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Love a safari

Luxurious rooms + impressive meals + a massive roar = a perfect bush experience

The invigorating feeling of the unknown, not knowing what’s around that very next bend, what sounds and smells will trigger your senses … this is what makes us fall in love with the bushveld over and over again.

So, when we arrived at the newly opened Letamo Lodge at Qwabi Private Game Reserve in Waterberg of Limpopo, we knew we were going to be catching all the feels that wildlife brings … paired with an indulgent stay. With 11 000-hectares of Big Five land to explore, divided by wide-open paths and lush terrain, we were relieved to be with the fabulous guide Brendan – always cracking a joke, an impressive knowledge of both rhino and birdlife and he makes a decent cup of Amarula coffee!

We’d hardly even set out on the first drive for a minute when we had our very first sighting … three hippos, the bull with his mouth wide open showing off his dominance.

First sighting of a bull showing off

And as much as it was captivating to view from the 4×4 game vehicle, it’s a sight that can easily be viewed from the lodge’s large rim-flow pool which overlooks the river.

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Lemato Lodges rim-flow pool overlooking the river

And the sightings on our drives just kept getting better and better. Even the pouring rain didn’t keep the animals away … we spotted a cheetah gracefully walking along, crossing our path into the bush, a rather drenched wildebeest, a rare sighting of foam-nest tree frogs going about their business.

Highlight, if we had to choose, was a close encounter with a lion … who gave a warning roar so fearful that one guest (could have been from Get It … we’d never tell!) dropped her camera in fright. A perfect ending to the final game drive, since Qwabi means ‘African wild cat’ in the local Sesotho language.

The African wild cat that let out a roar

Back to the lodge … G&T firmly in hand, we chatted to General Manager of Qwabi Private Game Reserve Dr André Uys who told us the reserve is a conservation stronghold which is committed to preserve, protect and populate the African species. You can appreciate the passion behind their anti-poaching efforts and admire the focus on genetic management.
It’s a large lodge … a whopping 58 rooms, which has standard rooms (still jolly spacious with a king size bed, lovely white cotton linen and a private patio), as well as inter-linking room for families, and luxury suites with private plunge pools. It’s all very natural with calm tones and an Afri-chic vibe.

Room with a view

For those who’re looking for a little hedonistic luxury, there’s an incredible wellness spa … the perfect place to get pampered and feel reenergized and our ideal spot to be spending our leisure time, but those with more energy can also hit the gym or padel court. For parents looking for some down time while they laze by the pool, there’s a really cool junior conservation ‘HQ’ where the staff will care for your little ones. They have set activities, arts and crafts, a jungle gym, PlayStation, swingball and so much more. What’s more Letamo offers thoughtfully curated child-friendly safaris and a Junior Conservationists Programme designed to instill the passion for nature at a young age.

And on the menu. Glorious indulgent breakfasts, light lunch-come-tea mid afternoon, bush dinners outdoors if the weather plays fair or in the lodge restaurant overlooking the bush. Loads of African-inspired dishes (we tucked into a hearty oxtail potjie with polenta followed by a the most delicious malva pudding) and an award-wining selection of Southern African wines.

This lodge is a part of the Newmark Hotels & Reserves group, and they’re currently renovating two additional lodges on the grounds. Letamo Lodge, where we stayed is the perfect spot for a luxury family bush vacay, but if you are looking for something more intimate, Babohi Lodge will be opening soon and is exclusively for adults. The third lodge to open will be Semela, and promises to be the ideal spot for corporate getaways.

The rates at Lemato start at R6650 per person sharing, per night for full board, including daily game drives.

For more details, visit newmarkhotels.com/accommodation/qwabi-private-game-reserve or follow them on social media @qwabiprivategamereserve

Compiled by: MEGAN BRETT

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