Breathe in the exquisite bushveld air and marvel at the wildlife that surrounds you at one of the most welcoming and luxurious safari lodges in our province.
A game drive . . . warm cups of coffee and rusks in the morning, ice-cold G&T’s and handsful of biltong at dusk and the wonderful sounds and smells of the bush around you. It’s an intrinsically African experience and, quite simply, food for the soul.
Apart from awe-inspiring, close encounters with wildlife, what makes African safaris especially memorable are the game rangers who take you on a journey into the world they love with knowledge, passion and enthusiasm.
There is certainly no lack of enthusiasm amongst the staff (both on and off the game vehicles) at Ndaka Safari Lodge, situated in the Nambiti Big 5 Game Reserve. Their welcoming, positive approach to guests is just one of many features that make this lodge stand out above so many others.
Owned and operated by Mark and Tracey Marshall, Ndaka is a truly family-oriented destination, offering a wonderful reprieve from the busyness of everyday life and a special space for families to reconnect with nature and each other.
The warm welcome you receive as you arrive at Ndaka makes you feel as though you are an old friend returning rather than a first-time visitor, and it doesn’t take long before you can literally feel yourself unwinding and breathing in the surrounding African splendour.
Like so many beautiful game lodges, the top-class facilities, luxurious accommodation and fantastic food are all on-point . . . but it’s the little things, the special touches and the attention to detail that take this family getaway spot up a notch.
Children are treated like VIP’s at Ndaka, with gifts on arrival, wonderful child-friendly menus and fantastic indoor and outdoor play areas. But again, the true magic comes from the staff, all of whom take the utmost care in ensuring that all guests, little ones included, are having a great time.
One of the most wonderful things about being a parent is the opportunity to see the world through your children’s eyes. Kids are welcome on game drives at Ndaka, provided they are able to sit quietly, and sitting side-by-side with them, watching a herd of buffalo graze or a massive female elephant and her calf casually stroll past is truly what family holiday memories are made of.
Whether you’re enjoying a quiet getaway for two, or a family holiday with the kids and gran and gramps in tow, the facilities at Ndaka make for a more than comfortable experience. The pool area is particularly inviting, with an impressive rim-flow rock pool and array of sun loungers perfectly positioned to look out onto the reserve around you. It’s not unusual to spot giraffe, bush buck and even elephant or predators strolling right past the (safely fenced-in!) lodge.
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style and the three-course dinners are tasty and comforting. And by the end of the first night, the front-of-house manager and waiters all know you by name, making this genuinely feel like a home away from home. They have a wonderful pizza-lunch offering, where the pizzas are made in the outdoor wood-fired pizza oven and everyone helps themselves to salad and the yummy assortment of pizzas on offer.
The accommodation is superb, with wonderful luxury safari tented suites which blend beautifully into the landscape. They may have canvas walls, but the interiors are luxurious and spacious, even featuring indoor and outdoor showers and a beautiful bath overlooking the surrounding bush . . . so you can do some animal spotting while you bathe!
The double luxury safari suites are big enough to fit a family of six and the standard lodge rooms (part of the converted old farmhouse), have a homely yet up market feel and beautiful finishes.
But beautiful lodging, yummy food and great service aside, the real star of the show is without a doubt the amazing 26 000-acre reserve in which the lodge is situated. Just three hours from Durban, the reserve is home to the big and small five, as well as over 40 smaller game species and abundant birdlife. It is well worth the drive for a memorable weekend away.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Rates include luxury accommodation, lunch, dinner and breakfast, two game drives per day (including snacks), unlimited hot drinks and home baked treats at the coffee station and full use of all the lodge facilities. Summer rates (until 20 March 2020) – Luxury Safari Tented Suites: R2650 per adult per night (R2 250 for teens, R1400 for kids ages 4 – 12 and free for kids under 3). Standard Lodge Rooms: R2150 per person per night (R1750 for teens, R1100 for kids ages 4 – 12 and free for kids under 3). Look out for last-minute specials online!
Text: Leah Shone