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Luxe safari

A once-in-a-lifetime offer at what is arguably the finest safari lodge in the country. Thornybush’s Saseka Tented Camp is, quite simply, beyond perfect!

Let’s be honest. It’s been a long, hard slog this year. Lockdown. Curfews. Restrictions. But now travel’s open. We can cross borders and head off to hotels and guest houses and lodges. And we can have a glass of wine when we get there. Life is good. And particularly good, we have to tell you, if the escape you’ve planned is to Saseka Tented Camp.

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The jewel in the crown of the Thornybush collection of lodges, an escape here is a once-in-a-lifetime treat. Not only because it’s sensationally beautiful, but also because of the special end-of-lockdown rates … it’s one of the few times – heck, perhaps the only time – this lodge will be South African friendly, cost wise.

So what’s so special? Designed by architects and designers Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the lodge cleverly and seamlessly combines classical style with cutting-edge design, and takes attention to detail to a whole new level. From the roof over the massive, tiered deck which mimics the dappled light of a tree canopy to the botanical prints on the tents’ ceilings, which, besides being aesthetically pleasing, also educate since they include the Latin names.

The colours used throughout the lodge delight and surprise … although they shouldn’t, since they reflect the hues of the surrounding bush. Think ivory for the environmentally-friendly flooring that mimics the colour of the sand in the river below, dark olive, sage and apple from the Jackalberry, Apple Leaf and Leadwood trees, and occasionally touches of pink, picked up from the flowers in the area.

The main area, with a sexy little bar and wide open deck, overlooks the dry, seasonal Monwana riverbed, and has comfy intimate areas for sitting and doing as little as possible, and dining tables set along the edge so you don’t miss the ellies stroll past while you’re lingering over breakfast.

Glamping is taken to luxe new heights in the tents … it’s all eye-catching black mosquito nets, draped floor to ceiling windows, bespoke furniture, a romantic bath and adventurous outdoor rainfall shower, and each with a private deck and plunge pool. It would be unusual for you not to sometime during the night hear the low grunts and moans of a lion or the whooping call of a hyena.

For groups of up to six, there’s an uber luxury, private Villa, with its own central lounge, dining area, pool and an outdoor area which you’ll find it difficult to tear yourselves away from. Villa guests also get their own private game vehicle and chef, and children are welcome. Massive spoil!

Meals, too, are created to surprise … so dinner may be around a fire in the river bed with traditional – albeit really glammed up – lodge options, or up on the deck with true gourmet options. It’s all great platters of tapas or grilled calamari or tempura prawns or lamb loin, it’s mango salsa, and mashed brinjal, and smoked raisin puree. Sounds pretentious … it’s not.

Obviously, game drives are the highlight of any trip to the bush … and with exceptional trackers and guides and an animal-attracting combination of terrain, rivers and vegetation, sightings are frequent, close up and exciting. Although nothing’s guaranteed, this area is known for it’s leopard … spotting a massive male leopard on the hunt (we did), a female with her kill up a tree (we did) and a mum with her babe basking and playing in the sun (we did) made for an unforgettable trip.

Okay … let’s chat about the once-in-a-lifetime offer. A stay at Saseka usually costs R15805 a person a night, but the post lock-down special (for South African residents only), is R4999 a person a night, with a minimum two night stay. This includes accommodation, all meals (breakfast, lunch, high tea and dinner), hot beverages, early morning and late afternoon game drives,  and local sundowner drinks. Extras include optional guided walks, and laundry, and the lodge does (unfortunately) have Wifi. These rates exclude peak season (December 16, 2020 to  January 5, 2021).
Details: www.thornybush.com

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