An honest review
Pronounced ann-ga-lah, trust me I had been telling everyone that we would be staying in na-la tented camp much to my own embarrassment, Ngala was really quite an unforgettable experience. Ngala is also an &beyond property, like Phinda Mountain Lodge.
The lodge itself was clean and modern, the furnishings make you forget that you’re actually living in a very well-equipped tented. No, they’re not kidding about the tent part. There was no concrete in our villa(?) tent.
This was out tent. Since it was winter, our rooms were overlooking a dried river. I’d imagine it’ll be roaring in the wet season.
What was really interesting that the campsite is not actually fenced off from Kruger National Park—animals actually live and roam around the area where you sleep. There was once when I was having a reaaally relaxing massage when the therapist woke me up to tell me that elephants were passing by. Half awake, I looked up and there they were, elephants! Right outside the massage room.
One of the nights Ma woke us up, frightened “There are lions outside! I can hear them!”
“It’s probably nothing go back to sleep”
“No! They’re right outside the tent!”
Obviously I was too tired and not brave enough to have a look outside. We thought nothing of it and went to sleep. The next morning, however, our ranger kindly told us that some lions had decided to sleep in the dried river right outside our tent for the night. Ma was not wrong and I was very pleased with my decision not to go have a look outside. Surely, the incidents of lion attacks are very low but we must take into account that these are wild animals.
The only problem we really had with Ngala tented camp was that the showers are outdoors. It didn’t help that our guide had told us that a leopard lives in a tree close to our tent. “Y’know, she could just pounce down from the tree at any second.” Luckily for us, she was away on vacation too. The main gripe with outdoor showers is that it can be really cold at night. I had forsaken my evening showers and had made peace with the dust I have accumulated from game drives but Pa being an obsessive Germaphobe simply could not go to sleep with the knowledge that there was safari dirt in his hair. Bravely, he jumped outside to have a shower, in the cold. Obviously he fell sick and ruined the rest of the trip. I was just glad that this was our last stop.
I would recommend staying in Ngala tented camp simply for the fact that is an entirely different experience. The price tag that comes with it though, is another question altogether.