The overwhelming stress of everyday life is a feeling everyone is familiar with. Everybody deserves a chance to close their eyes, catch their breath, and take in the tranquility of their spectacular natural surroundings. These lodges and camps provide the perfect way to do just that. Ideal for a weekend of escapism, everything from exotic wildlife safaris and incredibly diverse bird life, to spectacular natural vistas and luxurious accommodation is on offer. There’s no better way to treat yourself to a weekend off.
Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay, one finds the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, the focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly into the early morning mist, and brooding salt marshes are home to vast concentrations of migrant waders from the northern hemisphere. During the spring the strandveld is embroidered with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers. Two well-equipped Houseboats, permanently moored in the calm turquoise waters of the lagoon, offer a unique experience to all guests. The first is a luxurious, fully equipped double-storey 22 sleeper houseboat comprising 9 Bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 lounges, 2 kitchens and ample deck space on both levels. This houseboat is ideally suited for corporate groups, functions, special occasions or family getaways. Also available is a cosy, fully-equipped, two-bedroomed 6-sleeper houseboat, offering an intimate getaway for couples young and old, or a fun family breakaway.
Thendele Lodge, Drakensberg
Thendele is famous for its views of the dramatic Drakensberg mountains, the famous Amphitheatre – a rock wall rising to about 1000 m and stretching out for 5 km- and the Mont-aux-Sources, which is the highest peak of the plateau and backstage of the elevated Amphitheatre. Also within Royal Natal National Park is a source of KwaZulu-Natal‘s largest river and highest waterfall, the Tugela, plus eight other rivers. Thendele Resort is situated in one of the most picturesque settings in the country, with a view of the famous Amphitheatre from every chalet. The lodge offers accommodation for six people. It has three en-suite bedrooms each with two single beds. A kitchen, large living area with fireplace and an outdoor barbecue area are all located centrally. Satellite TV is also available. The most popular activity enjoyed by visitors is hiking. Trout fishing is available in the rivers as well as in the Mahai Dam. Bird watching, picnics and swimming in the rivers are just some of the highlights guests can also expect to experience.
Mosu Lodge, Mokala
Mokala is SANParks’ newest park and is situated approximately 70 km south-southwest of Kimberley, and west of the N12 freeway to Cape Town. Nestled in the hills, Mokala’s landscape boasts a variety of koppieveld (hills) and large open plains. Mosu Lodge is located in the south-west of the park. The lodge blends perfectly into the natural surroundings- with their thatched roofs, the bungalows exude a ruggedness that perfectly complements their surroundings. This rustic atmosphere, however, is complemented by comfort and luxury in the form of 15 well-furnished, air-conditioned bungalows. The lodge boasts a cool sparkling swimming pool for the warmer months, restaurant with bar facilities, outside lapa, lounge and entertainment area with built-in fireplace, a state of the art conference facility. Guided game drives, 4×4 trails, hiking and birding are among the activities that complete an unforgettable experience.
Tlopi Tented Camp, Marakele
The Tlopi Tented Camp in Marakele National Park is unfenced from the rest of the park, making your experience with nature an unsheltered, intimate one. The camp consists of ten luxury tents, each accommodating two people. The tents are fully furnished with kitchens, private bathrooms, electric fans, private verandas and barbecue facilities. One tent is wheelchair-friendly. There are fantastic bird-watching and game-viewing opportunities in Marakele National Park. You can also access the mountain pass up to an incredible view and get within close proximity to the Cape Vulture colony. Guided morning and sunset drives and bush walks are available, as well as a two-night 4×4 eco-trail. Due to Marakele’s proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria, it makes for an ideal weekend getaway.
