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5 sho’t left luxury spots to snuggle up to this winter

Evening view from the pool deck at Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience. Picture: Supplied

Evening view from the pool deck at Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 18, 2022

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Tge glacial temperatures tempt one to escape to an exotic destination that offers sunny skies and cool waters but not everyone wants to deal with the schlep of sorting out flights, accommodation and transport.

As such, a sho’t left escape offering a cosy fireplace, fresh air and wildlife isn’t a bad compromise. After all, it’s still in keeping with the lap of luxury but on home soil.

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Of course, choices can be overwhelming and, as such, we’ve picked out five spots that will warm the cockles of heart in every way.

KWAZULU-NATAL

The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa

A BOMA dinner at The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa.

An hour and a half’s drive from Durban, getting to this hidden gem in the statuesque Oribi Gorge was a few kilometres further, along a dusty road. It is so picturesque that you don’t mind the bumpy ride.

Perched on sandstone cliffs, the floor-to-ceiling windows of the villas ensure you never miss a sunset and sunrise. The air-conditioned room comes with a private balcony, an indoor and outdoor shower, as well as a bathtub at the far end of the room.

As a foodie, I’m not going to deny the dining experience was out of this world. The attentive staff at the dining hall, which boasts the most beautiful African chic décor, pull out all the stops to ensure it is an experience second to none.

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I also took a time-out at the Clivia Day Spa.

The lodge offers numerous activities from game drives in neighbouring properties, where you can spot a variety of wildlife, including the endangered Oribi buck, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, black-backed jackal, leopard, lynx, Samango monkey (indigenous to the Gorge), warthogs and bush pigs.

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THE view from one of the suites as The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa.

For the adrenalin junkies, you can zip-line, bungee jump, mountain bike or go on one of several hiking trails. Of course, if you have a proclivity for something less demanding, the beach and golf course will appeal to you.

Call: +27 39 687 40004

Email: [email protected]

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Website: https://www.thegorge.co.za/

Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience

The entrance of Nambiti Hills Private Game Experience.

In season two of “The Real Housewives of Durban”, Londie London planned a girl's trip to this opulent wilderness paradise.

Cattiness aside, the reality TV stars eventually calmed down as the tranquil haven whet their appetite for the outdoors while satisfying their palate as well.

Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge is situated in the Nambiti Big 5 Game Reserve. It offers luxury suites with panoramic views of the natural surroundings.

Of course, it has a swimming pool, spa facilities, game drives and walking safaris.

Just to sweeten the appeal, the elegant suites are spacious and have an outdoor seating area that allows you to soak up the fresh air while basking in the sounds of nature.

It also has a lounge area, a large stone bath and Wi-Fi if the prospect of a tech detox doesn’t quite appeal.

And the recent reviews on Tripadvisor speak volumes for the 5-star escape.

leighbosch wrote: “Unbeatable bush experience. We spent two nights at Nambiti Hills and did not want to leave. The experience is 5 star, and the staff incredible, but equally manage to maintain a down-to-earth and welcoming atmosphere. We'd love to return for another spoil.”

bronwynvincent commented: “Stay at Nambiti. Highly recommended. Top guides and staff and a really great experience. Game drives are amazing and you get to see all wildlife. Guides are extremely knowledgeable about flora and fauna as well. Can't wait to go back.”

The personal touches and service delivery indulges every sense here and it explains why visitors don’t want to leave.

Call: +27 (0) 31 333 6723 or 086 239 94 25

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.nambitihills.com/

WESTERN CAPE

Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge

THERE’S nothing like soaking up the scenery with a loved one at Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge.

This is a luxurious wilderness lodge, where adventure, hospitality and tantalising cuisine intersect. Overlooking the Cederberg Mountains, this luxurious haunt is a scenic two and a half hours drive from Cape Town and the Winelands.

Enjoy a stylish “away-from-it-all” experience, yet within easy reach of Cape Town and the Winelands.

THE view from one of the rooms at the Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge.

Guests can look forward to an immersive experience at Cederberg, which has a rich Settler history and is known for its ancient San rock art, flora and food, of course.

Depending on your mode of relaxation, you can participate in a therapeutic walk, mountain biking, star-gazing, boat cruises on the Clanwilliam dam, full-day tours, rock art outings to rooibos or citrus farm tours and sundowners.

The accommodation is most attractive, too, with its option of luxury or superior suites offering guests the opportunity to enjoy a glass of vino around the wood-burning fireplace or around a wood-fired plunge pool, which can be heated in winter.

And the views are unparalleled.

Of course, if you are looking to amplify your relaxation, they have a spa facility that ticks all the boxes.

THE Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge.

Call: +27 87 151 4520 or +27 27 470 0136

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://cederbergridge.co.za/

Tinswalo Atlantic

This is the place you come to if you want to experience one of Cape Town’s most unique and coveted travel and food experiences.

In fact, Chefs Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic was voted “Africa's Best New Restaurant” in the 2021 World Culinary Awards and was included in the coveted Condé Nast Traveller Readers Awards 2021 as one of the Best New Restaurants in the World.

A VIEW of the ocean from Tinswalo Atlantic.

Guests can choose from a luxurious overnight stay on a bed and breakfast basis, with special treat add-ons of bubbly on arrival, and Tintswalo’s famous sunset canapés and a cocktail of the day.

Of course, there are other packages available for a longer stay.

Depending on your preference, you can either choose to snorkel with seals in Hout Bay, take a sunset drive on Chapman's Peak, go for a horse ride on Long Beach, hike to the highest point on Table Mountain, go sup surfing at Clifton Beach or explore the Constantia Wine Route.

If you are not in the mood for an activity of any sort, indulge in a spa treatment.

By the way, each of the suites has a unique design and theme, which celebrates the beauty of nature and the rich heritage of the surroundings.

Call: +27 21 773 0900 or +27 21 201 0025

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://www.tintswalo.com/

MPUMALANGA

Ulusaba

VIRGIN Limited Edition, Rock Lodge & Safari Lodge, Ulusaba, South Africa.

This is Sir Richard Branson’s private game reserve in South Africa. It is a bit of a long drive from Johannesburg but it is worth it.

The name Ulusaba means “place of little fear”, so named because the koppie, or hill, on which Rock Lodge sits provided the ancient Shangaan tribal warriors with the perfect lookout point.

This gem of a hideaway offers 20 rooms and suites, which are spread over two lodges: Rock Lodge and Safari Lodge.

TALK about a view, this is what is on offer at Ulsaba.

A family-friendly spot, it's located entirely within the Sabi Sand Reserve, a stone's throw away from Kruger National Park.

This spot is popular for its abundant game, which means a variety of sightings on those game drives.

Call: 0800 056 343 (toll-free in South Africa) or +27 (0)11 325 4405

Email: e[email protected]

Website: https://www.ulusaba.virgin.com27

Read the June edition of IOL Travel here.

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