Monday, February 2, 2015

National Geographic - Unique Lodges of the World

Three of South Africa’s top lodges have been included in the National Geographic’s newly created “Unique Lodges of the World”. The ethos behind this collection is to find rare concept hotels and lodges around the globe. These 24 lodges should offer not just beautiful accomodation and gourmet cuisine, but should also be founded on principles which protect the culture and ecosystems that surround them. 

Built on a hillside where the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms reigns supreme, the lodges of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve are uniquely positioned to soak up the magic of South Africa’s Western Cape. Below, stretching to the horizon, lies Walker Bay, home to the “marine big five”: great white sharks, southern right whales, seals, penguins, and dolphins. Vast coastal caves along the shoreline bear traces of a Stone Age civilization. Highligts include a horse ride through the fynbos or a 4x4 flower safari. Shark cage diving and boat-based whale watching also count among the many exciting activities in the vicinity.
The lodge features 39 rooms or suites across two 5-star lodges, each with expansive views over the ocean. The lodge is approximately two hours’ drive from Cape Town and accessible by light aircraft, or even by helicopter!

Set within the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, alongside the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge offers an exceptional safari experience. The property itself, which commands excellent views of the surrounding bushveld offers 13 suites, including the sumptuous Amber Presidential Suite. Each suite features glass-fronted bathrooms, indoor and alfresco showers, and a secluded plunge pool with lounging chairs facing the bushveld, so that you might catch sight of an impala or a springbok while enjoying a swim. Access is via Skukuza Airport or KMIA in Nelspruit.

The remote Tswalu Kalahari is ironically situated on an old hunting reserve. In 1998, the reserve came into the hands of its current owner, Nicky Oppenheimer, who vowed “to restore the Kalahari to itself.” Today, Tswalu features 10 nature inspired rooms. It is located in a malaria-free area and offers its own daily direct flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg to the reserve’s private airtrsip.

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