five-star lodge. The camp runs on solar power so there are a few compromises on things some take for granted – no air-con for example, and to get a battery charged you have to give it to your guide to take away overnight. But these are small things in what is otherwise a very luxurious set-up.
It’s the lack of electricity that gives the historic lodge its