I’ve done the whole Kruger thing a few times, and while it is great, I think many people aren’t aware that you can get just as good a big 5 experience in Pilanesberg, which is only 2 hours away from Jozi. Also, 5 star in Pilanesberg is WAY cheaper than 5 star Kruger.
Late last year, I spent a night at Shepherd’s Tree Game Lodge, which was really relaxing and rejuvenating- just what I needed. The Lodge was opened for the World Cup so is only 4 years old. I love that everything is still modern and shiny. Usually game lodges are dark and grimy, this one is anything but.
The nightly accommodation rate includes 2 game drives a day, high tea and all meals, with the family suites (2 rooms adjoined with a lounge and kitchen area) being particularly convenient if you’re travelling with kids.
The rooms are modern, luxurious and come standard with an outdoor shower, Charlotte Rhys amenities, his and hers basins, oversized Victorian bathtub and a large patio with a gorgeous view of the surrounding reserve. The rooms are isolated chalets, so when you’re in your outside shower with nature around you, it really feels like you’re a million miles away from civilization.
There’s lots to do at the lodge itself whether it’s relaxation or adventure you’re after. Lounge around the pool area over cocktails, have a treatment at the in house Amani spa, go on a guided bush walk or try out quad biking.
Dinner is served in the lodge’s gourmet restaurant, where you can expect classic dishes like Caesar salad or hearty butternut soup to start, along with a wide selection of dishes for mains, the main feature being meaty grills. The food selection was pretty run of the mill, I would have liked to see some more exotic dishes on the menu, as well as a larger variety for dessert. However, the lodge’s restaurant has a lovely ambiance and is pretty fancy- another nice surprise for a game lodge.
The lodge is also equipped with a conference centre, which looks out onto a boma- great for teambuilding events.
For more info, visit www.shepherdstree.com