The finer things…
The finer things that can be appreciated at luxury safari lodges is a facet of our business that adds to the complete picture of what we do. Wildlife viewing and the game experience is what brings us to Africa and the reserves, but once we are there we realise there is so much more. We take you through our thoughts on how we feel this adds to the overall experience.
Waking up and falling asleep at your lodge should be just as beautiful an experience as being out in the wild plains. Your room, along with the rest of your abode, should effortlessly boast a peaceful space filled with elements which connect you to the outdoors even whilst being inside. That being said, we are proud to say that the lodges we frequent with our guests are of this belief and have it implemented down to an art. The balance between creating a space with the comforts of home but which can also simultaneously transport you to a world beyond imagination, is imperative to the experience these lodges aim to create. Every individual holding in its own respect represents a different sentiment and style, some encapsulating an era, others a feeling, but always an experience. Some boast vibrant bright colours with a modern edge, whilst others transport guests to another world, usually one long before their time, evoking a delicate sense of mystery and wonder. In this way, they can become exquisite time capsules which leave guests feeling nostalgic for something they have most probably never even experienced before.
Certain lodges have also been crafted to seamlessly and naturally blend right into their surroundings, fully immersing guests within a wilderness experience in every way. Bathtubs on the deck, showers under the trees, bedrooms surrounded by clear glass walls, open-plan lounges with an uninterrupted view of the plains, dining tables on the balcony and everything else you could ever desire all contribute to the feeling of undergoing a full wildlife immersion. At many of these camps, animals such as zebra, elephants and even leopards wander freely in the open area around these luxury holdings. Guests can sit on their balconies or even just look out of their windows to see breathtaking wildlife close up and in full view. There is a feeling of real involvement and engagement when you visit lodges such as these, it is no longer us and nature, it is us with nature, promoting a true and genuinely wild-at-heart affair
Fine wine and dining with a twist
Luxury lodges are becoming far more aware of the significant role which the food they present plays in the overall experience of their guests. Yes, food has always and will always be an important factor when hosting lodgers, people need to eat! However, the simple kitchen-to-plate approach has recently undergone a far more in-depth thought process by the top-class chefs who run these wilderness kitchens. The thought process in question is one which acutely considers the surroundings of the location: the colors, the sounds, the aromas, the flora and of course the wildlife. In bringing elements to the plate such as shades and textures inspired directly by the particular setting of each camp, the diners are not only experiencing the outdoors whilst outdoors, but are also enriching their experience while they dine. The plate becomes a reflection, a picture almost of the vast habitat they are visiting. This incorporation allows chefs to become more involved and share another perspective of the journey with the guests. They become the bush guides of the kitchen, bringing to light and sharing the beauty of the site within a dish instead of from a game vehicle. You don’t need to stop at just seeing the wilderness, you can fully consume it (quite literally!)
In order to fully execute this exciting dining concept, many of these premier chefs also take extra care to ensure their produce is always fresh and honest, many of them even being hands-on in the growing and harvesting process. This, many of them say, brings them the greatest joy in knowing that they have seen the ingredients flourish and have then worked them honorably into the marvelous story-telling creations which end up on the guests’ plates. Being able to build these immaculate displays with such exquisite ingredients and skill allow chefs the opportunity to take the breathes of the guests away too, much the same as a cheetah hunt on the plains would.
Considering the immensely remote locations of these camps, the quality of the food offered is truly outstanding. Whilst travelling to these lodges from the outside world and realizing more and more just how secluded they are, the expectation of world-class luxury cuisine is most likely not big on one’s mind. This, in fact, is the element of surprise the lodge chef’s love to play on, presenting their guests with a spectacular meal they never could never have imagined within such isolation.
Wine is the quintessential partner to complete one of these impeccably crafted meals. It takes these servings to another level and adds an element of learning and discovery to every bite. The world-class Sommeliers stationed at these lodges carefully select the perfect pairing, which not only brings about another dimension to the meal but also offers guests certain insight about the country being visited or, if not the same, the region in which the wine has come from. Each sip tells a story, a story perhaps not directly tied to the exact area the guests are exploring, but to a region which is ultimately connected to their overall experience on the African continent. A merlot crafted to perfection can beautifully compliment a piece of game reflective of the wildlife in the area, whilst similarly a crisp chenin can bring to life a piece of fish fresh off the East African coast. It awakens the diner to the true beauty of the food presented. Wines of course don’t only have to be enjoyed with a meal, but can be appreciated on their own whist watching the golden sunset or after coming back from a long day in the bush. Many of the sommeliers say that what they enjoy most about working out at these lodges is being able to interact with people from all over the world. They are able to educate them about our country’s outstanding wine varieties and show them how they are all unique to any other wines in the world.