Thandeka Lodge is ideally nestled in open woodland, reflecting its natural surroundings in a contemporary and colonial fashion. Guests are greeted by warm and welcoming staff with refreshing wet towels and ice cold drinks, followed by an informative lodge orientation. The lodge is located approximately 200 kilometres from Johannesburg at the malaria-free foothills of the grand Waterberg Mountain range in Limpopo Province. The central living area is large and open-plan, while a beautifully positioned pool and deck provide guests with the opportunity to relax and unwind. Twenty luxurious and spacious tents are individually and privately positioned, aptly conveying the intimate nature of the surrounding bush. Conference and large-group facilities are excellent at Thandeka and most needs can be fully catered for. Delicious and well-prepared meals can be eaten in the large indoor dining room. However, if weather permits, they are best enjoyed outside next to the pool or around the fire.
Thakadu River Camp
Thakadu River Camp lies along the Marico River in the eastern section of the Madikwe Game Reserve. The tented camp is set upon a river bank, surrounded by tall trees and is frequently visited by wildlife. The main lodge offers a selection of seating areas for guests to choose from, and a central dining area. The swimming pool and bush boma form part of the main lodge area and are easily accessed. The Thakadu team are very enthusiastic and understandably proud to be running their own lodge. Little Thakadu is a smaller version of the River Lodge, and offers a more exclusive safari experience – a great option for a group or a large family. By booking Little Thakadu, you have access to your own private pool, a private dining area with personal chef, and an exclusive-use game viewer. The 12 tented rooms are comfortably furnished, and each has their own private balcony. Game drives are always a highlight when traversing the Madikwe Game Reserve.
Shibula is a classic and elegant five star lodge situated in the prestigious Welgevonden Private Game Reserve – an area of rolling hills and plains in the Waterberg mountain range some 3 hours from Johannesburg. The lodge is well managed, and has a friendly and homely atmosphere with a particular focus on guest contentment. The rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. Each of the rooms is different in terms of layout and décor. Rooms have their own private pool or jacuzzi. The food is excellent with unique and distinctive meals prepared daily. Shibula has an excellent health spa facility where guests can choose from a variety of different beauty therapies on offer at an additional cost.
Wild at Tuli
Wild At Tuli Safaris’ Island Camp is situated in Botswana‘s Central Tuli Block. This area includes the famous Tuli Elephants, prolific predator life, Giant Mashatu Trees, 2000 year-old Baobabs, the oldest exposed rocks on the planet, the Mighty Limpopo River and a most stunning landscape. It is home to almost 400 species of birds including the Pel’s Fishing Owl, Black Eagle, Martial Eagle, Kori Bustard and Ground Hornbill. Wild At Tuli Safaris is not a package operation; it is an independent, highly specialised, owner-run safari business. Experience, exclusivity and flexibility are hallmarks of our safaris. Experience staying in a luxurious tented camp on an island in the Limpopo River on Kwa Tuli Private Game Reserve. Available activities include game drives, walks, bird-watching, fishing, overnight in a hide. This is what the African wilderness is all about…
Nungubane Game Lodge
Nungubane Game Lodge is situated in the north western sector of the Welgevonden Private Game Reserve. Guests are met at Welgevondens’ West gate and transferred to the lodge which is approximately 45 minutes away. This intimate lodge caters for up to ten people in five elegantly furnished and suitably spacious rooms all with a protected outdoor shower. Both the main lodge and the rooms have breathtaking views of rolling hills disappearing into the Waterberg’s horizon. The food is wholesome, well prepared and sure to tantalise. Meals are either taken on the open air deck or in the boma around a traditional camp fire. Although limited in terms of numbers, the small staffing team at Nungubane are attentive, efficient and cater for a guest’s every whim. Between game drives guests can lounge by the pool taking in the magnificent vista around them or simply tuck in to a book in the main lodge or in the privacy of their rooms.
