The entire world has one thing in common – we are Covid-fatigued and need some soul time. As soon as borders open and you can visit South Africa again, include a bit of bush therapy in your diary. Irma Green, who lives in the heart of the beautiful Mpumalanga province in SA, shares her recent experience in the Kruger National Park.
The luxury and uniqueness of Imbali and Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge and its neighbour, Hamiltons Tented Camp, rank this bouquet among the best safari lodges in Kruger and its surrounding areas. All managed by Extraordinary, it forms part of 16 exclusive lodges and hotels managed by the group in South Africa.
At Imbali we were greeted by a herd of elephants drinking at the waterhole, with only a dry riverbed between us. It was as if the Kruger had sent a world-class marketing team to handle the welcoming ceremony.
Hamiltons and Hoyo Hoyo only have six suites each where guests are treated like royalty.
The three lodges fall within a 10 000 hectare private concession. Imbali boasts 12 immaculate suites offering unrestrained luxury, while both Hamiltons and Hoyo Hoyo only have six suites each where guests are treated like royalty.
Imbali Safari Lodge is set on the banks of the Nwatswitswonto River in the central Kruger. All suites are steeped in modern-day opulence and luxury. Beautifully appointed interiors, with only the finest furniture, imported linen, and fine mosquito netting, guarantee you’ll have a good night’s rest. Each suite has a plunge pool with stunning views over the riverbed and onto the plains beyond. Meals are served on the deck and in the dining room, where an impressive Jackalberry rises through the decked floor. The cuisine was world-class and served with a selection of the best South African wines.
Morning game drives kick-off at dawn and the game viewing lived up to the expectation. In some plain areas up to five species were grazing together and, at one stage, there was great excitement when the vehicle followed a male lion for kilometres as he strolled on either the road or just next to it.
This lodge, with six luxury “beehive” suites, is built in the style of Tsonga architecture with earth-coloured walls, outdoor showers and private game viewing decks, all charmingly decorated with African fabrics, decor and art sourced from local Tsonga communities. Here one can also enjoy Nomadic African Spa treatments.
Hamiltons Tented Camp
The beautiful Hamiltons Tented Camp is named after Colonel Stephenson Hamilton, who played an instrumental part in establishing the Kruger National Park. The camp epitomises colonial lifestyle and I felt as if I was on the set of the epic movie Out of Africa in which Meryl Streep and Robert Redford played the lead roles. Hamiltons takes you back to a bygone era of balmy evenings sipping drinks while dressed in white cotton.
Hamiltons epitomises luxury with an outstanding safari experience. The magnificent tented suites boast teak floorboards, outdoor showers and slipper baths that overlook the seasonal river where herds of elephants bath and drink water daily. The suites and main lodge are connected by raised timber walkways set among the ancient Jackalberries.
Expect the unexpected and be prepared to forget about connecting to the outside world. There is neither Wi-Fi nor cell phone signal at either Hamiltons or Hoyo Hoyo.