Visiting this place had always been in my bucket list. Like I knew that one day I would visit this beautiful lodge and experience all it had to offer. I did write of how to get there here.
The first thing that occurred to me when we entered their rooms, was how spacious they were. From the outside, the huts don’t look that big. Until you get in and all the amenities are there and a really bid bed to boot. But that’s not what catches one’s eyes. It’s the fact that from the window, one can actually see the water point and half of the lodge that’s on the other side. It’s like a semi-circle. When on one side, you can see the other. The view from the room is just amazing.
And it’s like they have capitalised on that. So no TV. I presumed because noise scares animals away, and who would travel inside a bush leaving civility away to come encounter more noise? Aren’t we always running from the noise outside of us and inside of us when we take holidays?
Luckily for us too, some monkeys had made their home right under our section of huts. I don’t know what they were picking from the grass, but each evening we would find like a family of them eating something from the ground.
I love animals. I really do. And I even chose this hotel so that I could see wild animals till my eyes got tired of them. But if asked the thing I enjoyed the most in Saltlick? I would say their food. And yet I’m not even a foodie.
Previously when I have gone to hotels that serve buffets, I go straight for the dessert. I’ve discovered that most hotels that have conferences bake fresh cakes each day. On whether their food is fresh, I usually never want to experiment.
For some weird reason I had expected that we would have a buffet too here. But how wrong I was!
So for each meal they print what they are offering for that day for that meal. All their lunches and dinners have starter soups, salads, two options for the meaty lovers and a vegetarian option for the vegans, and a selection of choice whether to pick fruits, cake for the dessert, tea coffee or all of them.
What that means is that for the 5 days we stayed there, there is no single meal that we repeated the same meal. Including breakfast, that had countless options.
But it wasn’t just the variety that made me fall in love with their food, it was that it was prepared by really good chefs. You could just tell. Not necessarily by the presentation, which was pretty, but the fact that each bite seemed to have been well thought out by whoever prepared the meal. I took the vegetarian option once, my partner was laughing at me because most of the things describing the meal had sounded like tasteless things, until they served the meal, and somehow they had found a way of making those tasteless things edible and enjoyable.
I feel like I could go on and on about their food. To date I joke about some of the names of their kawaida items. I think Columbine potatoes has to be my best. And every once in a while, the head chef comes around to each table to find out how your meals are/were and whether you would like anything changed or improved.
That’s the level of care that I experienced there. Not just from the chefs, but they have enough staff who I think take turns every few days. Anything you want will be catered for, from the evening tea that’s served at the bar as you eat and watch the animals come to drink water at the end of the day to any special requests.
And of course, the animals! I mean that’s the whole point of even the word ‘salt lick’. Zebras were the majority. Like every single time of the day, there would be zebras, in their hundreds. Then elephants, especially during the sunset hours. They mostly came in herds, I presume several families together.
I think what’s different with sitting and observing wild animals for hours instead of a game drive is how much of their behavior you’ll learn. When taking a game drive in the Sanctuary, which we did and will talk about it in another post, was, we used to stop when we saw an animal, take pictures and move on. But watching elephants for 30 minutes allowed us to discover that the young ones are always kept in sight, it’s like the mother couldn’t have them being more than a meter away. It then makes you ask yourself alot of questions. That if a whole herd of elephants, keeps it’s young ones in the middle and out of danger completely, how on earth do some of these conservancy organizations in the country end up getting so many ‘orphaned’ elephants? From where? Like the behavior of elephants really defies the odds that a lone small healthy elephant would be in a forest somewhere deserted by it’s herd, because they walk as a group.
Anyway, these are the kind of thoughts you start having when you sit observing wild animals on a close range for days. Things like how a single bird is enough to make a herd of zebras run. That’s how ‘fearful’ they are or it’s just their defence mechanism if they are to live.
And then birds. I totally love birds. And in the evenings,you would find hundreds doing some sort of dance in the sky. Like they just calmed my soul.
It’s impossible to be surrounded by all these beauty and still worry about anything. Like it took me back to the core. It washed my worries away and reminded me of the things that matter to me.
I think Saltlick not only fulfilled all fantasies I had of it in my mind for all those years, but it surpassed it.