Komati Tented Camp
One of the latest additions to the Mantis Collection is the Komati Tented Camp situated in the Nkomazi Game Reserve. This ultra-luxurious tented camp is situated on the thickly vegetated banks of the Komati River in the Barberton Mountains. All the suites are spacious, superbly furnished and adequately positioned for privacy. Guests can enjoy a dip in each unit’s private plunge pool or have an outdoor bubble bath overlooking the river. The service is of a high standard, the food is excellent and there is a pleasant variety of dining venues. In addition the ‘River Retreat’ is a lovely Spa next to the river where guests can enjoy a variety of treatments whilst harmoniously listening to the rapids churning below.
Jaci’s Safari Lodge
Accessed by means of a wooden swing bridge over a small stream, Jaci’s Safari Lodge has eight private rooms and two indulgent suites, accommodating up to twenty guests of any age. The main lodge is a modern take on the traditional safari style. The kitchen is open plan and the staff serve meals both indoors and outdoors or along the riverbed beneath the trees. The rooms are tented style and isolated by the riverine forest with an en-suite bathroom – including a floor level bath and a well sheltered outdoor shower. An ideal family experience, Jaci’s Safari Lodge has an entertainment room for teens and a playground for younger children. Family game drives are on offer as well as child friendly game drives which take place during the day and provide a more interactive bush encounter focused on their interests. Special meals and dining times are arranged for young children.
Inverdoorn Game Lodge
Inverdoorn is a family-run private game reserve found in the heart of a typically open Karoo landscape. The camp is set amid large Eucalyptus trees with the rooms positioned around a cactus garden and main outdoor dining area. There is a small tortoise pen within the camp where large leopard tortoises can be observed in their contented meandering. The small, white walled chalets are basically furnished and comfortable. The food is terrific – South African style with a touch of French flair. The camp is also open to day visitors and can become quite busy in the summer months. The Karoo landscape is quite distinctive and remarkably beautiful whilst massive night skies are awe inspiring and untouched by any light pollution.
Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Ivory Tree Game Lodge is a 60-roomed camp situated in the eastern corner of the renowned Pilanesberg National Park near Sun City. The camp can host large groups of up to 120 people and has modern conference facilities hosting up to 60 delegates in the largest hall and up to 20 in a smaller conference venue. There is an extensive spa facility which provides a variety of different treatments. The rooms are well positioned to offer reasonable privacy and are located in a natural setting within the camp’s electrified perimeter. All meals are served buffet style and the food is of a high standard. Meals are served indoors, on the deck around the pool or in the boma around the campfire. The rooms are adequately furnished and guests can read a book and relax on a couch bed found on each patio. Each room has an outdoor shower and is fairly compact. The lodge is situated within a National Park and as such some sightings may become crowded with public vehicles. However after the main gate closing times guests are treated to an exclusive game viewing experience – often at night.
Gondwana Fynbos Villas
Gondwana’s Fynbos Villas are individually situated on the high lying ridges of a Fynbos valley a short drive from the Fynbos Camp. These 2 or 3 bedroom units can be taken out on a full board or a self-catering basis. The units are extremely spacious and suitably furnished in a minimalistic fashion. Both the Fynbos Villas and the nearby Kwena huts can be taken out by larger groups – accommodating up to 64 guests in total. In addition there is a nearby separate communal entertainment area known as ‘Lehele Lodge’ (with no overnight facilities) which is perfect for meals or functions such as corporate events and weddings.
Gondwana Lodge, Sanbona
Gondwana Lodge is a new hotel styled lodge based on a traditional Karoo homestead design. The lodge and rooms all overlook a prominent dam in the distance which attracts good quantities of game and birdlife. The main lodge is openly laid out with modern furnishings. The rooms are situated in two detached buildings consisting of six rooms (three on the lower floor and three on the upper) in each. Four rooms in each block have an inter-leading door which is useful for families but detracts a little in terms of privacy. Gondwana is a family affair. There is a well established children’s programme which keeps younger family members entertained during the day. This includes both an indoor and an outdoor play area. There is a full spa service for adults in the aptly named Relaxation Retreat. The lodge is spacious, the food is excellent and the service is sure to impress.