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Back To Nature With Earth Lodge At Sabi Sabi, South Africa
April 17, 2018
For those harking for an adventure with authenticity in an age of increasing urbanisation, a holiday to Earth Lodge at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is the trip of a lifetime that should be on the very top of everyone’s wish list.
The Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is situated on the south-western corner of the peerless Kruger National Park in South Africa. This is widely regarded as one of the very best places in the world to observe natural wildlife with a high density of animals including the Big 5: Lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos.
On arrival at Earth Lodge, you will immediately notice, this is unlike any other safari lodge or hotel you would ever have stayed in. The lodges are harmoniously sculpted with the surroundings so that the impact on the environment is minimal. The most striking feature is the natural wooden sculptures that blend seamlessly in the background, created by world-renowned artist Geoffrey Armstrong, using wood recovered from the region during flooding in the local area many years ago.
The lodges manage to combine the height of luxury with the rustic nature of the locality, from sumptuous king-sized beds to en-suite bathrooms that look onto your private plunge pool. Air-conditioning, Nespresso coffee machines and even your own painting set and binoculars are provided. The only thing you won’t find is a television set, allowing you more time to connect with the natural environment. This is one of those rare safari lodges where you are not fenced off from the wildlife and during our stay, we enjoyed viewing a herd of waterbuck grazing just metres from our plunge pool.
The service here is impeccable from start to finish from every single member of the staff team. I dined with a group of guests that had multiple dietary requirements and the head chef would come and discuss menu choices and personal requests. They offer different styles of dining and in different parts of the complex every night – so one night you might be experiencing traditional South African ‘braai’ whilst on another night you might be sampling from a fine dining tasting menu. You could be having a cosy candlelit dinner in their library or a relaxed affair in their traditional boma with walls constructed from tree roots and piled up piece by piece. Even if your group isn’t large enough for a private dinner in their spectacular wine cellar, a visit is highly recommended to view their extensive list of over 6000 wines including their own creations and rare wines.
The magical Amani spa is the sanctuary to visit for rejuvenating those travel-weary limbs and faces. We experienced the signature Kurhula body ritual, which combines a full body massage with a soothing mini-facial to finish. They open up your pores with an exfoliating scrub first before applying their signature coconut massage balm to offer the ultimate relaxation experience.
Of the countless highlights, the main attraction are the safari drives; there is generally one at 6.00am and one at 4.30pm. The tracker and ranger are trained to the highest professional standards and no question was ever too complicated for them and they often peppered our journey with fascinating facts about the local flora and fauna. The open-air land cruiser meant you can be up close and personal with the big five, though at no point do you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, and the tiered seating ensured all guests were offered uninterrupted views. And their incredible driving skills are to be admired in the rugged terrain and complex maze of pathways through the bush -especially with the lack of light during the evening safaris.
Getting to Earth Lodge is not as difficult as you might think, due to excellent connecting flights via Airlink. The airline is a privately owned airline business. The Regional Feeder Airline offers a wide network of regional and domestic flights within southern Africa and operates as a franchisee to SAA. There are direct scheduled flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town to Skukuza Airport, Kruger National Park and then Earth Lodge can provide private transport to pick you up from the airport.
Through their alliance with SAA, travellers can connect conveniently with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world. Airlink is a member of South African Airways (SAA) Loyalty programme – Voyager.
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