- Overall Impression
- Common Areas
The Varty family and their associates took over and rebuilt Tree Camp from the ground up. What a difference from 2007 when a third party management company was running the property! Although Tree Camp was newly opened and still working out minor kinks when we visited the property our stay was a delight.
We arrived at sunset to settle into a spacious and well appointed suite. The tiredness from a long day’s drive evaporated instantly as we discovered a baby and mama elephant feeding noisily just outside our terrace. Shortly after our arrival, Duncan MacLarty, our handsome and attentive camp manager, procured a tray of heaven sent snacks to assuage our hunger until dinner time.
In between game drives Londolozi had much to offer. Noteworthy were a lion serenade the night of our arrival, surprise romantic bubble bath with tea candles on our return from a bush dinner, live entertainment, gourmet dinner with wine pairing under the stars, and fabulous deep tissue massage in the comfort and privacy of our back deck.
During our stay we enjoyed excellent game viewing on almost every single drive. We had quality bush sightings including all the Big Five and we were privileged to see much more. We had a six hour private viewing of leopards mating. We also saw mating lions, mating vultures, a hyena pack feeding, and wild dogs.
Concluding our three week game viewing trip to South Africa and Botswana with a stay at Tree Camp was a genuine pleasure. In spite of excellent game viewing the whole trip, Londolozi managed to wow us. We look forward to revisiting Tree Camp.
General Manager Duncan MacLarty managed the property. A “very enthusiastic wine drinker” he gladly shared his knowledge with guests and organized a surprise wine pairing and gourmet dinner during our stay.
Handicapped Access Suite 3 had extra features that could facilitate a visit for disabled guests. The company recommended individuals with special needs bring an assistant.
Internet Connectivity Although there was a telephone in our suite, there was no Internet or cell phone signal in our suite. On one occasion we were able to, with difficulty, access the Internet using a sister property’s office connection.
Length Of Stay Four nights
Location In the Lion Sands Reserve within the Sabi Sand Reserve and west of the Kruger National Park.
Managed Christopher “Stof” Kane-Berman oversaw the property and land.
Owned Dan, Shan and John Varty, Alan Taylor, and Bruce “Doc” Watson
Size Londolozi Tree Camp occupied one hectare of land in which it could house 12 guests in six luxury suites. There were 15 staff members including two rangers and two trackers. If necessary, additional staff support was available from the company’s sister properties (180 staff including 14 additional rangers and 14 trackers). Londolozi boasted a guest to land density of one guest per 167 hectares.
Year Opened-Renovated The property was originally established in 1926. The Tree Camp compound was built in 1987 and completely rebuilt in July.
The sitting area was populated with comfortable furniture including a cream microfiber sofa, two black leather armchairs, a wood and glass top coffee table with several Africa books and magazines, a glass table and leather armchair, a cow hide floor rug, a wall facing wood table and leather armchair with a telephone and sherry decanter. Framed black and white leopard photos were displayed prominently.
To the right of the entrance there was a wood credenza with a half size refrigerator stocked with cold beverages, a minibar, a hot beverage service and a glass jar always filled with chocolate chips cookies.
The bedroom area was past the mini bar and a pocket door. Thick beige and brown curtains framed a glass and wood door and a large glass window. There was an extra tall king bed with a view of the terrace, pool and bush in the center of the room. It was framed by matching night tables with lamps. There were four extra large feather pillows, a heating blanket under the sheets and a duvet on the bed. Sliding glass and wood doors led to the covered terrace and pool area. Walking on either side of the bed we would reach a small vanity area with twin concrete tables on each end, and a big wood framed mirror in the center. To the right of the vanity area there was a walk-in closet with wood shelves and an electronic safe. It also had hanging space, a luggage rack the length of the closet, and a massage table.
Across from the bed a wood and glass pocket door led to a shady terrace with a roof. Several steps lead down to a pool deck with a circular plunge pool and two wood lounge chairs with cushions. Further out there was a thatched roof area, facing the river bed and the bush, populated by two wicker chairs with matching wicker foot rests. The pool deck was one of our favorite places to spend time in the suite, especially after lunch when it was nice and toasty.
At meal times we were seated individually except when there was a boma or bush dinner when everyone sat at a large table. We looked forward to meals times at Londolozi. Executive Chef Jaco Myberg and his staff went to great lengths to prepare and present excellent dishes. One evening we were surprised to discover an elaborate tasting menu had been arranged for dinner. We especially liked the biltong served during dusk game viewing breaks.
