Narina Lodge is set unobtrusively beneath centuries’ old trees on the banks of the Sabie River in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve – one of the best game viewing locations in South Africa. Raised up above the bush by wooden walkways, the lodge has the feel of a super-luxurious tree house, and each of the private suites has its own plunge pool to go with a host of other creature comforts.
The lodge is located on a private concession which is home to the highest concentration of rare black rhinos in the Greater Kruger National Park, and during a stay of a few nights viewing all members of the Big Five is almost guaranteed. Guests can spice up their stay with a varied host of other activities including educational stargazing, wildlife lectures, river walks, wellness treatments, cultural experiences and visits to historical sites. Boma dinners and meals in the middle of the bush are a treat, as is a night sleeping in one of the reserve’s delightful and secluded luxury treehouses.
Unfenced from the Kruger National Park, the 65 000 hectare Sabi Sands Game Reserve is arguably South Africa’s greatest game viewing destination, and is particularly well-known for its dense concentration of leopards.
Other wildlife is prolific and well habituated, allowing for extraordinarily close encounters, and game drive vehicles are allowed to venture off-road to follow animals. Being on the banks of the Sabie River, Narina Lodge is a hotspot for game and birds, while the varied ecosystems of the rest of the reserve are fully open for exploration via guided walks or drives. The reserve was the first place in South Africa to develop truly interactive eco-tourism, and this legacy has evolved into a world-renowned reputation.
The lodge has nine quirkily-decorated luxury suites that are connected by wooden walkways suspended above the ground, shaded by the majestic indigenous trees which grow along the river. Each suite features air-conditioning, a room fan, fireplace, fireplace, mini-bar, telephone and hairdryer. Each room has a large double bed that can be converted to twins, where children 10 years and older can be accommodated.
Guests can choose to refresh in either an indoor or outdoor shower or a luxuriant bath with views over the river.
The private plunge pool overlooking the river is a magnificent place to enjoy a glass of bubbly, while the indoor and outdoor lounges are comfortable chill spots.
Communal facilities include an opulent lounge area with satellite television, as well as a variety of dining areas which are romantically lit by lanterns or a campfire in the evening.
For something different, guests can choose to spend a night in one of three exceptionally private treehouses which offer complete comfort, dreamy romance and an unrivalled connection with the bush.
Considering the diverse array of activities on offer, guests will have no problem filling their time when staying at Narina Lodge. Mornings can be spent on a game drive through the reserve, soaking up the varied sights and sounds of the African bush under the able custodianship of a knowledgeable guide. The all-inclusive rates include snacks and a selection of drinks to keep appetites thoroughly sated on these drives. There is a good chance of seeing more than one leopard during a drive, and the experience of following one by ‘bundu bashing’ through the bush is a unique experience. Guests can also choose to opt for a guided walk.
The chef-prepared meals are a treat, and can be crafted to suit any palette. You will be treated to breakfasts and dinners in the bush, meals in the dining room or - if you prefer - delivered to your suite.
Off-time can be whiled away with indulgent treatments at the Africology spa, or filled with wildlife lectures, forays to local villages or visits to fascinating historical sites. When night falls, stargazing tours will illuminate the most interesting aspects of the sparkling night sky.
While the suites are exceptionally comfortable, a night in one of the safely-raised treehouses is a must, and is enhanced by a gourmet picnic and the sound of animals all around you.
For the kids, a children’s menu and a variety of activities can be arranged.