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“Don’t bother to hold on. There is nothing to hold on to, and there is nowhere to fall. We are going to do a bungee jump now!” bellows our helicopter pilot, Fred Viljoen, as he steers the small five-seater plane sideways between two mountain peaks some 8,000 feet from the ground.
I try to relax and admire the total beauty and magic of South Africa’s wildlife from the majestic mountains, but my nerves are jolted as the helicopter skims a mountaintop then plunges hundreds of feet down its side like an eagle swooping for prey. The aerial gymnastics continue for another five minutes before we land atop the Entabeni mountain range, 6,000 feet up.
We tumble out of the helicopter somewhat disoriented from our adrenaline-infused aerial adventure, but our spirits are shot into high gear as we’re greeted by a lavish champagne breakfast.
Chef Rhyno, in his crisp white jacket, and his attentive staff greet us with broad smiles as they serve a sumptuous feast, complete with freshly baked bread from a natural oven dug out of the ground.
“This is one of our surprises for guests who request something thrilling as part of our morning game adventure,” notes our ranger. The Hanglip experience (hanglip means “hanging lip” in Afrikaans) is part of the package for guests at the luxurious Kingfisher Lodge of the Entabeni Game Reserve, located in the greater Waterberg area of the Northern Province in South Africa, a three-hour drive from Johannesburg.
The sandstone cliffs of the Entabeni Mountains are spectacular as they rise above the surrounding grasslands, offering a view unsurpassed anywhere in the game reserve. It was probably this quality that led to the name Entabeni, which means “place of the mountain.” This is truly a perfect setting for an adventurous safari in open game vehicles.
Before our helicopter adventure, we saw a variety of exotic birds and game–giraffe, huge rhinos, lions, impala, elephant, wildebeest, and the Black Eagle–we spotted the rare species soaring above the cliffs.
Kingfisher Lodge at Entabeni Game Reserve is in a malaria-free zone of Africa located on the bank of the Entabeni River. Eight deluxe guests rooms, furnished with fireplaces, open to large wooden decks with exquisite views of the mountains and the surrounding lake where Rhinos often swim.
Furnishings are modern African-themed with original artifacts in traditional colors and weavings that blend without compromising comfort or luxury.
Boma dinners under the stars are popular at the lodge, where all meals are grilled and served by the glow of flaming lanterns and bonfires. Meals are also served in a large candle-lit dining room, which opens out to a wooden deck on the water.
Entabeni’s Kingfisher Lodge is enveloped by spectacular scenery and rich vegetation. Internet access is available, and a gift shop, bar, swimming pool, and Jacuzzi are also on the premises. It is ideal for adventure travelers, honeymooners, and weary business travelers in search of a different type of holiday. Entabeni offers hiking trails, lush mountains, and rippling waterfalls that totally enhance the safari experience (www.entabeni.co.za).