Mabula magic

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The charm of the bushveld calls as the dry season at Mabula lures us into the wild.

It’s nearing the end of Winter, with the chill lingering in the Waterberg air … it’s all hands glued to hot water bottles and legs tucked away tightly under blankets and cheeks rosy from the bitter cold of the morning safari. But the rush of the bush kicks in and warms us as we hear the echoing sounds of grunting baboons in the distance … it’s monkey business in the bush!

With 12 000 hectares of Big Five private reserve to explore, the game drives and knowledgeable guides offer great sighting and viewing experiences for guests at Mabula Game Lodge. Two lionesses feed on a zebra, distressed elephants stomp down trees where we hear and feel the vibrations just meters away, a pretty purple roller bird fluffed out and the crossing of a lone black-backed jackal … just a taste of the magic of Mabula.

Back at the lodge … guests and friendly free-roaming animals stroll around rocks, fig trees and paths … there’s always a dassie or two dashing off at the sight of someone, while the cheeky francolins easily approach you seeking a treat.

The African style is reflected throughout the lodge and in the rooms … a blend of neutral colours and a touch of luxe including all the amenities you’d find at a large hotel. The high-risen thatched roof adds a spacious feel, emphasised by the large windows looking out onto the patio which brings about its own attractions … like the nyala nibbling away outside the room in the early hours of the morning. Accommodation is family-friendly, with inter-leading rooms and sleeper couches.

You’d better take a big appetite to breakfast, lunch and dinner as the chefs mix up many different daily dishes displayed at the buffet … springbok carpaccio, artichoke salad, venison pot pie. And the Malva pud – sweet yumminess in every spoonful. Outside on the terrace it’s all stunning views, indoors there’s warmth and comfort from the fireplace and large comfy cushioned chairs. And three times a week there’s the added attraction of Tshwane traditional dancers and a boma dinner.

You are also spoilt for choice when it comes to leisure activities … horseback safaris, quad biking, guided bush walks, stargazing safaris and signature massages (even the kids can be booked in for some pamper time at the spa, and if you’re visiting during peak season, the on-site Cubz Club offers a daily children’s programme).

Mabula Game Lodge is strong on conservation and is the home of the award-winning Mabula Ground Hornbill Project, and are a part of the cheetah meta-population management project. Located in Limpopo just over two hours north of Joburg, rates at this 4-star lodge are from R4,115 per person sharing per night which includes three meals and two safaris. Since it’s August, they are running a special for Women’s Month … which includes three meals per day and two daily safaris for R2,150 per person sharing per night, with a 20 per cent discount on wellness treatments. Details: 011 516 4367, [email protected], www.mabula.com

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