Most of the clientele are familiar with a long list of international wines crossing their palette, but few are educated about the magic that happens within the African winelands. In each sip, they can taste the essence of our continent, the rich land in which the grapes were grown and the fine flavour instilled by the nourishing sun. This is an extremely rewarding experience for the sommeliers and one which they can give to guests in the most beautiful and quintessential of African settings. Special pairing dinners in the remarkable cellars and sundown deck tastings are also available and are sure to develop the most memorable wine appreciation within the guests.
The personal bar experience at these lodges is also a wonderful component worth discussing. A bar is a place where people generally come together to share their experiences, to swop stories and to reflect on the day that has passed. This is the focal idea lodges want to play on, especially as the guests are most likely having many and daily first-time experiences. At the end of a full day of exploring their surroundings, guests can come together in this familiar setting and reflect together. Sipping back on a carefully crafted cocktail, a crisp gin & tonic or anything else you desire made by the expert bartenders on site, lodgers can sit together and reminisce on their day (or night) inside around the counter top or outside under the African sky just beyond their doors.
The private bar is an element becoming more and more popular in luxury lodges. There is no queue or waiting in line, nor is there just the option to have a glass of wine or a basic spirit and mix, instead the options are limitless and reflect a true ambiance and drink variety seen in top-class bar lounges anywhere in the world. The idea is to bring worldly luxury into the wild, a place people may not expect such luxury to reside. It is this element of surprise and a joy which lodges hope will delight guests and hopefully make for a truly special and unexpected lavish experience.
Fun, recreation and relaxation
Although game drives are standard at these lodges, the amount of additional activities are infinite. Recreation plays a huge role in making guests feel as though they are truly on holiday, away from the stresses of everyday life. These activities range from sports such as tennis on the beautifully constructed lodge courts, or fishing in some of the most bountiful rivers in Africa. The rivers in Botswana also make the perfect pathways for traditional Mekoro rides down the glistening channels of the Delta (dugout canoes whereby you are propelled along by a local polar) Other available sporting activities include quad-biking and hot air ballooning, both superbly experienced riding over or floating above the colossal red-faced dunes of Namibia or over the vast herds of migrating wildebeest and Zebra in Tanzania. Additionally, if you love being in the air, a bird’s eye view from a scenic helicopter ride can also serve as the ideal way to view the beauty bustling below.
Fully equipped gyms are another facet which many lodges are implementing, an element which allows visitors the comfort of being able to continue their normal exercise routine. If this is a daily activity guests partake in back home, lodges understand that some visitors may feel uneasy should they not have that outlet (even on vacation) Therefore, they make sure everything they need is at their disposal. And of course, let us not forget what is most important on these trips – relaxation. Luxury lodges are no stranger to the finer things and you can certainly expect to be looked after on your visit. Spa facilities, hot tubs and full body massages are on demand to make sure you are never out of reach of indulgence.
All staff are professionally trained and on-hand to guide you, teach you, look after you and pamper you to your hearts’ content. Any activity in which you wish to partake, someone will be there to make sure you are always safe, happy and entirely satisfied.
The backbone of these luxury lodges are the people, in every department and at every level. It is their greatest pleasure to create for you a world in which you find only peace and beauty. Their hope is to make sure that in every aspect of your stay you find a little bit of magic, a whole lot of lavish luxury and, most importantly, a head and heart full of unrivalled memories… forever.
Beauty, Spa and that feeling…
Whatever your indulgence or pleasures are whilst on safari, the finer things on offer will immensely compliment to your stay. Of course, the bonus of seeing a leopard and a cub or watching elephants frolicking in a river is what we come for and a cracking glass of wine to the end the day makes it all the sweeter.
Images courtesy of Great Plains Conservation, Londolozi, Royal Malewane, Singita, and Wilderness Safaris.