When I got to the front of the voters’ line, ready to have my details checked, the last thing I expected was for the person in charge of inspecting the voters’ roll to tell me that I was ineligible because my name appeared twice in his mammoth book of voters.
Perplexed and frustrated, I was told to go and stand in another line which I soon discovered was reserved for disqualified voters. As my frustration escalated, I began to Tweet out my experience as I felt an overwhelming need to let others in the Twitterverse know what I was going through. Most of the feedback was apologetic and empathetic, and I appreciated it very much.
So on the next day after the elections, when I got a message from Matobo Hills Lodge saying that they had read about my voting ordeal and wanted to invite me for a free stay at their lodge, I was excited and more than surprised. Furthermore, I could bring a +1 at no additional cost.
And so it was that I got to stay at Matobo Hills Lodge which is within the Matobo National Park for 3 nights in August. We arrived quite early on a Friday afternoon to some complimentary coffee and the sun making its way to its highest point in the sky. The silence, expect for a few lizards scrambling around for the best spot in the sun, was wonderful. As was the soothing taste of freshly brewed coffee.
area my favourite spot as they were the perfect spot
to get the full feel of the sun in the early
to mid-morning, sometimes with a cup of coffee or other times with a shandy. These were the perfect times to write down reflections of plans for the day.
Saturday was occupied mostly by going on safari, another complimentary offer, where our chatty guide, Sipho, made us aware of a variety of things in our environment such as the dried-out dung of a rhino or a plant amid the harsh savannah landscape that had some historical and medicinal qualities. As we drove through the National Park, we were able to spot one of the white rhinos in the reserve and get quite close to it. Also, we went to have a look at bushmen paintings from over 4 000 years ago, which was very edifying.
After a drive back to the lodge for lunch, we headed out to see the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, a moment of an inexplicable rush of emotions for everyone. We then had sundowners on a rock close by as our guide told us more of his theories of how tribal and racial conflicts occurred in the area over a century ago.
The service at the lodge was always reliable and friendly. We got to know some of the staff quite well from constant friendly interactions and engagement. Meals were substantial, and on our last evening, we even got a taste of wildebeest! I also enjoyed a long evening swim in the pool on the last evening, which was just what the doctor ordered for a tranquil end to a tranquil time. Besides this, there were also lone treks to different sites that one could take – such as a cave where the remains of moulded wares could be found – and sit on imposing boulders and look out into the wide-open expanse and do some more reflecting.
I really enjoyed my stay and more importantly, I was reminded that you never know who is out there in the Twitterverse, waiting to turn a bad day into an adventure you never expected.
Thank you Matobo Hills Lodge!