Boutique bush experience

MAY 2013 – Tintswalo Safari Lodge can be found in the heart of an ancient sycamore grove overlooking a busy watering hole frequented by a herd of African elephants. It’s a great place to unwind, as each moment takes care of itself in a timeless landscape where every luxury is yours for the taking.

Positioned in one of the prime bushveld spots in the country, Tintswalo Safari Lodge has some pretty impressive neighbours with Timbavati Private Reserve to the north, the Sabi Sand Reserve to the south and a fenceless boundary with the world-famous Kruger National Park to the east. One of the highlights of staying at Tintswalo Safari Lodge is that the reserve is known for very low vehicle density, which means it feels as if you have the place to yourself. While Tintswalo offers all the amenities of a luxury lodge, it is also unique in embracing its surroundings and cultural heritage. The lodge’s traditional grass roofs give it its aesthetic, while wooden decks provide 180-degree views of the animated wilderness landscape. Located along the Nwaswitsontso River, each of the six spacious suites is authentically decorated in the style of the 19th-century African explorers, and each suite has its own private deck and plunge pool.

You set the pace at this exclusive lodge, and the daily schedule is designed around your needs. Enjoy either early-morning or early-evening game viewing (or both) with a trained guide and make time for an alfresco lunch or decadent high tea at the lodge. Guided walks into the bush are on offer, and guests will also gain insight into local Shangaan traditions while getting up close and personal with the wildlife of the area.

Tintswalo Safari Lodge caters for only 16 guests at any one time (including the Baines Presidential Suite). According to Michelle du Plessis, managing director for Tintswalo’s properties, personal service is key. ‘All our lodges retain a feeling of seclusion and are extremely private as they are family owned and run,’ she says. As part of this family-inspired philosophy there is a dedicated corporate social responsibility programme in place to ensure the wellbeing of all staff members. The Manyeleti Game Reserve is a Big Five reserve, but there are also other species to be found en masse in this part of the world, including zebra, giraffe, white rhino, warthog and a variety of antelope. Uncommon sightings include the sable antelope and rare black rhino. ‘Our guides focus on a holistic game experience and not just the Big Five rush,’ says Du Plessis. ‘Because of Tintswalo’s unique location sightings are dramatic, in some instances four different prides of lion interact, resulting in unbelievable pride dynamics. Wild dog also regularly frequent the reserve and guests view awesome leopard sightings daily. The Manyeleti is also renowned for raptors and an abundance of birdlife,’ she says.

For some serious pampering, enjoy various treatments on offer at the Vital Source Spa: there are massages, body wraps and hydrotherapies as well as the usual manicures, pedicures and facials. The spa makes use of Africology products – designed to soothe and pamper in the most natural way. If you have a few hours to spare, spend your time in the library where you’ll find an exclusive selection of rare books to be enjoyed at leisure. You can also head out to the surrounding areas and see the local attractions.

Meals are a big event at Tintswalo Safari Lodge, and guests can enjoy a variety of dining options courtesy of Ryan MacFarlane, Tintswalo’s Executive Chef/Assistant Manager, who says, ‘At Tintswalo, it’s almost as if each guest has his or her own personal chef to cater to their exact needs. Our cuisine is about taste and flavour – it’s all about our passion and love for food translated to give the guests the ultimate satisfaction.’ He points out that there are so many ways to enjoy the cuisine at Tintswalo, whether it’s a bush breakfast, bush picnic, alfresco lunch, English high tea, boma dinner or private dinner in your suite. Central to Tintswalo is creating a unique and personal experience for each guest, so meal times are also designed around you and your dictates. Menus are contemporary, and MacFarlane insists on using only the freshest ingredients from the region. A kids’ menu will keep the little ones in your life happy. An added bonus is that the lodge also offers a dedicated educational children’s programme and there are child-minders on hand to take care of toddlers.

Tintswalo Safari Lodge is focused on providing a personalised experience; the staff and management understand that not every person wants to follow a set itinerary, so the pace of the day is moderated by guests and their needs. Says Du Plessis, ‘Tintswalo is the intangible feeling of love and gratitude and peace that you bestow upon someone who has given you a meaningful and worthy gift. We want to create memories for our guests that last a lifetime.’

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