The Tree Camp cellars held 50 different types of Western Cape wines and a broad selection of single malt whiskies.
Facilities There was a boma for open air dining and an outdoor dining terrace where we enjoyed breakfast and afternoon high tea. There was also a reception, swimming pool and small bar.
An exercise room and a well stocked African souvenir shop, shared by the four neighboring Londolozi lodges, could be reached via concrete pathways.
We saw: lion (mating), leopard (including mating over a six hour period), spotted hyena (feeding on a rhino carcass), wild dog (with an alpha female readying to give birth), whitetailed mongoose, baboon, vervet monkey, elephant, hippo, sidestriped jackal, white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, tree squirrel, scrub hare, zebra, waterbuck, wildebeest, kudu, nyala, bushbuck, warthog, impala, and duiker. We also saw Nile crocodile, two highly poisonous black mambas and an African rock python.
Birds we saw: crested barbet, little bee-eater, reed cormorant, rattling cisticola, Burchell’s coucal, forktailed drongo, brown snake eagle, Wahlberg’s eagle, helmeted guineafowl, grey heron, greenbacked heron and goliath heron, African hoopoe, redbilled grey, and yellowbilled hornbills, jacana, brownhooded, woodland, giant and pied kingfishers, blackheaded oriole, redbilled oxpecker, lilacbreasted roller, common scimitarbill, secretarybird, magpie shrike, southern greyheaded sparrow, Burchell’s, Cape glossy and plum colored starlings, wolly-necked stork, saddlebilled stork, redbilled teal, African pied wagtail, southern blue waxbill, green wood hoopoe, darter, brownheaded parrot, blackeyed bulbul, black crake, Jacobin cuckoo, Cape turtle dove, Egyptian goose, grey loerie, fierynecked nightjar, threebanded and blacksmith plovers, and hooded and whitebacked vultures.
On our last morning at the property, we began our game viewing drive just as the sun was rising with Char. Little did we know this would become one of our most memorable game drives. Although we had no tracker we were fortunate to have a private vehicle and a most enthusiastic and accommodating guide. Shortly after departing we encountered two beautiful mating leopards.
Around 9:30 a.m. we took a 20 minute break. Someone from the lodge brought us breakfast which we quickly transferred from his vehicle to ours. We followed the leopards as they intermittently walked and mated over the six hour period on and off the road. When they slept we ate our breakfast of yogurt, fruit on a stick and prosciutto and salmon croissant sandwiches. We also saw white backed vultures calling and mating on a nearby tree top. The leopards allowed us to accompany them for the better part of six hours until we returned to camp breathless with enthusiasm at 12:30 p.m. That same afternoon, we saw a large pod of hippos sleeping on the banks of a watering hole, and wild dogs.
Twice following the bush dinners we enjoyed live entertainment. One night the Shangaan staff sang and danced. On another night there was a mine inspired dance and song performance by the Gumboot Dancers from nearby Justicia, a Shangaan village.
Other Because wild animals could and did walk around in the unfenced property, it was necessary for guests to be escorted to and from their suites in the early morning and evening. In the morning and during the day, we could walk at our leisure around the walkways of the property.
Tree Camp was a member of Relais and Chateaux. Londolozi dedicated much time and resources to the management of the reserve lands. They spent one million rand a year to clear the bush, maintain the roads (very smooth indeed), combat erosion, create clearings for animals, and pump water into the dams to attract the wildlife.
Date Of Last Visit May 2008
Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle
Photographs by Gary Cox
Service Our suite was serviced twice daily. Following our game drive in the mornings and while we had dinner in the evenings. There were two butlers who looked after us in the bar and dining room, Nomsa Mhlaba and Mathews Machabe. Although pleasant the staff seemed slightly overwhelmed and over tired at times. Service in the dining room was sluggish and uneven as a result. Sometimes on our return from game viewing there was a friendly face to greet us with scented and moist warm or cool towels and beverages.
Would You Stay Again? Yes
- Londolozi Game Reserve
- Sabi Sands, Mpumulanga
- South Africa
- P.O. Box 6, Skukuza, 1350
- +27 13 735 5653
- +27 13 735 5100
- 1st Floor, Oxford Gate,
- Hyde Park Lane, Hyde Park
- P.O. Box 41864,
- Hyde Park, 2024
- +27-11-280 6655
- +27-11-280 6640