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The Welgevonden’s first tented camp, Inzalo Lodge, opens onto the babbling Sterkstroom River that winds through the reserve on its way to the Limpopo. We spot two well-fed lionesses sunning themselves on its banks on the way in, and do eight river crossings before arriving at this delightful new safari camp with only five luxurious tents, each one well positioned to give absolute privacy.

Our decks face 1 800-million-year-old cliffs of red stone so ancient they have no fossils. Clinging to the ledges are elegant paperbark trees and a wild fig. A lone elephant bull makes his way slowly across the hillside above the cliffs, a sight we were to see time and again during our stay. Here the cliffs are older than the 50-million-year old Himalaya, Andes and Rockies, amplifying the unmistakable grunt of a leopard and baboon warning barks that ricochet across the valley just as we set out on our first morning game drive. It was hard to leave but we returned to find another herd of elephant making their way down the hillside to enjoy the pools in front of the lodge, so we choose instead to relax, read and recharge in our tented suite that afternoon, pausing occasionally to check the ‘stage’ opposite and spot a waterbuck, klipspringer and more elephant. It was the best decision, even though traversing the spectacular route up the high Gherboks Pass again (pronounced ‘gearbox’ for good reason) was tempting, as was the possibility of seeing cheetah again (there are nine cubs on the reserve at the moment). Of course, after an early rise, there’s nothing better than a siesta here – you’re literally lulled to sleep by the sound of the river.

Inzalo is named after the flat-topped Wild Syringa, the tree most characteristic of the Welgevonden, part of the UNESCO protected Waterberg Biosphere. Equally prolific are the Boekenhout trees but we fall in love with the Lavender Fever-berry, with a scent so distinctively similar to its namesake, and the pods of the Velvet Bushwillow (also known as the toilet paper tree for its soft leaves!). The Welgevonden’s diversity and beauty is both surprising and varied, with fern-filled gulleys opening to wide grassy plains, hillsides strewn with iron-red rocks and beautiful grasses waving in the wind. We stop to drink a home-distilled botanical gin at sundowers, made by owner Dave Reiger himself, while eating the most delicious parma ham, pear and blue cheese skewers. He and his partner Henriette, both generous and knowledgeable hosts, are passionate about their investment here. They love the bush and the Welgevonden, and it shows in every aspect of our stay.

What we love!

  • Food here is home-cooked and hearty and the staff wonderfully warm and friendly.
  • We fell asleep under the toastiest duvets and softest blankets to the light of a flickering fire to the sound of the river outside – a real treat in winter.
  • The location of Inzalo: being right on the river is so relaxing and each of the tents is very private with outdoor showers and a plunge pool on the deck.

What you need to know…

  • The meeting time at East Gate is important: don’t be late as transfers for every lodge in this reserve are carefully planned. It’s an 8km drive in on a dirt road to the meeting spot. Allow 3.5 hours from OR Tambo – it’s an easy drive.
  • If you come for three nights you can really relax – you will want to spend some time in your tent, they’re so spacious. It’s also more likely that you will be able to walk (we couldn’t as there were too many elephant and lion passing through!) but ask about the river spot not far away from the camp.

Sleeps 10

Reviewed by Michelle Snaddon

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Rates

Inzalo Safari Lodge has 5 x luxurty tented suites

Standard season 11 Jan – 13 Dec 19 : R 3 600 per person sharing per night

Peak season 14 Dec  19 -  10 Jan 20 : R 3 850 per person sharing per night

Exclusive use of 5 suites (1-2 nights)

Standard season 11 Jan – 13 Dec 19 : R 34 200 per night

Peak season 14 Dec  19 -  10 Jan 20 : R 36 500 per night

Exclusive use of 5 suites (3 nights)

Standard season 11 Jan – 13 Dec 19 : R 32 000 per night

Peak season 14 Dec  19 -  10 Jan 20 : R 34 650 per night

 Welgevoden Reserve Conservation Levy : R 130 per person per night