Adventure, by definition, is an unusual and exciting or daring experience. Far from our daily norm, it is something new and exhilarating that feeds and invigorates the soul. Adventure travel is not just about pumping the adrenaline and leaping out of a plane or plunging into a cage surrounded by sharks, adventure travel means something different to every person. To us, adventure is simply not knowing what comes next.
And that is exactly the kind of experience we like to create for our guests. Masters of surprise and self-confessed fans of celebration, both big and small, we love nothing more than to surprise our guests. Imagine hiking an ice-blue glacier in Argentina and stumbling across a whiskey tasting with 1 000-year-old glacier ice cubes. Or clambering out of the basket of a hot air balloon and seeing an elegant champagne breakfast set up beneath a tree in the Masai Mara. Or what about connecting with and learning from someone you’ve never met?
That’s exactly the kind of unexpected adventure that guests Joe and Carla experienced on their recent South Africa luxury safari at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. Long-time friends of &Beyond, this was not their first visit to Phinda, and this time they wanted to experience something out of the ordinary. They asked their tracker and friend Bernard if they could have dinner at his home in the nearby Makhasa community so that they could meet his family and see where he lives.
With only the afternoon to prep, Bernard and his ranger Chad set about organising the most magical evening for their special guests. Without any assistance from the lodge, Bernard helped the legendary Head Chef, Sam Mnguni, to prepare a mouth-watering feast.
When the couple arrived at Bernard’s home, they were warmly welcomed into the most enchanting setting. A beautiful “bush” dinner had been set up in their honour, complete with romantic candle bags, lanterns hanging on shepherd hooks, a blazing fire bowl and the most delicious spread. Bernard and his family hosted their guests with grace and charm, and Bernard’s five-year-old daughter, who had been practising all day, even sang a heart-warming happy birthday to Carla.
Although this unforgettable meal was shared outside the luxurious walls of &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge, it was every bit as luxurious, if not more, and it is something that Joe and Carla will remember for years to come. That’s what adventure travel is all about … creating unusual, exciting and memorable experiences that people will still talk about ten years from now.