When each of the ultra-luxury suites at Sabi Sabi has been completed, the finishing touch has been to give it a name which matches, or has relevance to, the lodge in which it has been built. Thus, the Amber Presidential Suite at Earth Lodge evokes the spirit of a lodge which reflects the mineral wealth of South Africa, and is a suite filled with beautiful amber beadwork. The Ivory Presidential Suite at Selati Camp reminds us that the camp is situated on an animal migratory path, a path that elephants follow day in and day out. The Mandleve Presidential Suite at Bush Lodge is in deference to the awe-inspiring great tusker of that name who spent much of his life wandering the bushveld of Sabi Sabi.
When the two magnificent Bush Lodge Villas were completed, the challenge was what to name them. What sprang to mind was the sleek, sultry, great cat for which Sabi Sabi safaris are famous – the beautiful, elusive leopard.
A highly territorial creature, the leopard is a “must see” for many guests. Two wonderful male leopards (Toms), have afforded visitors to our lodges spectacular sightings over the years.
Mahlatini (meaning “thick bush”) wandered onto our reserve many years ago, and made the dense undergrowth around Bush Lodge a favoured part of his territory. A shy leopard at the onset, Mahlatini developed into an exceptionally large male – a really prize specimen. He was dominant in his prime years, but admitted defeat to a much younger Tom, Maxabeni, the ruler of the Sabi Sabi leopard empire – for now.
The sire of some of the most famous leopards in the Sabi Sand was a glorious male named “Tumbela”. This leopard had a habit of digging warthogs out of their burrows, one of which eventually caused him serious injuries. Ironically he spent much of his recovery time resting inside a deserted warthog burrow. A prominent scar which left an indent on his right front paw made his spoor easily identifiable for our trackers.
Leopards are lords of the bushveld. They enjoy peace and quiet between the exciting moments of their days. They savour their meals and relax in solitude when the mood so takes them. Our two luxury villas at Bush Lodge have fittingly been named after the great Mahlatini and Tumbela, symbolising glamour, opulence and seclusion.
Each villa is extraordinarily expansive and feature two luxuriously appointed suites, each with an en-suite bathroom. The villas are sumptuously furnished, with a central lounge/library which extends through onto a huge reed-covered patio and private plunge pool. The master suite, with king size draped four-poster bed, leads into a dressing area featuring hide covered chairs and ottomans.
A little further and one steps into a unique, palatial, floor to ceiling glass walled bathroom. The two side-by-side his and her baths have sliding windows opening to the outdoors. Outside, the al-fresco shower is almost invisible, tucked away in an indigenous tree. The second bedroom is also beautiful, with twin draped beds and comfortable cushioned window box seating to relax and watch the great outdoors. This bedroom features a private en-suite bathroom, which includes a bath and rain shower.
The Mahlatini and Tumbela Villas are perfect getaway destinations for small families or couples travelling together. Children of all ages are well catered for at Bush Lodge and can enjoy the EleFun Centre, where activities are aimed at nurturing a deeper understanding and love for the surrounding bush. The exclusive use of a game drive vehicle, with a ranger and tracker team, is included in a booking at the exquisite Bush Lodge Villas.
Crafted around natural Leadwood sculptures, the idyllic suites combine a respect for the environment with all the luxuries of a world class, 5-Star destination.
This month we introduce you to Rebecca Strautmann – who holds a dual role of Front Office Manager as well as Assistant Lodge Manager at Bush Lodge. Rebecca manages her responsibilities with precision and dedication, and always with a warm smile and easy manner.