When you arrive at Inzolo Exclusive Game Lodge you can’t but be mindful of the advice of well-known spiritualist Paul Brunton: ‘Let us accept the invitation, ever-open, from the Stillness, taste its exquisite sweetness, and heed its silent instruction.’
Because there is a kind of hush over Inzolo that makes you be still and at one with the African bush. An African safari is high on most people’s bucket list but is often associated with travelling long distances.
The good news is that 80 kilometres from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, a new five-star lodge has been launched. Inzolo, meaning, is close enough for convenience yet offers an authentic African experience.
Three years ago, businessmen Paul Lynch and David Hurr fell in love with the position of the original dwelling, which needed a makeover. Inzolo is set on 10 000 hectares with access for to the rest of this Eastern Cape reserve. Unlike reserves further north, the area boasts five biomes – forest, grasses, Rhinosterveld and two types of fynbos. It is enough to attract a smorgasbord of wildlife and of course the Big Five.
Lynch and Hurr had the vision to create a small, exclusive lodge, where guests could ‘truly capture the feel of a day in the African bush’.It was an ambitious project but they had the foresight to bring in Artichoke, an interior design company known the world over for their exquisite designs of lodge interiors. The result is breathtaking– an East African influence mixed with modern design to create a bespoke African elegance that retains the warmth and comfort of home.
The staff are affable and warm as is the rest of the staff who help you settle into the rhythm of life in the bush. The chalets are perched on the edge of the cliff, rather like a beautifully appointed eagle’s eyrie, from where you have a view of the valley and the waterhole below.
Sheer cliffs, with inaccessible caves, a whisper of the padded paws of a leopard safely surveying the undulating hills and valleys for potential prey. Perhaps they too, are just languidly enjoying the view...
Usually, the elephants come down the steep slope to slurp up the 20 litres of water they drink at a time or to cover themselves with mud to cool their skins. Sometimes they just play. A large tuskless female stands delicately picking off new leaves with her trunk. She was born without tusks in ‘an astonishing last throw of the evolutionary dice to survive human cruelty’.
A Nyala grazes peacefully next to the deck, stopping intermittently to look up doe-eyed, leg raised and relaxed while the brightly coloured birds flit, without fear, from bush to bush. Their tweets and twitters are your wake-up call while the lullaby as you fall asleep is the sound of the bush.
There are over 200 species of birds, including the Bittern and Marsh Owl – enough to turn twitchers into a pretzel of happiness. A cosmopolitan collection of birds also choose this as their summer destination including storks from Germany, swallows from Europe and the Amur falcon from Russia.
Whether you decide to go into the bush for a couple of hours or prefer a quick Ferrari Safari you are not going to be disappointed.
We saw a herd of elephant gathered protectively around newly-born calves; the protected rhino with their ‘fitbits’ attached to their legs – the Rhino Squad keeping a watchful eye over them; a lion and lioness deadbeat in the grass on the fifth day of ritual mating every 15 minutes; a large male giraffe silhouetted against the setting sun and little warthogs trotting through the bush, the tuft of their erect tails waving like a tiny flag showing the way through the often body high grasses.
Inzolo enchants your senses and it is no different with your palate. Chef extraordinaire, Sebastian, loves nothing more than taking rosemary and sage straight from the herb garden or preparing the fresh leafy spinach and kale from the vegetable patch.
Guests are encouraged to wander through his veggie garden but should keep a sharp eye out for the watermelon-stealing elephant. But Inzolo is not just pampered luxury. Lynch and Hurr, together with the team on the ground, are passionate about and committed to the conservation and sustainability of the land as well as supporting the local community.
Hunting, of course, is verboten and the lodge has successfully launched two special conservation initiatives– the interactive buffalo breeding project and the protected enclave in which the Cape Mountain Zebra breed. If conservation is truly a harmony between man and bush, then Inzolo is an African symphony.
For more information or to book your stay at Inzolo, contact the team on +27 64 625 7687 or www.inzololodge.co.za