“Look Mom, the giraffe is coming towards us,” the little girl exclaimed with glee. Even her brother, who was annoyed at being dragged away from the kiddies play area, perked up.
They both watched with delight as the giraffe family came closer, and even more so when they ate from the guides hand. This was their first safari and, so far, they were enthralled.
Did you know? Giraffes spend most of their time eating and can chomp up to 45 kgs of twigs and leaves every day.
Our guide explained that they hadn’t always fed the giraffe, but during the Western Cape drought in 2018 it became necessary, and now they continue to come towards the vehicles to be fed. Whilst perhaps not ideal, it does give kids the opportunity to have an up-close wildlife experience from the safety of a vehicle and learn to love them as they learn more about them.
Did you know? Each zebra has unique stripes, just like our fingerprints.
The game drive continues through the pristine vegetation – a mixture of Strandveld, Renosterveld and Weskus Savannah. The Land Rover bumps around as it makes its way along the sandy roads, past scrubby fynbos and the occasional windmill and onto an open plain. The zebra in the distance look up with anticipation, and as the vehicle stops, they too come closer for a tasty snack, each one showing off their very cool striped ‘pyjamas’. The guide explains that the stripes may help the zebra to control its body heat, and that their black-and-white striped coat will often dazzle and confuse predators helping them to escape from a chasing lion – luckily, they don’t have that problem at Thali Thali!
There are ostrich picking up stones, springbok leaping about and ‘pronking’, and a pair of oryx, with their spectacular horns held high. The reserve boasts a wide variety of other game like eland, kudu, sable antelope black wildebeest, duiker, bontebok steenbok, emu and even a dromedary camel!
A large grassy plain reveals some dancing ostriches, more springbok and a large herd of eland. One of the eland struts up to our vehicle, its mind set on receiving a tasty snack and quite oblivious of its human inhabitants. There are more ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the kids as the friendly eland snacks on handfuls of fodder. The rest of the herd just watch, not as comfortable with this strange Land Rover shaped critter as their mate. The guide points out its dewlap, the loose piece of skin beneath its neck, and explains that it is only the males that have these.
Did you know? An adult eland can jump a height of over 2,5m from a standstill, even though it weights up to 700kg and is nearly 2m tall at its shoulder.
The vehicle departs and the rest of the herd trot up to the bale of fodder, determined not to miss out. Back at the lodge its time for the kids to have a quick dip in the splash pool, or a romp on the jungle gym while Mom and Dad enjoy a refreshing cocktail on the deck. Lunch can be served either in the restaurant or in the garden, so there’s no need to drag the kids away from their playtime unnecessarily.
Keen to Chill?
Keen to just chill? Head to your luxuriously appointed tent for a nap or read a book on your private deck while the kids continue their play – there are well-marked paths between the main lodge and each of the ‘tents’ so you don’t need to worry.
And when evening comes, there’s sundowners to be had before lighting up the braai in your own private fire pit. Bring out the boerie and pop it onto the fire, let the kids enthrall with stories of their day… from toes in the sand and close-up giraffes, to an eland eating from their hand. The star-studded West Coast sky and still of the night will surely guarantee a restful sleep. No doubt the kids will be ready for their second safari the moment they awake.
Thali Thali Game Lodge is an easy hour or so drive from Cape Town, making a weekend away, or even a day trip, an obvious option – and being located near Langebaan and the West Coast National Park you can make it a well-rounded bush and beach road-trip.
And with its wide range of game and wide-open spaces, is the ideal family getaway, and just perfect for a child’s first safari. The getting there is easy, it’s the leaving that’s the difficult part!
A video showing a giraffe munching away on some vegetation.
Facilities available at Thali Thali Game Lodge
• Accommodation • Child-Friendly • Bar • Restaurant (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner) • Pool • Wheelchair Accessibility (Rooms, Bedrooms & Bathrooms) • 3 Star Tourism Grading • AA Grading • Trip Advisor • Conference Facilities • Wedding and Function Venue • Shop • Game Drives • Online Booking Facilities.
Find Thali Thali Game Lodge in Langebaan on the West Coast Way Foodie Route and Tractor Route
Distance from Cape Town: 117km
Open 7 days a week | Free entry
R300/person for 90 min Game Drive (Booking essential in high season) R150 pp for children (5-12 years); Free Under 5 years
R150/person for Archery Lesson (Booking essential in high season)
Contact: (c) +27 (0)82 372 8637 / +27 (0)83 275 2825 | [email protected] | www.thalithali.co.za
West Coast Way is South Africa’s road trip with the most twists. Explore a unique collection of 101 road trip stops along themed routes by planning a self-drive trip or guided tour for a nature and adventure-filled Cape West Coast vacation. The new West Coast Way “basket” of free routes on offer include the West Coast Way Tractor Route, the West Coast Way Berg Route, the West Coast Way Foodie Route, the West Coast Way Cultural Route, the West Coast Way Wild Route – as well as the newly launched Cape Way Route – all of which are designed to showcase the many attractions and activities that are already on offer on the Cape West Coast and inland areas – but may be unknown to many.
For more information on West Coast Way, the other routes on offer, and the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit www.westcoastway.co.za or call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.